By Joe Pulizzi published February 2, 2013

24 Top Content Marketing Questions Answered in Less than 140 Characters

content marketing questions-140 charactersSometimes, I want quick answers. Don’t give me the whole explanation… just give me an answer and get me on my way.

In that spirit, I put together a list of the top content marketing questions I receive on an ongoing basis, and briefly answered them in (around) 140 characters.

If I missed any that you’d like answered, please put them in the comments, and we can add to this as an ongoing resource.

1. What are some of the best B2C content marketing examples that you like to reference?

PatagoniaRed BullCoca-ColaKraft

2. How about B2B content marketing examples?

Kelly Services, PTC, OpenView Venture Partners, Kinaxsis

3. How do I integrate content marketing in my own company?

Use the SAS model — get the leaders from each department (i.e., email, search, PR, etc.) and have them meet weekly to coordinate content activities.

4. Where do I start with my content marketing strategy?

Develop your content marketing mission statement. Where can you have impact as an authoritative voice? Do this before you develop any more content without strategy.

5. What’s the most underutilized content distribution tool?

SlideShare, and it’s not even close.

6. How do I create more content?

You most likely have enough content. First look at stopping some things that aren’t working and reallocating those resources to quality content initiatives.

7. But my content is not in story-ready form?

True, most companies have content assets, but they aren’t in a compelling form. Hire or contract out a journalist, editor, or natural storyteller to help get those assets into shape.

8. Should I insource or outsource my content?

Most companies do both (content marketing research here). It doesn’t have to be either or, and there is no silver bullet. Find the resources necessary to get the job done. It will never be perfect, so don’t wait.

9. Should I place my content behind a form or set it free?

It depends on the goal.  If the metric you are using is a lead, there has to be a form somewhere. That said, you might get less sharing and awareness…and that may be okay.

10. Do I need an enewsletter?

Email is possibly the greatest owned media channel for brands.  To keep that channel alive, you need a consistent flow of amazing content. Blog to email RSS or an enewsletter works just fine.

11. Why in the world would I give away all our knowledge for free?

As the great Don Schultz has always said, communication is the only true competitive advantage. If you don’t help your customers reach greater heights, who will? Your competitors?

12. Do I have to be on Facebook and Twitter?

No, you don’t. But if you are, ask yourself why you are using those channels. As a matter of fact, ask yourself why you are using every channel.

13. How do you get all your content creators on the same page?

Make sure EVERY one of them has a copy of your content marketing mission statement. In most brands, content creators never know what the true reader or company content mission really is.

14. What is the best way to figure out my customer’s pain points?

First, talk to your customers. Then, talk to more customers. Then, listen on Twitter and launch some surveys. Then talk to sales and customer service. Then talk to your customers.

15. How do I measure ROI?

You don’t. Figure out the specific content marketing objective and measure your return on objective. Use the four types of content marketing metrics for guidance.

16. What kind of content works best?

According to Julie Fleischer (Kraft): 1) Have a purpose, 2) Be captivating, 3) Go where the customer is, 4) Timeliness matters, and 5) Know your metrics.

17. What is the difference between content and content marketing?

Content marketing must work to enhance or change a behavior. If it doesn’t, it’s just content.

18. How do I get C-Level buy-in for my content marketing?

Prove it works. Start a pilot. For television shows to get approved, they need a pilot; you do the same. Create a 6-month pilot period using agreed-upon metrics.

19. What is the biggest reason why content marketing initiatives fail?

First, the brand stops producing the content (campaign mentality). Second, inconsistency. Third, it’s not remarkable content.

20. How important is design in your content marketing?

What is the purpose of a magazine’s cover? To get it opened. Much of that depends on design. If your design doesn’t compel people to engage, what’s the point? Invest in design.

21. What is a no-brainer issue that some marketers don’t deal with but can?

Mobile content. There is no reason why your content shouldn’t work on a mobile device. Fix it.

22. Will brands start doing content creation and distribution better than publishers?

In certain niches, some will. But publishers and brands are better together. Brands have more resources, but the media model is changing; I think for the better. Traditional publishers will always be needed.

23. Can’t I just create one content platform for all my customers?

How are broad, horizontal news sources doing these days? Look at what Patagonia does and how many different content platforms they have for different editorial interests.

