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 June 18, 2009

Create these 10 Media Channels for Your Content Marketing Strategy

Had the pleasure of presenting “Please Stop Talking about Yourself” at the Web Content Conference 2009 in Chicago this week.  As usual, I was discussing the importance of brands creating their own media channels, and putting their publishing hats on in place of traditional marketing practices.  You can catch the PowerPoint presentation on creating media channels here, but for the PowerPoint averse, here are the top 10.

  1. Create an online media site. Examples – and from P&G; from the UK law-firm Pinsent Masons (we also talk about Out-Law as a full case study in Get Content Get Customers).
  2. An educational enewsletter (not to be mistaken for the “sales happy” enewsletter). Godfrey gives us a great example from the b2b marketing side.
  3. A slideshare channel. Why not create your own presentation channel at slideshare? Trendsspotting provides a perfect example of this in action.
  4. The free web app. Hubspot’s website grader is a classic.
  5. The Twitter tips channel. Collect the best information on the web and distribute through Twitter.  Be the expert content resource for your industry.
  6. A Facebook movement. Fan pages are fine, but provide something of relevance that your customer base can dig into.  Shama Hyder does a great job with her ACT blueprint page.
  7. Raid traditional media. If you are not looking at media properties in your industry to purchase or partner with, you are not being a smart marketer.
  8. The mobile helper. Kraft’s iFood assistant could change the way people cook.
  9. A digital magazine. Yes, even with all the social media rage, there is still a place for digital magazine. Betty Crocker creates targeted digital mags for consumers of all food specialties.  Check out this one on birthday parties.
  10. The video microsite. Can’t do a post like this without mentioning, perhaps the greatest ROI ever on a video storytelling series.

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By joepulizzi published May 8, 2009

10 Steps to Personal Branding Success

I was invited by the great teams at Advancement and DATAForge to  talk about personal branding success and wanted to share the presentation.

There are some excellent personal branding specialists that I follow (thanks Dan Schawbel), but the presentation below was based mostly on what I feel has made me successful.

What I emphasized to the group was that you don’t have to do all ten steps to be successful.  The most important part is that you pick the steps you can commit to and consistently execute those steps.

10 Steps to Personal Branding Success

  1. Update Your Online Profiles Now. LinkedIn, Facebook, and your Google profile are the most important. If you don’t have it already, buy your domain name. As a standard practice, all business cards you collect should be sent invitiations via LinkedIn. Finally, hire a professional to take your picture.
  2. Start a Blog/Get Involved in the Conversation. I use WordPress and TypePad for my blogs, and you can be up and running with either in a short period of time. Follow and comment on the top 10 – 20 blogs where your customers are hanging out. Answer questions on LinkedIn Answers and Yahoo! Answers. Follow your name, brands and keywords at Google Alerts. Find and get active in a Google Group that makes sense.
  3. Write a Book. Okay, this is a tough one. If a book is out of the question, start with an eBook. If you can do it though, start here (writing a book when you have no time to write a book).
  4. Create and Distribute Content of Interest to Your Customers. Develop a permission-based newsletter and consistent white papers/ebooks that will help your target group and position you as the industry expert. Share presentations on Slideshare. Use Twitter to distribute helpful information in your expertise area (here are eight Twitter steps to follow). Give away the “secret sauce”.
  5. Write for Everyone (no matter how small). Yes, it’s great writing for media sites such as AdWeek or Chief Marketer, but if you are asked to write for someone…anyone, do it. Even the smallest blog site can influence someone that you may not have had an opportunity to reach.
  6. Pick 2-3 Key Associations and Get Active. Once you do, always go to cocktail receptions, get on the committees/boards, and don’t commit to anything unless you can do it well.
  7. Speak, Speak, Speak. Once you start doing the first six points, you’ll start getting asked to speak at events. Remember, sometimes small, intimate events can spread your content farther than large events (so don’t dismiss them).
  8. Always Be Helpful (even if you feel like you are wasting your time). You will start to get many people coming to ask you for help and advice. That’s great! Sometimes you can’t help everyone yourself, but you can point them in the right direction.  Follow up with everyone.
  9. Pay Attention to Google. You are who Google says you are. If you can’t be found in Google either at all or for the right things, you won’t be found. It’s that simple.
  10. Get Behind a Charity/Cause. Hopefully, you are already doing this, but building your personal brand has to be about more than just you.  Pick one charity to get behind and make something happen for the better.

