Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the bestselling author of seven content marketing books including his latest, Content Inc. He has founded four companies, including the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), and his newest venture, The Tilt. His podcast series, This Old Marketing with Robert Rose, has generated millions of downloads from over 150 countries. He is also the author of The Random Newsletter, delivered to thousands every two weeks. His Foundation, The Orange Effect, delivers speech therapy and technology services to children in 35 states. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

By joepulizzi published January 7, 2010

How Long Should You Spend on Twitter Each Day?

Every speech I give to marketing professionals, I get asked one of two possible questions:

  1. How long do you spend on Twitter each day?, or
  2. How long should I spend using Twitter each day?

Bar none, this is the best response to using Twitter that I have heard – from Guy Kawasaki:

Question: How long do you spend on Twitter every day?

Answer: Asking me this is like asking Tiger Woods how much he plays golf. “It’s what I do.” If I’m on the computer, I’m on Twitter, and I’m on a computer eight hours per day.

After reading this from Guy, I realized he’s exactly right.  When I’m on the computer (which is most of the day), or using my iPhone (when I’m not using the computer), I’m on Twitter.

Twitter, as well as other social media, just becomes part of what you do as a marketing professional.  We have no choice anymore.  It just is.

And you know what…that’s okay by me.

By joepulizzi published December 22, 2009

100 Social Media & Content Marketing Predictions – The eBook

Thanks to our good friends at Zmags, we now have a 75-page eBook covering over 100 social media and content marketing predictions for 2010 from the most influential marketers in the world. You can view it here without signup!

Last week we released the 100 content marketing predictions for 2010, easily our most popular post of the year.

By joepulizzi published December 16, 2009

Marketing Shoelaces

No one seems exactly sure when, but shoelaces became popular sometime in the 20th century to better tighten shoes, replacing buckles and buttons (which were slow and cumbersome).

Shoelaces are odd to me.  The technology exists today that we can manufacture any type of shoe, dress, casual or sport, without the need for shoelaces.  There is no need to tighten shoes, because the shoe itself can loosen or tighten, depending upon the need.  Take a shoe like this I just purchased from Sketchers.  I could wear this shoe for literally any situation. And no shoelaces.Continue Reading

By joepulizzi published December 14, 2009

100 Social Media & Content Marketing Predictions for 2010

2010 Content Marketing PredictionsSome things amaze me, like this year’s social media and content marketing predictions list.  What does one sent email and two tweets equal?  Over 100 predictions from 60+ of the best and the brightest in marketing, content marketing, custom publishing and social media.  No kidding!  Just check out this list below.

…and just to be fair, we have listed the predictions by order of submission.  Congrats to Seth Godin for being Quick Draw McGraw.  For those of you who want to add your two cents, please do so in the comments.

Here are some of the key trends I found while reading through our expert predictions:Continue Reading

By joepulizzi published December 3, 2009

Why Print isn’t going anywhere for a long, long time…

We’ll be here someday with electronic, but this makes the case for why print is still an essential tool for most of us.  Enjoy!

By joepulizzi published November 30, 2009

Crowdsourcing Content Marketing – Oxymoron or Killer App?

Thanks to Rick Liebling, a long-time Junta42 supporter, for this provocative guest post.  Connect with Rick @eyecube.

While those of us who are believers in Content Marketing have been diligently spreading the word, proponents of crowdsourcing have been screaming from the rooftops with all the subtlety of a tent show revival about the buzzword of 2010. But is crowdsourcing really all its cracked up to be? Can brands really harness it to their benefit? As a marketer your resources, both human and financial, are limited, so where should you be looking to shift your time and money?

It’s important to understand what Content Marketing and Crowdsourcing are, what they can (and can’t do) and how they can be used (and misused). I think the biggest area of, if not confusion then perhaps misunderstanding, is with crowdsourcing.  Right now a lot of brands are using crowdsourcing like a cudgel instead of a scalpel. They are trying to grab as many consumers as possible, throw a challenge, any challenge, at them and see if they can catch lightning in a bottle.

