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 upcoming 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 July 22, 2008

DIY Microsites to the Rescue – a Q&A with Genoo’s Kim Albee

I had the pleasure of chatting with Kim Albee recently about the launch of her new web-based microsite and lead nurturing system called Genoo. Genoo is an interesting concept, and really speaks to marketers about the need to not only communicate effectively and consistently with customers and prospects, but to nurture and track the conversation as well.

Joe with Junta42 – What does Genoo do?

Kim with Genoo – Genoo’s online marketing tools enable marketers to affordably reach target audiences fast—with fresh, relevant information. They can create niche product and expertise microsites and landing pages in record time and launch campaigns without IT involvement.

All of Genoo’s tools are integrated so once an email communication is sent, all responses are tracked, and marketers can gain insight to lead interest levels. Then, they can use that lead intelligence to tune messaging to build better connections with the leads they’re nurturing. Genoo is an online campaign execution toolbox for interactive content marketing.

Joe – Why did you decide to launch it?

Kim – I worked with a lot of marketers who had difficulty implementing lead nurturing strategies. They had lengthy wait times for IT to load content, create landing pages and provide email templates. Whenever they learned anything about their leads that necessitated tuning their messaging, they went back to the IT queue. That dependence on IT hampers marketing’s efforts to be responsive in real-time and provide the interactive marketing dialog their prospective customers expect.

I knew if we could help marketers eliminate those technical challenges, plus give them a more integrated suite of tools that helps them remove silos and get a more comprehensive view of how their communications are being received and acted upon, Genoo would deliver a high-value solution. Increasingly, marketers need to optimize campaign outcomes and quantify their contribution to revenues. Ultimately, I want Genoo to revolutionize the way online marketing gets done by eliminating the technology barriers and cost structures that hinder optimizing ongoing dialog with customers and buyers.

Joe – What changes in marketing are you seeing where the microsite will continue to be important?

Kim – That’s a tough question. Much has changed in customer expectations and in who controls the sales cycle. Marketing Sherpa has done some definitive research in this area. Two notable findings are that 80% of our customers say they found us, where companies believe the opposite is true. The other is that persistent statistic that reports 79% of marketing leads never become opportunities.

Both of those changes have big ramifications for how companies market. In the first one, because prospects identify themselves later in the buying process, they may very well think they found you. The reality is that marketing needs to provide deep content for relevant focus areas to deliver high-value information designed to meet an urgent need. Microsites enable marketers to do that with ease.

The wasted leads issue results from a lack of insight about leads and the historical tendency for marketing to rely on sales to nurture them. Marketers are being tasked to nurture leads farther through the pipeline and need to take the effort to prove to salespeople that they can be trusted to deliver sales-ready leads. This pervasive lack of trust between marketing and sales is costing companies time, money and customers. Microsites with integrated lead nurturing tools can help bridge that gap between sales and marketing by generating better leads, validating interest levels and setting sales up to close more deals.

Joe – In your opinion, why are content microsites so important?

Kim – Important question Joe, and one many marketers are asking. Microsites are becoming a critical resource for customers and buyers to focus on specific expertise needs. The time constraints of today’s business don’t allow a lot of time for browsing vast websites and trolling through lots of unneeded or general one-size-fits-all information in search of insight about urgent priorities.

The more customer-focused companies become, the bigger the need for niche areas of interest that engage and sustain the interest of leads. And that’s exactly what a microsite provides. By delivering targeted high-value information, marketing can entice leads to identify themselves earlier in the process, as well as ensure that their company stays top of mind until the lead decides to move forward.

Additionally, the ability to easily insert keywords, page titles and meta descriptions to optimize the search results for each page of a microsite is critical to being found in the first place. Microsites allow you to claim an area of expertise and go after that search result territory. The more you learn about your leads’ behavior, the better able you’ll be to tune your keyword choices to accurately reflect how your target audience is searching for their information. And, marketing can take charge of being found on the Web without need of IT support.

Joe – How hard is it to use drip marketing…and why would you?