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By joepulizzi published April 14, 2009

Three Things Now! – Content Marketing, Listening and Social Media

I gave this presentation last week at the Esource Utility Marketing Conference in Phoenix, AZ.

Here are a couple key takeaways from the presentation above.

We Have Come Full Circle
Centuries ago, the information world as we knew it was shaped by many voices. Thousands of newspapers and pamphlets from across North America was how people become informed through media.

Then came big newspapers, big television, big radio.  We went from many voices to few voices.

Today, there are more voices than ever before (we have come full circle and are back to the beginning).

What that means as marketers is that we need to adjust where we place our attention and budget. 70% of marketing dollars still goes toward "bigger, placed media". Knowing how media has changed, does this still make sense? Probably not.

Marketing Today is Publishing

For our marketing to succeed, we, as marketers, need to understand what successful publishing is. The majority of our marketing spend needs to be dedicated to the creation of consistent valuable and relevant information to our customer segments.

But even that's not good enough? We need to develop this information in ways that can easily be spread.

I've never had anyone send me a print ad, or forward me an online display advertisement. But I've had many forward an interesting article, video, or piece of branded software.

If your content is something that your customers are willing to share, you've unlocked the secret of engagement.

Be the Trusted Expert in "Something
Being a provider of some product or service is not good enough today. You need to be the trusted expert of something. Figuring out what that "something" is for your customers will ensure that you actually have long-lasting relationships with your customers.

Social Media Should Be about Listening FIRST

If you aren't using social media tools such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook to listen, forget about distribution. Never has there been greater opportunity to talk one-on-one with your customers. Don't screw that up by shoving content down their throats before you really understand what their pain points are.

My Four Rules to Twitter

  1. Never answer the question "What are you Doing?" Who cares? No one.  Focus on what your customers' informational needs are. Answer that.
  2. Assign Ownership. Make someone responsible. This should be someone's job.
  3. Be Democratic. Don't be so presumptuous to think that only your organization creates and distributes great content. Nothing will make you the trusted expert faster than to distribute the best content from anywhere you can find it…even from your competitor.
  4. Be Human. People do business with people today, not companies. With Twitter, there is no other option.

Content and Social Media – Follow These Steps!

  1. Understand who your customer is and where the pain points are.
  2. Develop consistent, relevant content in multiple channels.
  3. Let go of all control. Let your idea spread.
  4. People share your ideas, link to your content.
  5. Content is found through social media and search engines.
  6. Customers start relying on you for your expertise (relationship!)
  7. You are the trusted solutions provider in your industry.

Thanks to the great folks at Esource for putting together an unforgettable event.

<p>Slide 51</p>

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By joepulizzi published March 17, 2009

Five Content Marketing Books You Need to Read

Over the past month, I've had a large amount of flying time to Europe and back. That means it's been the perfect time to catch up on my reading.

Below are books that I've read and taken something significant away.  I believe they can help you too (these are in no particular order).

#1 – Content Rich by Jon Wuebben

I recently had the chance to chat with Jon, and subsequently read his book. Here's my take: if SEO copywriting and content creation is important to your business (it should if it's not), this is a must read. Jon knows this stuff and will show you step by step how to do it. This will change the way you think about online content.

Best for: Anyone trying to increase conversions from search engines.

#2 – World Wide Rave by David Meerman Scott

You won't find a bigger fan than me of David's previous book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR. WW Rave is as good, if not better. If you are not a believer in the content marketing revolution, you will be after reading this book. It's a game changer. The examples are priceless. Need executive buy-in? Buy them this book.

Best for: Decision-makers that don't understand how the Internet has changed the game. Opportunity is now.

#3 – HVAC Spells Wealth by Ron Smith

As some of you know, I've done a bit of work in HVAC (Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning) publishing and marketing in my day. Through my travels I've had the opportunity to meet and work with Ron. Okay, Ron's book is not really about content marketing. But it IS one of the most practical small business operations, sales and marketing books I've ever read. Ron's examples are geared toward consumer service businesses, but the tips are priceless. Ron includes dozens of what he calls "1%ers" (small changes that when added up are game changers). I started making a list of them.  I'll share in a future post.  Great stuff. Get the book.

