Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute , Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, including best-selling Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) and the new book, Content Inc. Check out Joe's two podcasts. If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

By joepulizzi published February 9, 2009

Web Content Strategy – The Official Presentation

This is the presentation that Kristina Halvorson (CEO of Brain Traffic) and I gave at Online Marketing Summit last week.  Gretel Going provided a great overview of this presentation on the OMS Blog if you want to see more of the copy.

Just a couple of my own personal comments from talking with marketers after the presentation:

  • Most marketers did not understand that they need a content strategy (but did after the presentation).
  • All marketers we talked to are hungry to find out how to develop a web content strategy, and learn how to sell their executives on the need to have one.
  • The concept of creating a web content strategy, or a more encompassing content strategy as part of their entire marketing organization, is a new concept for most of the marketers we talked to.
  • Content within an organization is still incredibly political (Who owns the content?).
  • Most marketing executives think that developing content should be the easy part (“Let’s go get the content”), while in fact, it’s one of the most challenging.
  • Journalists, freelance writers, and PR professionals who are looking for job opportunities should be looking at how to become content strategists.  In Kristina’s and my opinion, this area is the next great discipline.

Any thoughts?  I’d like to hear them…

By joepulizzi published February 4, 2009

I Want to Give You $4200 Toward Your Content Marketing Project!

We here at Junta42 are pretty excited to announce this, and I thought it would be best to do it with a two-minute video.

Here’s the deal.  Starting today (2/4) and running for 42 business days (ending on 4/2), any company that submits a content project to our free and no risk custom publisher matching service will be eligible to receive $4200 toward their content project. We’re calling this “$4200 in 42 Days“.

You may ask, what can $4200 buy these days?

Well, quite a bit we think. $4200 may cover the web content you need to keep your customers engaged in your products and services. It may cover the postage on your quarterly custom magazine project. It may cover one issue of your outsourced opt-in enewsletter. It may be just enough to keep you believing in the power of valuable, relevant and compelling content.

So why are we doing this?

First, we wanted to celebrate our first 100 content vendor matches through our Match service (the 100th match happened in early January). Our little idea to solve the marketer challenge for finding their perfect content provider has turned out to be a very helpful solution for companies like Research in Motion (makers of BlackBerry smartphones), First Midwest Bank, United Methodist Communications and more.

Some are calling us the eHarmony for custom publishing.  I can live with that.

And second, we’re hoping it’s just the incentive you need to get your content project off the sidelines during this economic climate (or possibly, the incentive you need to outsource your project that is just not working with internal resources, or maybe to get rid of that content provider that’s just not delivering the goods).

Hey, we know times are tough out there…but now is more important than ever for you to deliver valuable, relevant and compelling content to your customers and prospects. That’s what creates engagement. That’s what helps you become part of the customer conversation.

Developing and distributing great content for your customers is not easy, which is why we have over 90% of the top custom publishers/content agencies in North America ready and waiting to help you create something of real value delivered to your customers.

We also thought this would be a lot of fun. Who doesn’t like getting money anyway?

Here are all the details on the “$4200 in 42 Days” program.  Take a read…I think you’ll find it worth two minutes of your time.

And here’s our promise to you…if we can’t find a content provider that matches your needs, we’ll keep working with you to help you find a solution that makes sense (although, we’re pretty confident we have the expert content publishers to help you get the job done).

Thanks, and on with the content marketing revolution!

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By joepulizzi published February 3, 2009

The Custom Content Conference You Can’t Afford to Miss

For you regular reader of the Junta42 blog, you’ll know I don’t promote many conferences.  Well, here is the exception.

The 2009 Custom Content Conference is one you can’t afford to miss if you are trying to figure out how to leverage custom content as part of your overall marketing or publishing strategy.

This year’s conference (March 22 – 24) revolves around the theme “The Future of Branded Content” – and the Custom Publishing Council (who is organizing the event) has the speakers to prove it.

Here are the reasons why this is a must attend event:

  1. The Speakers: Best-selling author and marketing guru David Meerman Scott is frankly a must see. Sam Sebastian of Google will give you the insights as to how Google sees the role of custom content for both marketers and publishers. Add to that Chris Overholt of the Miami Dolphins and Kate Thorp, CEO of Real Girls Network (among many others), and you won’t be disappointed.
  2. The Venue: South Beach (Trump International) in March sounds good to me, especially as Cleveland is buried in 50 inches of snow.
  3. The Price: $695 for an event like this is a steal (even in a recession). Be sure to register before February 20th to get this price.
  4. The Networking: Talk with some of the leading marketing and publishing minds in North America (by the way, I’ll be there as well).
  5. The Learning: Take home clear tactics and strategies you can use now to transform your marketing or publishing operation.

Disclaimer – I am a Custom Publishing Council board member, and Junta42 is a sponsor for this event, but don’t let that fool you. I’d be going to this conference anyway (in a heartbeat).

One final important note – Don’t be fooled, this event is for both marketers and publishers. If the new marketing reality has taught us anything, we are all media companies. We all need to understand how to create and distribute valuable, relevant and compelling content. If you aren’t sure, contact me personally and I’ll talk you into it.

