write podcast e23

The Write Podcast, E23: Content Marketing Yesterday & Today with Joe Pulizzi

Listen to “E23 Content Marketing Yesterday & Today with Joe Pulizzi- A Look Back & 2 Reasons Why Brands Miss Out on Content Opportunities Today” on Spreaker.

Welcome to Episode 23 of the Write Podcast! Today, I’m completely honored to publish an episode with one of my favorite industry influencers – Joe Pulizzi himself, the guy in orange, and the founder of Content Marketing Institute!

Today’s guest really needs no introduction if you work in the content marketing space. Joe Pulizzi is the founder of one of my favorite publications, Content Marketing Institute. He has been working in content marketing for nearly two decades and is considered one of the foremost authorities on the topic.

In this episode, we talk about the history of content marketing, including Joe’s unique role in its development. We also cover some major misconceptions about content marketing that are holding many companies back.

write podcast e23

The Write Podcast, E23: Content Marketing Yesterday & Today, A Look Back & 2 Reasons Why Brands Miss Out on Content Opportunities with Joe Pulizzi

  • 2:20 – 5:20: How Joe Got Started in Content Marketing. Originally, Joe worked in insurance but had an active interest in investing. This took him to, where he eventually worked as the Investment Club Editor. Later, Joe began working for Penton Media and would go on to run their media department. This is where Joe became interested in content marketing as an approach.
  • 5:30 – 7:30: The History of Content Marketing. Joe and Julia briefly discuss the history of content marketing. While many people think of content marketing as being a new field, Joe mentioned that it actually goes back hundreds of years. One prime example is Ben Franklin using Poor Richard’s Almanac to help sell printing services.
  • 8:27 – 13:05: What Is Content Marketing? Joe may have popularized the term, “content marketing”, but it was actually used throughout the 90s, albeit inconsistently. Alternative terms included: “branded content”, “custom publishing”, and “custom media.” However, content marketing resonated best with marketers (though Brian Clark from Copyblogger never liked it).
  • 11:11 – 15:45: How Can You Stand Out from the Competition? Most companies don’t have a strategy to begin with. There’s no differentiation. Everything looks the same. The goal needs to be covering a specific topic in an in-depth way with expert information so you’re actually delivering value.
  • 15:55 – 17:00: Killing Marketing. Joe talks about his book, Killing Marketing. It describes 10 different ways to derive revenue from marketing and how to overhaul your entire business plan based on your marketing goals.
  • 18:33 – 18:50: The Most Important Marketing Goal. Joe reiterates the two biggest issues for brands of every size: are you telling a differentiated story and are you consistently delivering on your content promise?

Favorite Quotes to Tweet

'Where most people are struggling is they don’t have a strategy.' @JoePulizzi Click To Tweet 'There are case studies that go back 300 years for content marketing. We just never looked at it that way.' @JoePulizzi Click To Tweet 'There are no technology barriers to content marketing entry anymore.' @JoePulizzi Click To Tweet 'You really do have to create valuable, relevant, and differentiated stories.' @JoePulizzi Click To Tweet 'You can’t target more than one audience.' @JoePulizzi Click To Tweet 'Ask yourself: Can you be the leading informational expert on that topic?' @JoePulizzi Click To Tweet 'Look at your marketing department as something that can be your entire business model.' @JoePulizzi Click To Tweet 'Six months isn’t enough time to build a loyal relationship.' @JoePulizzi Click To Tweet

Links Mentioned

Subscribe, follow and listen to the Write Podcast!

write podcast cta

why your content marketing is failing

3 Reasons Why Your Content Marketing is Failing

Does the following sound familiar?

  • Send out a newsletter,
  • Update your social media,
  • Check search engine rankings,
  • Try to engage with your audience and respond when needed,
  • Put some effort into blogging.

Is it getting you somewhere?

Or do you fit the more common mold: unhappy, the results aren’t what you had hoped, and it’s A LOT of work to get all of this done. It should be easier than this, right? Shouldn’t the product, as amazing and worthwhile as it is, sell itself?

Unfortunately, this scenario happens a lot in content marketing.

We hate to break it to you, but it’s kind of like paying for McDonald’s and expecting Panera – or P.F. Chang’s.

why your content marketing could be failing

Why Your Content Marketing is Failing: You’re Not Doing Anything Different

What is your favorite fast food joint?

Before you go touting your love of all things organic and kale-based (I’m a clean food freak, myself) – keep in mind that fast food restaurants in America serve millions of customers every day, even while we claim to understand the health benefits of all things green.

So why do those greasy, salty chains still do so well? Why are seven out of the top ten chains marked by fried food, calorie-laden sodas, and “unclean” food?

qsr magazine

Graphic from QSRMagazine

Because somewhere along the way, they set themselves apart and became different from the competition – and made a permanent impression upon their target audience’s mind.

When it comes to content marketing, you get what you put into it.

There’s a reason your content marketing efforts are producing Happy Meal-sized results when what you really want to serve is a delicious, home-cooked meal with a side of conversions and authentic engagement.

[clickToTweet tweet=”If you’re not doing anything different than the competition, you’re not going to stand out. @JuliaEMcCoy” quote=”If you’re not doing anything different than the competition, you’re not going to stand out. @JuliaEMcCoy”]

The good news?

You can change that, and we’re here to help you. Ready to chew on it?

Creating Compelling Content By Using the Right Approach

Joe Pulizzi reminds us at CMI that what we are creating must be valuable, useful, compelling, and different.

