By Joe Pulizzi published October 13, 2012

7 Strategies for Developing Compelling Content in 2013

Yes, that’s right… it’s already major planning season for 2013. I’ve been thinking about next year a lot lately, especially as I’ve been traveling from show to show doing keynotes and mini workshops.

At almost every event, content marketing sessions are standing-room only. Marketing professionals are hungry for any way that they can continue their content marketing journey and attract and retain customers with compelling content. To help, I’ve dissected my last few presentations and put together seven critical strategies that I believe all marketers need to consider as they head into next year.

1. Watch “Content 2020” from Coca-Cola

Every time I present at an event, I give the attendees a homework assignment: to watch Coca-Cola’s two-part Content 2020 whiteboard video series. Content 2020 is Coke’s “Jerry McGuire” mission statement on moving the organization from creative excellence to content excellence. Coca-Cola has been a marketing leader for a long time, and here the brand again proves that it is more than qualified to play with the big boys.

2. Develop your content marketing mission statement

I’ve surveyed about 1,000 people over the past month, asking each if they have developed an editorial mission, or content marketing mission statement, for their content strategies. Easily less than 5 percent had something like this prepared.

This is a major problem. How can we execute a content strategy if we don’t have a clear vision for why we are developing the content in the first place?

Every person that touches the content marketing program should know, by heart, what the mission of the content strategy is.

3. A new mindset: Become the leading informational provider for your niche

Brands aren’t taking their content seriously enough. Sure, we are creating content in dozens of channels for multiple marketing objectives. But is your organization’s mindset focused on being the leading provider of information for your customers? If not, why isn’t that your priority?

Look, our customers and prospects can get their information from anywhere to make buying decisions. Why shouldn’t that information come from us? Shouldn’t that at least be the goal?

4. Utility is key

I absolutely love the Charmin Clean Bathroom App. If you are desperate to find a clean bathroom nearby, and this app provides the answers for you, what do you think the odds are that you would buy Charmin the next time you go to the store?

What if you used Kraft’s iFood app to help you make your next home-cooked meal?

Small businesses find regular answers to their operational challenges at AMEX’s Open Forum.

Take a hard look at your content and see if what you are producing is actually useful for your customers. Is it making their lives better or jobs easier in some way?

5. Define and answer your customers’ questions

This is so easy to do, yet most of us don’t do it. Do you have a system in place to compile the questions your customers are asking and post your answers to those questions on the web? The content opportunities that spring up from customer service and sales alone can support your content marketing strategy.

6. Employee involvement in content marketing

Take a look at these two projects:

These are two great examples of successful content initiatives that have helped to grow business, were developed from the ground up with a limited budget, and were driven almost entirely by employee content.

7. Co-creation

Andrew Davis’ new book Brandscaping discusses how content partnerships can work. Essentially, a brandscape is a collection of brands that work together to produce great content. I’m starting to believe that this is critical to the evolution of content marketing, as more brands struggle to manage the content marketing process.

It’s true that many brands struggle with finding the funding for content marketing projects. Why not work with non-competitive partners to develop amazing and compelling content for a similar customer?

Want more content marketing inspiration? Download our ultimate eBook with 100 content marketing examples.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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  • Michael Brenner

    Great post Joe. This should be part of the CMO checklist for every business in 2013.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thank you sir…and thanks for passing it along.

  • Barry Feldman

    I like that co-creation concept. I’m working on what I hope to be one of the best content marketing 101 presentations and webinars and you keep tossing out strong ideas that make me go back and re-do it. Stop it Joe 😉

    • Joe Pulizzi


  • Brendan Cournoyer

    Great point about the “mission statement.” Every thing we write/create should have some clearly defined purpose, with the target audience in mind, and having that clearly defined is a great way of keeping the content strategy moving in the right direction. Because as the demand for “more content” grows, it is VERY EASY for things to start slipping off the rails.

  • NenadSenic

    Excellent, sir! Especially number 6. Now that you’ve totally hooked me on content marketing, I’ve seen some great content marketing strategies, even their implementation, but why it didn’t really work was because it was an isolated project within a company. Content marketing also means involving the entire company (as necessary), in many cases changing the corporate culture within the organization. It doesn’t help you to have a great, relevant, effective custom magazine or website or blog or an ou-of-this-world strategy if the majority of your organization have no clue what you’re doing and it doesn’t adapt accordingly. I think this should be crucial! I know you wrote about these stuff several times, but it should come to the forefront in 2013, perhaps. 🙂

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Absolutely Nenad…it’s difficult, but marketing is everyone’s responsibility today, not just marketing.

  • Barry Feldman
  • Doug Kessler

    All on-point as you’d expect.
    I might add — ‘Explore new media’. Try different media for telling your stories. Stretch beyond the usual for some pieces.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Great point Doug…a little content marketing R&D is always needed.

  • Charan Teja

    Hi Joe
    great post !! All the points that you have mentioned hit the nail on the head. I believe we can include “Managing customer involvement ” in marketing his/her content that adds up to the brand equity of the company. With the increase in usage of social media , its one place we cannot leave the customer untouched


  • Digett

    Point 5 seems so much like a no-brainer that I’m kind of sad it apparently isn’t. 🙁

  • Alana Daveduk

    I have always said- create your brand and develop it- cause no on else will do it for you!

  • Frank J. Kenny

    Thanks for the article Joe. I have a client with 100 employees. No one wanted to “do” the social media so they outsourced to me. Now I am in the process of converting department heads (or their point person) into a content marketing source. I am finding the whole process to be more about cultural change than technology or even social media. The end result will be several content creators (staff) speaking directly to their target market on the niche they are passionate about. It is still early but I see the potential for this company to dominate their market through content marketing and relationships. First mover advantage is critical, IMHO.

  • Soumya Shankar

    A very useful post! My favourite ones being 6 and 7, especially 7 not only because this idea is new to me but i feel partnership can bring out some great results and help in funding as you have mentioned, which is a major hiccup for many companies for content marketing.

    • tpldrew

      It’s amazing how rapidly you can see success with your content marketing strategy when you start to partner with others to create (and/or) distribute it. Thanks so much fore commenting!
      – Drew

  • Ann Smarty

    Great article. Not only is this a great list, it is a doable and inspiring list. I found the reference to the new mindset helpful.

  • tpldrew

    Thanks for including a reference to my book and the big nod towards content co-creation! I couldn’t be more excited about seeing content marketers create more content together. In the end we’ll all be more successful!

  • MarketingUnlocked

    Like virtually any other business initiave, content marketing needs a plan, and the overall mission is the first step in that plan. If you don;t know whereyou’re going, how the heck do you expect to get there?

  • NCrypted

    Thanks for sharing Joe. You are perfectly right because day by day Google make changes in search pattern and in future we predict that only unique content are will get easily good ranking in search engines.

  • Krista Kotrla

    #6 is my favorite! It becomes so very possible to achieve this once you have #2 and #5 driving that content. Great list, Joe. Thanks!

  • Jasmin Rae

    I am in love with #4. This seems to be the missing link for many B2C organizations. Utility is certainly key and without it you can risk losing consumer trust, and most importantly their business. Thanks, Joe.

  • jean

    as you said in point 5 answer the questions…i too agree a brainstorming session,exchanging of views with customers provide a new way or a more organized,structured way by which the a quality compelling content can be created…cheers joe