24. Should I stop everything else and just do content marketing?

Do you want to be fired? Content marketing works with your other marketing, not in replacement of. The issue now is that most brands are underdeveloped in content marketing and we have to catch up.

For more answers to your pressing content marketing questions, join Joe Pulizzi for his keynote at Content Marketing World-Sydney in Sydney, Australia on March 4–6. 

Cover image via WWarby

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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  • NenadSenic

    Hi Joe,

    for question number 1 I’d add Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward (London real estate agency: their B2C mag and later blog were revolutionary in real estate business in Europe), Sainsbury’s, British Airways (jaw-dropping), Weight Watchers (in many countries)…

    For question number 2 I’d definitely add Siemens.


    • Joe Pulizzi

      Excellent Nenad…keep them coming!

  • Barry Feldman

    Great stuff. Love the format. Love the final Q&A. This one gets asked a lot. “How can I create high quality content quickly and easily?” I offered an answer here:

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Barry…great stuff.

  • Carl Hartman

    Good points. One of the challenges is understanding engaging storytelling and how to structure content that keeps people watching. (How many bad movies have you watched by professionals, it isn’t that easy) I recently read a book on Amazon called Brand.gineering by a former TV network executive that explains how to tell effective marketing stories. One of my buddies teaches the Master’s level screenwriting class at UCLA. He tells me more and more MBA students are auditing his class to learn how to write effectively and tell great stories about their brand. I think part of the challenge is going to be finding the good stories to tell and stories that people will watch.

  • Nanang P. Mugasejati

    love these very much, Joe. They explain very well in short way.

  • Jessica

    Hi Joe,

    I love # 17 – it seems like this question comes up in all circles. It must have an end goal – even better when it can be measured! Thanks for the quick tips (always great stuff)!

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Jessica…what is content creation without the goal? 😉

  • AngelaBHarding

    This is great stuff, Joe! Thanks so much. I have a question that I can’t find a straight answer to: If I’m creating evergreen content (best-use practices, problem solving product info, etc), do I need to put a publish date on my content? If content isn’t officially archived, the dates take away the timeliness of my content, yet, dates are true. What’s your take? I don’t want my content to look stale. Could I just ‘change’ the dates on older articles, or update old content? Which do you believe is the best way to go? Thanks!!

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Angela…there is no silver bullet for putting dates on posts or evergreen. There are two sides to the story. I see most organizations put dates on posts and leave dates off of evergreen content, which tend to look like articles on online resource sections. Here is a great post that covers both sides of the issue –

  • Chris

    We’ve had success with creating compelling content that reaches our target audience by providing access to relevant and fresh data from subject matter authorities. Leveraging 3rd party data helps from benchmarking organizations helps estabish your credibility in an honest and objective format. Here’s an example

  • Heather Meza

    This is awesome Joe! I love it.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Heather. Looking forward to seeing you at Content Marketing World this year.

  • Sasha Zinevych

    I really admire the cool format of this article! Many of those questions/answers could be developed into individual articles or even white papers, don’t you think?

    Joe, as I understood, you don’t have any real good ROI formula in mind to determine the profitability of the content for the company, right?

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Sasha…good idea. As for ROI, you can show return a number of different ways. For example, is your goal direct sales? Is it lead gen? Is it lead quality? Is it a customer service goal? Then you set metrics against those goals. But you are correct, I don’t believe in any silver bullet ROI strategy. Frankly, they are different for every goal and every company.

      • Sasha Zinevych

        So, it might be very useful to develop a ROI formula for each separate goal, right? Just in case you dream of translating your business hopes into reality 🙂

  • Frank Strong

    Awesome post. And I completely agree about SlideShare.

  • HT

    Outstanding comments. Thanks for this.

  • ingrid eberly

    well done!

  • Brent Rusk

    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for writing this post! I totally agree with your response for #11. Most of my clients currently are small business owners and initially cringe at the idea of giving away “all of their knowledge for free” until they come to the understanding that there is no “secret sauce”. If what you know is under lock and key one of your competitors will definitely provide the answer in order to gain trust and inevitably gain them as a customer.

  • jackson


    I just want to know that if we wanna do marketing in a country for the particular business but that business is not recognized by that country then how should we do marketing for that particular things and how we can convince others for that………?????

  • jackson

    Joe please suggest me!!!!!!!!!!!