Kim – Without integrated tools that automate nurturing programs, drip marketing can become a tedious manual task that gets pushed aside for other projects. But, with Genoo, a marketer can go out and create their email messages, load and link their content and schedule the sends based on rules they set about lead activity.

The reason drip marketing is important goes back to both staying top of mind and building credibility that inspires the trust necessary for a lead to initiate a conversation with your company. By consistently delivering high-value, relevant content the lead receives information of value and establishes that comfort level with your company. Every time you send them something relevant to their priorities, you earn another good impression that bolsters your credibility as the ideal partner to help them solve their problems. One-way, one-off scatter-shot marketing communications won’t deliver those results for marketers.

Joe – Personalization is a big topic for marketing today. How does Genoo help marketers get closer that ideal?

Kim – The simple answer is intelligence. Because Genoo tracks every activity your leads undertake from opening, clicking through and visiting additional resources on your microsite, you know what they’re interested in. By segmenting and communicating with leads who share interests, marketers can maximize their ability to connect with their leads because their responsiveness is noticeable and appreciated.

When marketing communications are on target, marketers are saving their leads valuable time they’d otherwise spend searching for expertise they need to make competent decisions about how to solve problems. Genoo provides lead profiles and list management to help them easily accomplish higher levels of personalization.

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By joepulizzi published July 21, 2008

The Art of the Free Sample – Content Survival Tips

Every month our investment club meets to review our portfolio, make stock purchase decisions and, hopefully, learn a little. This month our meeting was held at Whole Foods on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio. Previously, this was a Wild Oats, and it was the first time I’d visited the store since it was renamed and re-branded as a Whole Foods.

The difference was notable as soon as we walked in.  I have two words for you – Free Samples.  There was a worker at the door giving out samples of organic peaches and mango. There was another stand set up next to our meeting room area that was giving away complimentary organic coffee. It made quite an impression.  I plan on stopping back and picking up some more of those mango.

Giving away free samples to consumers has been an age-old marketing practice. The idea is to let prospects try it. If they like it, they’ll come back for more. From Crest toothpaste to the new Frosted Flakes Gold, consumer marketers with smaller-ticket items use free samples to drive their businesses.

Business-to-business marketers and high-ticket consumer marketers have a bit more difficulty giving away free samples.  “Yes sir, please try out our new forklift, no questions asked.” “Yes maam, we’ll send over your new Pontiac Vibe today.  Keep it as long as you like.” Just doesn’t work.

So what to do?

Your content is your free sample. Give your customers and prospects a taste of your brand by delivering great information to them on a consistent basis. Instead of giving them that forklift, how about a video series on green shipping practices? Instead of delivering the Pontiac, how about a custom magazine showing Pontiac owners how they can get the most out of their car and their lifestyle?

This is not rocket science, it’s survival. Interruption marketing is near-death. Consumers are tuning out more and more marketing messages. To survive, you have to be relevant. You have to provide constant value in order for your customers to pay attention…even just a bit.

There is no social media strategy without content

I was talking with a marketing consultant today, and we chatted about simplifying the idea of social media. Look at it this way. You are having a one-on-one conversation with your customer. If you are only talking about how wonderful your products and services are, how long do you think they will pay attention to you?

Social media works the same way.  You won’t be allowed into the conversation without coming to the party with something of value. This is the golden rule on social media sites, as well as your own website. How long do you think your customers will stay on your site that includes only information about your products? What would you do if you were in their shoes? Would you stay more than five seconds?

Get to know your customers informational needs. Then, provide content that solves those needs. It’s that simple. This strategy is not just something nice to do, it’s communication survival 101. Go out and create great content.

What’s your free sample?

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By joepulizzi published July 20, 2008

Using Content as the Center of Your Marketing Strategy – Don’t Miss this Event!

Interruption marketing is dying. Consumers have control over what they engage in and when. So how do you get your relevant, valuable, and compelling content out to your customer base on a consistent basis?

You turn to the Web, right?