Best for: Owners and executives that need to focus more time on customers, and less time on internal politics. The process detail in invaluable.

#4 – The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Hyder

Shama was kind enough to let me preview a copy of this eBook before she released it. What I truly love about this book revolves around "the art of giving." Social media is about giving of your expertise in a way that helps your ideas spread. If you are a social media novice or a self-proclaimed social media guru, you will take some points away that will help your business. No doubt about it. Good for any sized business. Includes concrete best practices for Twitter and Facebook.

Best for: Businesses unsure about how to proceed into social media.

#5 – Personality Not Included by Rohit Bhargava

I didn't start using the term "authenticity" until after I read this book. Today's marketing environment means that brands needs to stand for something, and back that up with ideas and content that are meaningful to customers. We don't have a choice anymore.  Rohit's examples are worth the price of admission.

Best for: Marketing executives trying to grasp the integration between new and traditional marketing. Those trying to find a connection with customers.

Also (warning…sales plug), I have to mention our book, Get Content Get Customers as well (revised paperback to be released in May). I've seen this book in action with both businesses and media companies, and I can guarantee that it will make a difference in your business if you implement these steps.

Finally, I haven't read it yet, but I'm intrigued by John Blossom's Content Nation. That's the next one on my list.

Any others that I should add to my content marketing reading list?

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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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By joepulizzi published December 21, 2008

42+ Social Media and Content Marketing Predictions for 2009

Some people hate them, but I’m a sucker for prediction articles. The switch over to the next calendar year always provides the perfect scenario to decide what the fate of marketing will be.

We reached out to the Junta42 community, as well as the Junta42 Top 42 bloggers, to get their take on what the new year would hold for content marketing and social media.  As you will see, lots of opportunity amidst great uncertainty. Just the way we like it.

Thanks to those who contributed. Some truly outstanding expertise (and frankly, free consulting from some of the best). If you don’t agree or would like to add yours, please do – and pass this along to any marketing folk you know.Continue Reading

By joepulizzi published December 15, 2008

How Simple Gestures Can Grow Your Business

The homily at Church yesterday was about simple gestures.

It was how an anonymous person left five full lunches (sandwich, fruit and pretzels in each) on the steps of the church. The next morning those five lunches fed five people who needed food. It created five incredibly happy people and also eased the burden on the church’s “back door” program (which feeds those in need).

It was how someone years ago started putting fruit baskets together for the home-bound in the near west-side of Cleveland. Back then it created dozens of happy people who received them. Today there are over 700 elderly and home-bound individuals who eagerly look forward to those fruit baskets.

Simple gestures make a difference. Simple gestures can change the world.

Simple gestures can change your business.

The regular tips from P&G’s Home Made Simple helps the incredibly busy working mom (or dad) keep the house together and keep the kids fed. The result: more family time. Just a simple gesture from P&G. What does P&G get back? Home Made Simple is one of P&G’s most successful (and least expensive) R&D tools.

MasterCard Small Business used to be all about just making it easy for people to get a new credit card. Today, they actively develop content about how small businesses are dealing with business issues in order to be successful. Just a simple gesture from MasterCard. What does MasterCard get back? More than 50% of new card sign ups come directly from an educational article.

Hubspot developed to help small businesses quickly evaluate how they can improve their websites. Just a simple gesture from Hubspot. What does Hubspot get back? Website Grade is Hubspot’s most powerful lead generator by far, and has been instrumental in their rapid growth.

Simple gestures, or the giving of time and knowledge to help your customers succeed, can change your marketing, your business, your employees and most importantly, the way your customers view your company.

By “giving gifts” to your customers, you become a trusted solutions provider. When they are ready to buy, they look to you, because you helped them. Just a simple gesture.

Simple gestures attract prospects. Continuing to provide simple gestures keep customers for a lifetime.