Register Today!

By joepulizzi published January 29, 2009

Creating a Custom Content Project? Here’s Your Four Options

I was reading this Seth Godin post on “What Would a Professional Do?” and I couldn’t help to think of the challenge that all marketers face regarding content creation.

Every company, no matter what size, needs valuable, relevant and compelling (and consistent) content directed to their customers. It’s not an option anymore, and the research is starting to show that more and more marketers are investing in content marketing, even during these tough economic times.

Even though we (at Junta42) are huge proponents of outsourcing content strategy and execution to custom publishers and content professionals, there are options.

In following Seth’s rationale for hiring a professional, they are eerily similar to your content creation options:

  1. Hire a custom publisher/content provider.
  2. Be as good as a custom publisher.
  3. Realize that professional-quality work is not required for your content and merely come close.
  4. Do work that a custom publisher wouldn’t or couldn’t do, and use this as an advantage.

The first option is the best choice if you have the budget to outsource this. Content creation and execution, especially from an integrated standpoint where print, online and in-person integration are involved, can be extremely complex. Also, in many cases, it’s actually less expensive to outsource. When I was with Penton Media, we used to sit down with brands and associations and show them “line-by-line” how they could actually save money by outsourcing their project. If you take in all the internal resources necessary for a content project to work, that’s absolutely the case.

The second option is a solid option. If you have the expertise in-house, and the available resources to dedicate to manage the editorial process, understand the art of storytelling that can drive sales, execute each step from content to distribution to feedback, and measure the effectiveness, it can definitely be done. One of the big issues here (check out the mistakes in this blog post) is that many internal communications specialists have a difficult time developing a story that doesn’t actively sell. Remember, we need to tell a story that is valuable and relevant to the customer. That means, for the most part, leaving the sales messages out of the equation.

The third option happens all the time. “We don’t need it to be first-rate. We just need to get our newsletter, white paper, magazine out to our customers.” If that’s your attitude, don’t do it at all. You’re not doing your customers any service by sending them second- or third-rate information. Can anyone say SPAM?

The fourth option is an interesting choice. First of all, you can probably find a custom publisher to do just about anything. That said, there may be some content initiatives that only you could do. For example, Microsoft’s Channel 9 project would have been impossible to pull off if an outside content agency came in to produce the project. But a Microsoft developer going around with a camera asking questions, altogether possible. And it’s been an incredible success.

To Seth’s point, the fourth option can be exciting. Today’s environment allows you to be completely transparent with the content process. If you have an idea that is new and innovative (or at least new in your niche), try it. The worst thing that could happen is it doesn’t work. Then you can try something new.

But if that’s not for you, try calling in a professional.

Related Articles:

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By joepulizzi published January 26, 2009

‘Trust Me’ and Branded Entertainment Take Us Closer to the Future of TV

I was able to catch the Thursday edition of the New York Times and read this article about ‘Trust Me’ – the new TNT drama about a Chicago advertising agency. ‘Trust Me’ premieres tonight.

The difference between this one, and say ‘Mad Men’, is that real products are being written into the script, including those from Unilever (Dove), Anheuser-Busch and General Motors.

The article calls this a “…growing trend known as branded entertainment…” In actuality, it’s one step away from what we will come to know as common television programming.

Let me explain.

  1. Television advertising is expensive and difficult to measure.
  2. Everyone I know except for my kids skips TV ads.
  3. Consumer attention is scattered between hundreds of choices, so the storyline must be great in order to get ratings.  Most programs are canceled after just a few episodes.
  4. Companies can now, through the internet and advanced databases, communicate directly with customers, rather than promote themselves around traditional programming (advertising).
  5. People still watch great television (we watch one show in our house – ‘24‘ – but we do skip the ads), just as people still engage in great newspapers and great magazines.

If you agree with all this, there seems to be only one solution for corporations that want to promote their products and services through television – they need to become part of the programming (this may be the solution for the broadcasting business model as well). ‘Trust Me’ takes a leap into this area, but we will begin to see more programming dominated and created by one brand, similar to what Unilever developed with their 24-inspired series “The Rookie”.

At this point, I’m not sure when we will see more of this type of programming, but it is coming.  In order for corporations to use this channel effectively, they’ll need to partner with content producers that understand how to tell a story, much like corporations have partnered with custom publishers for custom magazines, newsletters, enewsletters, microsites and so on. Of course, we believe in this model is coming sooner than later.

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By joepulizzi published January 23, 2009

Striking Content Marketing Gold – Direct from the Content Experts

Just finished our first book tour call with my co-author Newt Barrett (@newtbarrett), Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) and Paul Gillin (@pgillin).  Fantastic call.  If you missed it, go here now. Much of this is also covered in our book, Get Content. Get Customers. Big thanks to Elizabeth Marshall for putting this together.