But hold on. Are you confident about which of the myriad Web-based options are right for your content? Do you know what to plan for now so that your content is found on the Internet in the future? And what’s with this whole social media thing, anyway?

Join me for an exclusive online presentation with McMurry’s ContentWise (formerly Publications Management) discussing why content is the future of marketing and how to choose the best ways to make your content accessible for your customers, prospects, members—even the ones you don’t know about yet. You’ll learn what will generate demand and position your
organization as a thought leader now, and what will ensure that you’re still a visible force on the Web five or ten years from now. Register now!


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

11:30 A.M. — 12:30 P.M. Eastern
10:30 A.M. — 11:30 P.M. Central
9:30 A.M. — 10:30 A.M. Mountain
8:30 A.M. — 9:30 A.M. Pacific


Webinar (per dial-in site):
$199 (subscribers)
$229 (non-subscribers)

Here’s What You’ll Learn

  • Reasons to integrate your content into your current website
  • Reasons to go for a standalone option instead
  • Pros and cons of the main standalone options
  • Pros and cons of implementing social media now
  • What to keep your eye on if you choose to wait
  • Which Web options are right for which goals

Looking forward to seeing you there.

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By joepulizzi published July 17, 2008

Why Custom Events Have Become the New Forum for Targeted Engagement

I had the opportunity to catch up with Kirk Laughlin yesterday in New York.  Kirk is Vice President and Managing Director of Events for Ziff Davis Enterprise.  With all the talk about online marketing concepts, sometimes we forget how robust the custom events arena is.  Kirk was kind enough to sit down and share his thoughts to talk about content quality, audience delivery and why custom events are here to stay.

Joe at Junta42 – What do you do for Ziff Davis Enterprise (ZDE)?

Kirk at ZDE – I run the live events unit at ZDE which includes over 200 custom events and about a dozen editorial conferences annually. I manage a team of over a dozen event professionals, including editors, logistics leaders, audience delivery experts and project managers.

Joe – What’s your background?

Kirk – Most of my professional life has been as a B2B editor, largely in telecom and IT, both in the US and Asia. As a result, a big part of my focus here is to engage an audience with rich, quality content that they simply can’t obtain through any other media channel. I believe I am fortunate to have grown up in editorial at a time when “reader pain points” were explored through longer-form analysis. I truly believe live events have become the new forum for this deeper level of thought and investigation.

Joe – What is a custom event?

Kirk – That’s an interesting question, since so many of us in marketing and media know all about custom white papers or magazines, but what qualifies as a premium custom event may not be widely understood. Custom events, at least at Ziff Davis Enterprise, make the client-editorial partner relationship visible through targeted audience delivery, tightly managed content development and an emphasis on highly interactive presentations.  We were first in this space among the big B2B tech media companies and have established a unique formula that has generated strong affinity among our senior IT level audience. We bring to these select, qualified audiences the best thought leadership from the client and match it with our own independent editorial and deliver it to a number of different forums– whether a custom roundtable, wine tasting, half-day summit or specialty program at a museum,  a golf outing, or even a microbrewery!

Joe – Talk about the importance of engagement for a bit…

Kirk – Let’s be candid – our audience of IT professionals can smell a sales pitch a mile away – whether on a website, a printed piece or on stage. They are simply not willing to be subjected to two hours of “death by Powerpoint.” These people take time away from the office and fight traffic to be part of a two-way conversation, where they interact with peers and challenge the opinions of thought leaders. Debate and exchanging ideas are key requirements for all of our live events.

Joe – Who do you work with and what do these clients want from ZDE?

Kirk – We’re very proud of our client roster, having worked with virtually every large global technology hardware and software vendor and dozens of emerging and mid-tier players seeking to up-level their message to senior IT decision makers.  Our client marketers turn to us for complete confidence in managing the entire lifecycle of the event process – from establishing the topic and framework – to acquiring registrants to delivering on the day of the show.  We take a lot of pride in the quality of our leads, who are part of our database of four million web visitors, print subscribers and event attendees.

Joe – What are you doing to grow your business?