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By joepulizzi published November 16, 2008

Junta42 Releases New Top Blogs List – TopRank Blog Sneaks By Copyblogger

We’re excited to announce the fourth installment of the Junta42 Top 42 Content Marketing blogs. Congratulations this month goes to Lee Odden and the team from TopRank Online Marketing, whose Online Marketing Blog just squeaked by Brian Clark’s Copyblogger (which held the #1 position for the last two updates).Continue Reading

By joepulizzi published November 12, 2008

Purpose-Based Marketing, Jim Stengel and Content Marketing

I’ve seen Jim Stengel speak many times and always enjoyed it.  For the past five+ years, the global marketing chief from Procter & Gamble seemed a regular on the advertising and marketing speaking circuit.  Now we know why.

Mr. Stengel has formed his own marketing consulting company called (appropriately) Jim Stengel LLC. Stengel states in this Wall Street Journal article that “marketing is in need of a major overhaul…trust in brands is at an all-time low.”
Stengel’s “new way” of selling is called “purpose-based marketing,” which, according to the article, is “about defining what a company does – beyond making money – and how it can make its customers’ lives better.”
Although this is nothing new, it’s nice to see this picked up in the Journal, and that a well-followed and successful marketing executive is carrying the banner of what we call content marketing.
Yes, Stengel’s “purpose-based marketing” is “content marketing”.
Here is what I wrote back in January on this topic:
Content marketing is not easy because you actually have to listen to your customers and know what their challenges are. You cannot solve your marketing woes through buying advertising space. You must make a connection to your customers, and get new customers, by focusing on their true pain points and healing them with information.

In the WSJ article, Stengel discussed how Pampers found its higher purpose: helping moms develop healthy, happy babies.  From that, P&G offered parenting advice (relevant content) and recruited experts on a variety of parenting topics (yep, that’s content marketing).
The Results: the brand won market share. Pampers became not just a product, but a trusted resource through their use of content marketing.  They did it by telling a meaningful, relevant and compelling story.
Look, nothing against Mr. Stengel here, but this “new idea” has been the basis of the custom publishing (what I call content marketing) movement for over 100 years (since John Deere launched the first recognized custom publication called The Furrow in the late 1800s – and still in publication by the way – bless you John Deere).
Stengel’s book release that expands on his idea (currently titled “Packaged Good”) is currently in production.  While you wait for that one to hit bookstores, here’s the original.
By joepulizzi published October 29, 2008

Writing a Book? 6 Ways to Launch Your Book Using Social Media

It’s funny…the more our society focuses on the Internet, the more niche print books you tend to see.  Sounds counter intuitive, but the Long Tail has created opportunities in book publishing that were never before imaginable.

Since we have the ability to target the slimmest of customer segments, more companies are developing content to serve those niches and drive revenues. Yes, even books. From to LuLu, publishing has become easier from both a production and promotion standpoint.

This was one of the reasons why Newt Barrett and I launched our book Get Content. Get Customers., which revolves around the philosophy and execution of content marketing. We believed that we could develop a content marketing book, without a major publisher, that could get traction through the use of social media and the Internet. And we were right. (Note: Last month, Newt and I sold the book rights to McGraw-Hill. The marketing of the book was the major reason we were approached with this opportunity – that, and hopefully the fact that it’s a good book had something to do with it.)

We didn’t do everything perfect, but we did a lot right, and there are others out there doing some amazing things.  Below are six social media and online keys to promoting a book for yourself or your business.

NOTE: Remember, this is not a traditional book launch.  Thinking differently is the key.

1. It Starts with Relationships

This is less of a “way” than a philosophy.  The key to your online promotion success is having lots of conversations with lots of people online. Then, those people have more conversations and presto, you have a successful book launch.

Your online relationships need to be in place before you launch your book. Trying to create a movement at the same time you are trying to find influential business colleagues is difficult at best.

Get and stay active online by using social networking and communication tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and FriendFeed. Each one will give you the opportunity to grow your network and find your place.

But it’s not enough to just join…you have to do two things: get active and have something to say.

Look at it like this – if you are having a one-on-one conversation with someone and all you do is talk about yourself and how wonderful you are, how long will that relationship last?  Same thing goes for anything online. The more valuable information you communicate, the more people want to hang around you.

By doing this, you will build your base of followers that will make everything else on this list possible.