I was trying to jot down some golden nuggets from our esteemed panel while the session was going. So, in no particular order, here are some things you may find useful in your content marketing quest for gold.Continue Reading

By joepulizzi published January 20, 2009

Change Has Come to WhiteHouse.gov

As the clock struck noon EST and Barack Obama was being sworn in as our next president, the White House IT department flipped the switch on the new White House website. (See the difference in these before and after screen shots.)

According to Macon Phillips, director of New Media for the White House (in the first blog post ever from the White House), the new website will focus on:

  • Communication – new briefing room, blog RSS feeds and email updates from the President, as well as a weekly video broadcast from President Obama.
  • Transparency – yes, we know the government can only go so far in how much they can share, but their goal is to create the most open administration in history (perception is reality, remember?).
  • Participation submit your ideas to the President now.

Here’s what I really like:

“One significant addition to WhiteHouse.gov reflects a campaign promise
from the President: we will publish all non-emergency legislation to
the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment
before the President signs it.”

A bold strategy, and extremely challenging to execute properly even for a mid-size corporation, let along the white house. Nonetheless, the formula above is how you keep and grow brand evangelists. We’ve already seen it work it Obama’s campaign, and now he aims to continue this as President.

It’s not a complicated formula:

  • Content – continually publish high-quality information to customers and prospects (US citizens).
  • Set up Listening Posts and Enable Participation – continually gather information about the needs of your customers (blog comments, submission form). I can’t imagine the staffing needed to do this correctly.
  • Be the Media – be honest and communcate directly with customers – engage with the community without a filter. This may be the first administration that will actually morph into their own media property (Go to the white house for news and updates before CNN or Fox?).

And after 10 weeks of Twitter silence, Barack Obama’s Twitter account just went active again. This was the one area that I couldn’t understand about now President Obama…the Twitter communication just stopped after election day. Glad to see the Tweet lights are on again. I hope it continues.

Are you a business struggling with new media marketing? If so, following the new plan from the White House and the President wouldn’t be the worst thing you could do. Do you agree?

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By joepulizzi published January 19, 2009

Free Teleseminar with Some of Marketing’s Best – Brogan, Barrett, Gillin

GET-book-promo-pic(2)
If you are free on Friday, January 23rd at 1pm, don't miss this free Author Teleseminar with Newt Barrett, Chris Brogan, Paul Gillin and myself as we talk about how to deliver information to customers that they really want. 

Elizabeth Marshall has done a great job putting this event together. 

Here's the event overview:

As a business owner or entrepreneur, your job is
simple – to get more customers to buy from you. Easier said that done!
After all, how can you possibly increase your sales when most of the traditional marketing tactics are a waste of your time and won't do a darn thing to help you reach them?

On Friday, January 23 at 1pm Eastern Time,
meet Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett along with Chris Brogan and Paul Gillin, and discover how you can leverage
content marketing to reach customers faster and easier than before. You
will learn how to uncover what your customers really need and how to deliver solutions in a compelling and powerful way!

Register today!

By joepulizzi published January 15, 2009

Five Questions with Seth Godin

Seth-head-shot
Lori Rosen, executive director for the Custom Publishing Council (a wonderful Junta42 partner), was nice enough to let us share this brief interview between her and Seth Godin. Thanks Lori and Seth.

1. Your new book is called Tribes – how do you define a tribe, and what is an example of a tribe in today’s social media landscape?

A tribe is a group of people connected by a culture, a language, a mission and probably a leader. Barack Obama built a tribe, so did Harley Davidson.Continue Reading

By joepulizzi published January 14, 2009

Content Marketing: The Present and Future of Public Relations?

I gave a luncheon presentation entitled Content Marketing: The Present and Future of PR? yesterday for my new friends at Cincinnati PRSA.

(Note: Some of the images look a bit distorted in slideshare).

Here’s the high level overview:

  • Many traditional media properties are struggling to survive. For example, I had a conversation with Forrester research last week who stated the likelihood of 1/2 of all US newspapers to stop production in two years.
  • If these traditional media properties that PR used to get their message out are going away, what is PR to do? In any particular industry, who is helping to tell the story (companies, bloggers, etc.)?
  • Since PR professionals understand the value of, and how to develop a story, they are placed perfectly to be in the middle of the organizational content engine.
  • If PR’s role is to help manage the information from an organization to its “public”, doesn’t
    that include the creation of targeted story-telling initiatives like
    custom magazines, enewsletters, blogs, white papers, etc.?
  • Many PR professional already do many of these things, but are they “owning” the production of content within an organization that is targeted to customers and prospects?
  • Is this PR’s realm, or is it the realm of the marketer/corporation communications, the advertising agency, the custom publisher, or even the traditional publisher. Each of these group owners would say yes. But PR may have the advantage because they understand the value of the story.
  • The challenge is that the content distribution process has completely flipped on its head. Can PR professionals understand that they need to start communicating directly with customers and prospects, and not go through traditional media channels, to tell the story?

It was exciting to talk to many of the members after the presentation about how they believe they have now found their new career path, or how they can take their organization to the next level with content marketing. Makes driving through two hours of snow well worth the effort.

Here are some other helpful resources, based on the presentation:

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