Kirk – Execution is everything in our business. We work in a time sensitive, client-focused environment where we must be fundamentally nimble and proactively find solutions to all kinds of little things that pop up. We’re in a public facing environment also and everything we do – from our logistical performance to quality of audience to strength of our content – all contribute back to our growth. Finally, our core mission is to find and deliver the precise type of attendee sought by our clients, running in a vertical category, like financial services, or horizontally, such as directors of IT.

Joe – What makes you different than other custom event providers?

Kirk – Earlier on in our evolution, we tried to borrow editors from the print titles to work on events and that didn’t work. Our competitors are still stuck in that model, and clients tell us that the lack of dedicated talent always shows up at some point in the process. Our entire team is customer service oriented, which to be honest, is more similar to the way an ad agency might operate than a longstanding media brand.

Joe – What’s next?

Kirk – We’re continuing to advance our integration of live event and virtual platforms and also partnering with selected large trade show organizers to better leverage our content expertise.  I am especially excited to see that many sponsors are returning year after year to work with us on custom campaigns – in fact one just finished up a roadshow that started in the US and finished up in Paris and Bangalore!

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By joepulizzi published July 12, 2008

Age of Conversation Sequel – More Authors, More Must Have Content

The Age of Conversation (available here at Amazon) is a collaborative work of some of the best minds in social media and new marketing. The second installment of Age of Conversation is due to come out soon – with more authors and more must have mind-altering marketing information.

Age of Conversation Part II includes 237 of the finest marketing thought leaders in the business (a huge increase over the 102 authors from the first Age of Conversation). The sequel will focus on why some companies just don’t “get it”, and what you can do now to get closer to your customers.  More to come as the book is launched.  For a peek at this expert group of authors…here’s the list:

Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi, Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich, C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Chris Brown, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson, Daniel Honigman, Dan Schawbel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Dave Davison, David Armano, David Berkowitz, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner, Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller, Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming, Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber, J. Erik Potter, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, John Herrington, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Foster, Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kristin Gorski, Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magn
, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux, Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel, Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz, Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman, Rachel Steiner, Sreeraj Menon, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen, Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood, Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tim Brunelle, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman, Uwe Hook, Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau, Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff, Yves Van Landeghem

For more, here is the initial post on Age Part 2.

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By joepulizzi published July 9, 2008

A Simple Reason Why Yahoo! is Killing Itself

I was signing up Junta42 Match for inclusion in the Yahoo! Directory today. It’s $299 for a non-adult content site. At the end of the submission process, here is the notice they post (read the last sentence):

IMPORTANT: Please click on the “Submit” button below ONLY ONCE (double-clicking is not necessary), then wait patiently for your confirmation page. The approval process for your credit card payment may take a few minutes. Your card will automatically be billed every time you click on the “Submit” button. Once you have clicked the “Submit” button, no refund will be given for any reason.

Also included in the agreement is this line:

I understand that there is no guarantee my site will be added to the Yahoo! Directory. [Section 2.5]

This means that you pay $299 and they don’t have to give you any services. They don’t have to list your company. They don’t have to do anything but take your money (even if you accidentally click the “submit” button twice).

Now that’s customer service!

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By joepulizzi published

How BuyerZone Creates Content that Gets Results – Q&A with Jeremy Sacco

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Jeremy Sacco, editorial manager for BuyerZone, about their content marketing practices. Some gold nuggets here about how they are continually refining (and challenged by) the ongoing creation of content. Check out our Q&A below.

Joe at Junta42 – Tell me a little about what BuyerZone does?

Jeremy at BuyerZone – BuyerZone helps people who need to make purchasing decisions for their business. We provide the information buyers need before they start comparing different sources of equipment and services, then connect them to multiple suppliers chosen to match their exact purchasing requirements. It’s a free service for buyers — the business model is a lead
generation service, so suppliers pay a per-lead fee to be part of the program.

Joe – What is your role/purpose as part of the BuyerZone plan?