Is that how you would crowdsource open-heart surgery? What about automotive engine repair? Of course not. You’d try to gather a large selection of pre-qualified people for the specific task at hand. So, if you are a brand marketer and you want to produce effective, relevant content marketing, and you want to do so via crowdsourcing, you have to look at this from a different perspective.

You need to be more strategic and a little more thoughtful. Whether your product is a mass product or has a very specific target, you can identify a niche consumer. Sure, everybody loves your fizzy beverage, but maybe you want to target college students. Why open your crowdsourcing contest to everyone then? Why not target college kids and more importantly, make the content relevant to college kids. How about crowdsourcing live music reviews from college campuses all around the country. This would engage your target consumer with relevant content and eliminate submissions from sources you don’t want and aren’t targeted.

The real power of crowdsourcing is in focusing on a group of experts, not a group of generalists. If you’re a brand marketer who is a believer in content marketing but hears the siren call of crowdsourcing, go for it, but be smart.

By joepulizzi published November 25, 2009

The Pros and Cons of User-Generated Content


Thanks to Dara Solomon, Community Manager at, for putting this timely piece together on user-generated content. More and more, marketers are asking how or if user-generated content should fit into their overall content marketing strategy. Dara provides a good overview below to help you in your decision making.

As the Internet continues to sprawl, entangle with, and seemingly overtake many aspects of our lives, different issues also begin to reel us in. Something interesting to think about is the debate on websites using “user-generated content” (UGC) versus “traditional” content.

The concept is simple: user-generated content includes any site where the user (that’s you or possibly your customer) can write and publish content, whether it is video content, blog posts, advice websites, and the like. No Rupert Murdoch involved there. Contrarily, “traditional” content includes pages run by local and national media, business pages, and any website where the content was professionally written, edited and published (your content marketing).

Working for a site,, that contains almost entirely UGC, it’s starkly apparent in my daily life that UGC has both pros and cons.

Pros of UGC:

  • Voice:  As we all witnessed, the Internet played a huge role in the 2009 Iranian election protests. Whereas without UGC, much of the protests would have been peripherally covered (through Iranian traditional news only), UGC allowed blogger Joe Schmo in Iran to post his protests for the world to read. It’s not debatable that UGC gives people around the world a voice, whereas traditional content does nothing of the sort. As for the inherent debate on Democracy, maybe later. For now, a definite pro.
  • Upcoming: The current teenage generation uses the Internet. According to a late 2007 Pew study, 94% of American teenagers polled use the internet/email. As this occurs, teens are watching TV (traditional content) less. UGC seems to be the way to go if trying to hook the future generation.
  • Simpler: It could be argued that UGC is easier from a site owner’s perspective– considering content is written for you rather than by you. I’ll leave you a minute to ponder that; it’ll come up again later.
  • Self-policing: Not only is it possible to not have to write much content, there are ways to get the community to actually police themselves. Over at FunAdvice, we use volunteer moderators to help keep abuse and spam at bay.

Sounds good and dandy, right? So why isn’t every website based on user-generated content?

Cons of UGC:

  • Credibility: For anyone who has asked a fairly simple question on an advice site and received a myriad of different answers, this issue comes up immediately. Who are these people generating this content, and what makes them experts? How much wrong (or even dangerous) information are they disseminating to the world through their blogging and incorrect advice?
  • Bias: Also seems to be a no-brainer. Unless the site is a specifically-stated political party site, bias isn’t explicitly told in UGC. It’s up to the reader to gauge which information doesn’t hold bias. And many people aren’t capable of this determination.
  • Moderation: Unless using self-policing options (see Pros), there is an issue of moderating UGC sites (especially advice sites). How much work is involved with making sure illegal or abusive activity isn’t published on your watch? And is the work worth it for the possibly biased and incredible information?
  • Ownership: When examining traditional content, it’s easy to see who the owner is (Rupert Murdoch). Ok enough of those jokes. In all seriousness, who actually owns the content on user-generated sites? The host? The user who wrote the content? Both? Intellectual property laws regarding the Internet have a long way to go to catch up with us today.

