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“It’s harder and harder to buy attention. You have to earn it. Earn it by delivering the most impactful information your customers could ever ask for.”

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) was founded by Joe Pulizzi, one of the world’s leading experts on content marketing. Joe, an entrepreneur, speaker, and author on content marketing, believes passionately that there is a better way for brands to market than how they’ve done it in the past. CMI is a culmination of those beliefs. The Content Marketing Institute, founded in 2007,is now the leading content marketing educational resource for enterprise brands, recognized as the 468th fastest growing private company by Inc. Magazine in 2013. CMI produces the ålargest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World, held every September in Cleveland, Ohio. The Content Marketing Institute also publishes Chief Content Officer, the first globally distributed magazine devoted to the fast-growing, evolving field of content marketing.

Joe shares all his content marketing expertise in his newest book coming out September, 2013 called “Epic Content Marketing.” He has also spoken at more than 200 locations and 10 countries around the world advancing the practice of content marketing. If you ever meet him in person, he’ll be wearing the color orange.

BusinessInterviews.com: Why do you think that it’s important to teach marketers how to own their media channels instead of having to rent them through advertising?

Joe: Consumers are in complete control of how they buy. They can ignore our advertising at will. How do we get them to pay attention to us? By delivering information so helpful that, to the buyer, it doesn’t seem like marketing at all. Advertising is not dead, but content marketing is the driver that leading companies now use to capture the hearts and minds of their customers. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time for sales collateral, feature and benefit marketing and customer testimonials about why you are so awesome. If you are like most companies, you have plenty of that content. The problem with that type of content is that it is only critical when your prospect is ready to buy. What about the other 99% of the time when your customers aren’t ready to buy? Ah…that is where content marketing pays its dues. Content Marketing is all about developing marketing information that is so remarkable and compelling that your customers and prospects see you as the go-to resource. When an organization publishes epic content over a sustained period of time, prospects become customers and customers reward the brand with increased loyalty.

BusinessInterviews.com: What tips would you give to a new business that wants to strengthen their brand story while keeping the message authentic?

Joe: Even though nine in 10 brands use content marketing in some form, less than half of these companies actually have a defined strategy. This is a major problem. How do we know where to steer the ship if we have no destination. So the first step is define why you are creating the content, and then align that content with the informational needs and pain points of your audience. Whether your goals are search engine optimization, demand generation or include social media, your content strategy needs to come first at sit at the center of all these initiatives. If we focus first on the needs of our audience, and less on trying to pitch products and services, the program will work. But don’t try to boil the ocean with your content…find a content niche where you can actually be the leading informational provider in that niche. Go small to go big.

BusinessInterviews.com: What are some of the most common mistakes you see people making when it comes to content marketing?

Joe: I talk to businesses every day that waste an incredible amount of time on social media tactics without first having the content marketing strategy to make it work for the business. They are still just delivering pushy sales pitches. They don’t accept yet the all important truth that customers don’t care about you, your products or your services– they only care about themselves. So take a step back and stop creating content for five minutes and figure out your content marketing mission statement. You may realize that less of the right content instead of more of mediocre content, is the true answer.

BusinessInterviews.com: You have your Content Marketing World event coming up in September. Can you share some of the highlights that you’re most looking forward to?

Joe: We have some really great speakers this year including Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner as well as Jonathan Mildenhall from Coca-Cola, architect of Coke’s content marketing strategy. This year we’ve also added a fourth day that will include five summits focusing on content marketing in healthcare, technology, small business, manufacturing and the financial industry. Personally I look forward to when the thousand plus people get together in one place, it really feels like home. All these passionate people are trying to do the same thing in their organizations…make content work to create better customers. Oh, and we have a heck of a great time during the week.

BusinessInterviews.com: What are some industry trends that you’re excited about or think that our readers should be paying attention to?

Joe: Today’s marketing departments are looking and feeling more like mini-publishing companies. With our customers bombarded with over 5,000 marketing messages a day, why should they spend any time looking at us? To get attention, we need to be providing them information that helps them with their lives or their careers. It’s about creating Epic Content Marketing.

BusinessInterviews.com: Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the book you have coming out next month?

Joe: No wonder there is so much horrible content out there when it’s so focused on the tactical. Businesses can’t afford one more piece of bad content. We need to do it better. We need to focus more on our customers and less on our products. Yes, you heard that right…to sell more, we need to be marketing our products and services less. That’s why I wrote Epic Content Marketing.

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