2. Why a Blog is so Important

First off, the blog can be where you actually start and finish the book.  A good portion of the chapters for our book originally came from popular posts from my blog. The same goes for authors like Seth Godin or Rohit Bhargava, both of whom have used their blogs to develop and promote their books.

But, the bigger point is that you need consistent, relevant and valuable content to continually communicate to your followers/colleagues from point #1. Nothing does that better or easier than a blog. I know with 100% certainty that I couldn’t have launched the book without the blog – in terms of both creating and cultivating a following.

Content marketing works because a valuable piece of content delivered to people who want it is still the best marketing on the planet. It positions you as a trusted content resource. Once you become a trusted resource, anything from a marketing perspective is possible. Possibly no one does that better than Seth.

3. Viral Marketing and the eBook

I’m a big David Meerman Scott fan. David’s books Cashing in with Content and The New Rules of Marketing & PR both discussed how content marketing can fuel a business and a brand.

Before Launching “The New Rules”, David created an ebook entitled The New Rules of PR that has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. By giving away this wonderful and free piece of content, David was setting the groundwork for the explosion of his best-selling book.

Newt and I flat out stole the same concept with the release of our free eBook, Get Content. Get Customers. We gave it away for free, placed it on LuLu, and promoted it on our blogs.  We actually used much of the feedback we received about the eBook as part of the printed book. It’s almost like sending a rough draft out to the world and seeing what sticks.

It really could have been anything…an article series, a white paper, a video, etc. But we’ve found, as David has shown, that an eBook serves as a good preview of the book, and is easy enough for people to link to and pass around.

4. Don’t Wait for Your Prospects to Find You

Yes, you should have a destination site that people can visit to get your information. That could be a website or a blog. That said, you can’t expect everyone to find you by getting to YOUR site.

There are plenty of sites that you need to leverage all that great content you are creating in anticipation of your book launch.

Use sites like, SmallBusinessBrief and Junta42 to upload links and abstracts to your content. Get active in StumbleUpon. Upload to Facebook. Promote on Twitter. Upload full articles to

Of course, the sites depend on who your target is (each industry has their own targeted content sites). You may also consider creating your own Squidoo page as I have. Guest blog as much as possible at relevant sites (bloggers are always looking to do Q&A’s or guest blogs). Place articles on sites such as EzineArticles.

Also, don’t forget to get involved in other communities that can help people find you as a resource.  Those include Yahoo! Answers, LinkedIn Questions and posting reviews on

The point is that you want to create as many highways into your site as possible (what Hubspot calls Inbound Marketing) and be everywhere that makes sense with your target audience. Yes, it takes time, but done right, there may be no better way to market.

5. Building a Community First

Seth Godin’s release of his latest book, Tribes, was simply amazing.

Seth created an invitation-only community site called, where leaders and students could learn and be inspired (the site uses technology). Seth called for the movement initially on his blog, which is how I found out about it.

Seth did all the right things. In exchange for putting a little skin in the game (buying the book), Seth gave you access to people who really cared about marketing.  He also made it a limited proposition, made it viral (email to a friend), and made it easy to join.

The community is pretty vibrant, and I check it out when I can.

Seth built a community of fans who are all working to promote Seth’s book.  By just getting a few passionate people involved in the beginning, Seth created something bigger than the book.

Something to aspire to…

6. Leverage Others to Organize a Movement

I can’t tell you how impressed I am with Drew McLellan and Gavin Heaton. Drew and Gavin were the masterminds behind Age of Conversation 2, a book I recently co-authored with 236 others from 15 countries.

This was not a book project, this was a major social movement that Drew and Gavin worked to perfection for the second time (I wasn’t a part of the first book).

How do you get others to believe in something as much as you?  Make them a part of the process.

What does that mean for your book experience?  Whatever it is, if done right, you’ll create something that transcends the book, which is what Drew and Gavin have done.

And these six strategies just touch upon what can be done in this ever-changing online climate.  There is one constant though – none of this will work without the creation of valuable, consistent and compelling content. If you have that, you just need to find ways to get people to engage in that content. The six points above will help – go out and find more…

More reading at: 10 Keys to Writing a Book when You Have Absolutely No Time to Write a Book

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