So where do you personally stand on this debate? Is UGC the wave of the future and a possibility for your company, or just a way to spread junk en masse? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

By joepulizzi published November 18, 2009

10 Corporate Blogging Tips and Strategies

Ambal from Click Documents asked me if I had any tips/strategies for corporate blogging.  The presentation below is a corporate blogging basics presentation useful for beginning bloggers.  That said, here are the main takeaways.  For more indepth understanding of a content marketing strategy, this content marketing white paper will help.

  1. A blog is just a tool, nothing more, nothing less. BUT, it can be a powerful tool to distribute consistent and valuable information to your prospects and customers.  Be sure to focus on the informational needs of your customers, and provide helpful content around those needs. The more niche the better.  Find your expertise area and own it!
  2. Not sure how to get started with a robust social media presence? First, focus on your blog and use that as the magnet to attract customers from social networks to your site.  You cannot have a social media strategy without first understanding your content strategy.
  3. Match your expertise areas with the needs of your customers.  Every situation where you have expertise and your customer has an informational need is a piece of content that leads to a larger content strategy.
  4. There are thousands of blogging platforms.  Pick the easiest to implement. WordPress and TypePad would be my first and second choices. Larger organizations may want to look into Compendium.
  5. Get your blogging ears on and listen.  Use tools such as Google Alerts, Twitter Search and Tweetdeck to actively listen to your community.
  6. Where are your customers hanging out?  Find relevant industry blogs using Twitter, Google Alerts and Google Blog Search and begin to read those blogs. A bit later, start to engage and comment with helpful tips.  Once you gather a presence on those blogs, guest blogging opportunities should be considered.  Make a list of at least 10-15 blogs.
  7. Automatically spread your message.  Use a service like Twitterfeed to automatically post your blog updates to Twitter and Facebook.
  8. Choose a consistent schedule.  Whether it’s once, twice a week or even daily, pick a schedule and stick to it.  This blog posts 2-3 times per week and has been doing so for almost three years now.  Of all these points, this may be the most important.
  9. Track your performance. Use Google Analytics to monitor which posts are being engaged in the most and where people are coming from.  Do more of the posts that are read, less of the ones that are not.
  10. Length and style tips:
  • Shorter is often better (250 words).  Get to the point and make it actionable.  Link out to ideas that need more explanation.
  • Bullets/Lists do better
  • Titles are like magazine covers…their role is to get people to open them.  Work on titles that get people to read your post.
  • Integrate video or presentations (embed) whenever possible.  Mix it up!
  • Actively link to other bloggers.  They will notice.
  • Proofread!

By joepulizzi published November 10, 2009

Top 10 Twitter Basics Questions Answered

Just about every day I answer a question about using Twitter, the microblogging tool. I’ve put them together in this handy post.  Enjoy, and, if you like getting information on content marketing, feel free to follow me @juntajoe.

Question #1
What is the easiest way to find someone’s @ name? If I read an article or hear them speak, how do I easily find their Twitter call sign.

Use Twitter Name Search

Question #2
What are other ways to find twitter names?

If Twitter Name Search doesn’t work for you, try Twellow, the Twitter Yellow Pages.

Question #3
What does the # mean and how do you find out the # for a conference (for example).

The # is called a hashtag. They were created to bring organization to Twitter.  For example, I may send out a tweet about content strategy, and may want to help those interested in content strategy find the tweet by adding #contentstrategy.

For the example below, this person can now coordinate his/her tweets with others about news of the fire.

If you are trying to locate a particular hashtag, try these sites:

For more on using Twitter hashtags, here is a helpful hashtag article from Search Engine Journal.

Question #4
Are their ‘rules’ written or implied on when you should retweet or thank for a retweet?