Jeremy – I’m the editorial manager here — my job focuses primarily on the written content we present as part of the purchasing process. That includes Buyer’s Guides, standalone articles, newsletters, and more. I’m also involved in some marketing and user interface work, but my main focus is on giving our users more of the information they need to be better buyers.

Joe – With so many areas that BuyerZone offers services for, how do you coordinate your time regarding the creation of content?

Jeremy – We only have a two-person content team at BuyerZone, and we cover over 150 different types of products — from copiers to forklifts to payroll services to steel buildings — so we have to be pretty comfortable shifting gears from one topic to the next. We try to allocate our time in a couple of ways: naturally, we tend to spend more time on the areas where the BuyerZone RFQ process is particularly strong — traditional office equipment, telecom, and construction equipment. But we also make sure we “check in” on areas where technology is changing quickly, so we can put up new articles or update existing ones to make sure they’re still accurate
and relevant. We have a stable of freelancers from different sources that we use in different ways — some specialize in research, and some on basic writing. Finally we try to write our key pieces of content in such a way that they’re “evergreen:” the Postage Meters Buyer’s Guide doesn’t need to change much from month to month, so we can write it, post it, and leave it alone.

Joe – What types of content (channels and topics) do you tend to focus on?

Jeremy – The most prominent type of content on our site is the Buyer’s Guides: comprehensive, multi-page articles that provide a complete overview of how to purchase the specific product. When a new product is introduced on the site, we first write a “quick hit”
version — about 800 to 1000 words on one page. If that proves successful, we’ll write the more comprehensive version, which can be 2,500 to 3,500 words on 6 to 10 pages. The idea is to make sure we have the most appropriate version for the amount of traffic the product is seeing. Then we’ll go through phases where we focus on different types of content: articles on pricing, or buying in tough economic times, for example.

We also work with our SEO team — they send us sets of keywords that we don’t have good  SEO coverage on and we’ll write articles specifically targeted to those phrases. That partnership has been central to our success: we strike a balance between editorial and SEO in decision making, and we’ve been able to build quite a strong presence in the search engines. (For example, Google the phrase “copier leasing” – #1 result is an article we wrote after the SEO team indicated that phrase was high-volume.)

Joe – How do you measure what works, and what doesn’t?

Jeremy – We track revenue per piece of content: if a visitor first reaches BuyerZone through a Buyer’s Guide, their eventual quote request is considered “content revenue.” That’s the most direct measure of success, but it’s pretty limited, as well: many visitors touch a Buyer’s Guide at some point during their interaction, regardless of where they entered the site. We also look at relative traffic — which types of articles get the most clicks from overview pages — to see what’s popular. And we try to listen to our users. We
collect both direct feedback and survey responses to see what people are reading, what they think of it, and what we could do more of.

Joe – What’s the future of content marketing for BuyerZone?  How is it currently evolving or what would you like to do different?

Jeremy – We are slowly starting to add more modern web tools to our site. (I hate to say “Web 2.0″ because it sounds so trendy — and not all the Web 2.0 features are applicable. No one is going to Digg our Skid Steer Loaders Buyer’s Guide.) We’ve introduced user ratings and comments in a couple of areas and had some success, so we hope to be rolling those out to more areas soon.  And we’re working on a blogging strategy as well. (The challenge there is picking a topic — just general buying advice is too broad, but no one would read a ‘buying copiers’ blog.)

Right now BuyerZone is a one-time tool for many users: they come to the site through search, get some information and their matched suppliers, and are gone. Our big challenge is to turn those users into repeat visitors by exposing them to more valuable and timely information.

Joe – Has content marketing always been a practice at BuyerZone, or did it naturally evolve as the company has grown and succeeded?

Jeremy – Actually BuyerZone’s history is as a content company. Before launching the BuyerZone request for quotes service, the company wrote and sold business purchasing advice. (Actual books!) So there is an ingrained sense of the value of content here — even though it’s no longer the sole focus, it’s still a core part of the business.

Joe – Any other content challenges?