“Retweet” means to forward someone else’s tweet to your followers. Best practices are:

  • Retweet only if the information would be valuable for the people that follow you. If it’s not valuable, don’t retweet.
  • Public thanking retweets are sort of frowned upon as unnecessary (i.e. @you Thx for the RT), so don’t do them. If you really want to show recognition, you can Direct Message the person back, but since so many users are starting to use DM’s for spamming, your follower may not ever see it.  Also, if you both aren’t following each other, you can’t send a direct message.  Best practice is to just return the favor at some point.
  • Personally, I like to use “via” when retweeting.  It just shows that you didn’t just forward it out without thinking.  See below

Question #5
What is the difference between sent from Tweetdeck or Seesmic?

There are literally hundreds of ways to send and manage your tweets.  Tweetdeck and Seesmic are two ways of managing the process. Tweetie is used often for the iPhone.

In this image, you can see four different ways that people are sending out their Tweets. Web means

Question #6
What’s a good ratio to keep from Followers to Follows (often called the TFF ratio)?

I’m a big fan of following people that follow me, as long as it’s relevant to my business in some way (around a 1 to 1 TFF).

You’ll get all different viewpoints on this.  For example, some people (like our good friend Ashton Kutcher) will only follow a select crowd.  Obviously, unless your a celebrity, this can come off as a bit elitist.

Truth is, it probably doesn’t matter.  If you have significantly more followers than people following you, it may be harder to gain more followers.  So, best advice, is to grow your followers naturally as you go so your ratios never seem too far out of whack.

But here’s the biggest point – figure out what your objective for using Twitter first. That makes all the difference.

Here is an excellent article that goes into more detail on TFF ratios.

Question #7
How often are personal tweets appropriate?

Couple points here:

  • Understand what your objective is for using Twitter.  Is it personal or is it business or both?
  • If it’s business, determine whether your Tweet would be valuable to your network.  If it’s not, personal or not, don’t send it.

Greg Verdino, who I follow, always sends many more helpful tweets than personal…but every once in a while throws in a personal Tweet.  I like that about Greg.  It makes him more real, but he never overdoes it.

Question #8
Where do direct messages post? Who can read them – only the person you send it to?

A direct message (DM) is only sent to that particular person.  In order to send a DM to someone, you both must be following each other.  Same goes for receiving a direct message.

Think of it like an email to that person – only they will receive it.

NOTE: Be careful using direct messages.  Since some Twitter users have been using them for Spam and Auto-DMs (see this post for more on Auto DMs), people are ignoring or even turning off their DM email settings.

Some, as in the one below from Ambal, are very helpful.

Question #9
How is sending a direct message different from sending a reply to the person?  Does this post public? Just to the person or to anyone in Twitter?

Replying to someone in Twitter (@juntajoe) can be seen by anyone in Twitter.  Sending it with the @ (at) symbol gets another person’s attention.  Basically, it’s like doing a phone conversation over the radio – it’s intended for one person, but everyone can hear it (see it in this case).

When you are replying to someone, it’s important to provide enough context for both the person you are talking to and also possibly be helpful to anyone else paying attention.

Question #10
So, should I even answer the Twitter question “What are you doing?”?

Well, probably not.  Does anyone really care anyway?  They care about themselves, so send out tweets important to your followers.

For more of the basics, check out this Twitter for Beginners article or check out this presentation for Twitter beginners.

Did we miss any?

By joepulizzi published November 4, 2009

Custom Print Magazines – Why Can’t MasterCard Produce Inc. Magazine?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been reading more print magazines lately.  Seems odd at first, but in a way, it makes perfect sense.

I spend most of my business day and night on the computer. When I’m on my computer, I need to get things done.

But when I want to relax and engage in an inspiring story, print is my choice…books and magazines.

At the top of the list is probably Inc. magazine. This month’s article about how 37Signals founder Jason Fried spends his day was priceless.Continue Reading