Jeremy – One thing that’s been on my mind lately is the people who steal our content. I use Google Alerts to find them, which isn’t perfect, but still finds more content thieves than I can keep up with cease-and-desisting. When I’m feeling positive, I think about it as a sign of success: we must be doing something right for people to hijack our work.

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By joepulizzi published July 8, 2008

Custom Magazines – More Pages, More Frequency, More Response

Here are some interesting findings from a UK Royal Mail research study on custom magazine effectiveness (study produced with the APA and Millward Brown). Here is a link to the entire article (subscription needed).

  • Average number of pages in a custom magazine is 36. When pagination is higher than average, consumers read more than half 15% more than those with less than average page counts.
  • Average frequency is quarterly. When companies send custom magazines out at least five times, readership rates almost double.

Print is not dead, and probably never will be, as long as companies continue to deliver valuable, relevant and compelling content to customers that need that information. From the research above, it looks like the more good content you deliver, the more customers will engage in that content. Seems obvious, but it’s good to see some numbers that back this up.

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By joepulizzi published

Unexpected Customer Service

Here is a quick story about how to keep business.

Last week, I upgraded my iContact account (iContact is an email delivery service). One day after I upgraded, iContact sent me an email for 15% off any upgrades.  Darn my luck.

I promptly sent an email reply to the 15% offer in which I told them I just upgraded yesterday and would like to take advantage of the discount.

Two days later, I received an email from iContact accounting that I had received the 15% discount and that my card was credited the difference.

Many companies could have ignored this request, since I missed their window. iContact delivered on their promise regardless.

Needless to say, iContact will be keeping my business. You could say that iContact should have known I just upgraded, and a more targeted email to me would have been a better communications tactic. But that said, this is an example of great customer service.

We are all service businesses today. How we deal with the "service" part of the business is what does or does not create successful organizations.

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By joepulizzi published July 3, 2008

5 Important, Yet Often Overlooked, Content and Conversation Marketing Questions

In working with our clients, as well as dealing with our own content and custom publishing practices, here are some key questions that businesses need to continually remind themselves of in order to grow.  Often, these are overlooked, but are extremely important.

  1. Are you and your executives easily reachable by phone or email? Many businesses make it extremely difficult for their executives to be contacted directly. Consumers now expect that they can reach anyone at any time. This is the new reality we live in. Make sure that your contact information is current and that your employees can be easily contacted by customers and prospective buyers. Email addresses and direct contact information is a must.
  2. Are you keeping your content promises? If you deliver consistent information to your customers via email or print, are you staying on schedule? You have made a commitment as an organization and a business partner to keep set dates, whether daily, weekly or monthly. Be sure to adhere to your editorial calendars. By missing dates, you fall off the radar screen, which makes it difficult to continue long-term relationships.
  3. Are you honest with yourself about your content expertise? Most businesses are set up to create and distribute products and services, not consistent, valuable and relevant content. Most marketing departments are not equipped with the journalistic talent to make sure that the content you are creating is as good or better than anything else out there. Is your content first rate? If not, look into hiring a journalist or content team to manage your content projects (which is why we created Junta42 Match).
  4. Are you expecting the media companies in your industry to keep your customers and prospects educated on the information that is important to your business? If you are, don’t rely on outside sources. Shouldn’t you be providing this type of information? Shouldn’t you be the expert resource that your customer and prospects turn to?
  5. Are you on the cutting edge of your customers’ behavioral patterns? How are they making their decisions? What information are they using to make those decisions? Are they starting with the web first, as most seem to be (IBM notes that 95% of buying decisions in their sectors start on the web)? To find this out, you need to be talking with your customers on a consistent basis (talk to them, don’t just sell them). What are their challenges and pain points? How can you solve their problems, not just with services, but the content and information you create on a consistent basis?

By answering and continually monitoring these questions, you WILL grow and be successful. Simple, yet complicated, at the same time. The information you create and distribute as a corporation is what fosters the customer conversation. If you don’t consistently create valuable, relevant and compelling content, why would anyone want to have a conversation with you?

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