This means we have to step aside from the time we spend worrying about the process and approaches to content creation and move toward being more concerned with the actual content we create and the difference it makes for our audience.

Which means it actually has to make a difference.

Why post to social media? Why send out a newsletter? Why should your readers step away from their fried greasy plate over to your buffet of deliciousness and take a bite?

After all, there is a fast food joint on every corner.

There are 300 hundred hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute in addition to over 4 million Facebook “likes” and 347,222 Tweets.

CM Failing 2

Graphic from Contently

So – what’s so great about you?

3 Ways to Take Your Content Marketing from Greasy to Great

Our content marketing is failing not because we aren’t trying, but because we all look the same. There are some ways to change that and take your content from greasy, drive-thru fare to take-a-seat, dive in greatness of the finest of meals.

Are you ready to begin creating quality content with the maximum amount of engagement?

1. Be okay with changing course & diving deeper

No one likes to be in pain, but changing course and diving deeper usually means pain:

  • More investment/money
  • More time on your part
  • More hassle

But there is good news! This effort and time will give your content marketing so much more of a return on investment. Have you always done a blog post, social media post, and e-newsletter, right on time? Switch it up and do a podcast, experiment with Facebook Live, or move toward something more interactive.

It’s okay to pass up that burger place and keep driving for something more satisfying.

This is the number #1 trait that goaded me to work harder and achieve greater results since early 2016. Before that, I was a mediocre blogger. But today – I care.

Check out the case study I wrote last year on where we’re at: and for an example of a “more time/investment” post, check out the big spend infographic we did. Content like that isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it. Don’t do anything less.

2. Turn your focus back to your audience

Are you confident in the voice you are developing as an authority in your field? This requires effort on your part and takes some investment in understanding the readers and staying current on the content you are offering.


One way to turn the focus back on the audience – where it belongs – is to create a list of the biggest and best blogs in the niche you are in, and then analyzing the good, the bad, and the ugly.

No matter the subject matter, if it isn’t different, the audience won’t care. They will keep looking until they find the relevant and interesting solutions for their needs.

Remember that you aren’t writing to the whole world.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Find your niche, get to know it, and write/publish/create for the people in it. @JuliaEMcCoy” quote=”Find your niche, get to know it, and write/publish/create for the people in it. @JuliaEMcCoy”]

3. Use only the best tools

Let’s say you are looking to market your new business, which sells custom-made home décor. Besides the obvious competition from the big names, you have a host of smaller shops on sites like Etsy that will be selling similar products as your own.

How do you even begin to market to your audience and set your brand apart from the others? Here are a few tools we love.

  • Quora: This collaborative information-sharing and learning site connects the information needs of real humans (your target audience) with solutions provided by real people (you).
  • Answer the Public: This site finds and maps keyword suggestions and predictions that users see when they search on Google. Here, you can find out what questions your customers will have by way of a free report.
  • KW Finder: When you’re ready to research keywords and get the best bang for your buck, KW Finder gives you exact search volume data for your needs. The process is simplified and your results are a helpful way to find out which keywords to use based on the competition.
  • BuzzSumo: This powerful online tool lets any user find out what content is most popular by topic or by website. Quickly identify what content works well in a given industry and who the major influencers are. See a more extensive guide I wrote on BuzzSumo, here.

Boost Your Content Presence & Never Worry Why Your Content Marketing is Failing Again

The question now becomes, what are you going to do differently?

How can you change course, focus on the audience, and use effective tools for maximum impact?

You don’t have to be average, or settle for that – in any shape or form. There are so many ways to be different, so many ways to stand out and let your brand authenticity through.

Dare to be different – I dare you! 😉

cta great copy

building your audience

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Inc.: Strategies on Building Your Audience First with Joe Pulizzi

Did you miss #ContentWritingChat this week? There’s no need to worry because we have a recap that’s jam-packed with amazing tips! Let’s dive right in!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Content Inc.: Strategies on Building Your Audience First with Joe Pulizzi

Our guest host this week was none other than Joe Pulizzi! Joe is person who coined the term content marketing, and the founder of Content Marketing Institute. He’s also a speaker and an author on content marketing. He shared some amazing tips during our chat all about building your audience online.

Q1: How can content help you build your online brand or presence?

You probably hear others talk about the importance of content all the time, but how exactly does it help you build your brand? Let’s break it down:

The first thing to keep in mind is this piece of advice Joe offered. Content for content’s sake won’t do anything for your brand. You shouldn’t just create because that’s what you’re supposed to do. The content you publish should add value and serve a purpose within your brand. Remember that!

Joe’s next piece of advice is to find a niche that you can be the leading resource/expert for. It’s important that you show your audience that you know your stuff to help build trust with them.

Content can be what helps your company stand out from the rest. It’s also a great way to connect with your audience and establish a level of trust with them.

The content you create can lend itself to establishing you as a thought leader in your field. You just need to make sure you’re generating original and thought-provoking content. Great answer, Katie!

As Maureen said, content can also help build your presence through SEO. Focus on answering the questions your audience has and providing value to them. It helps to build trust and shows your expertise.

Malayna knows great content can help you grow relationships with your audience, which is crucial for your success.

Edanry summed it all up with his answer. Content helps build SEO while developing a framework for authority, expertise, and trustworthiness.

Q2: What do you need to know about your audience in order to create content they’ll love?

Now that you know why great content is so important, you need to understand your audience in order to create content that appeals to them. Here’s what you need to know about your audience:

What keeps your audience up at night? Where do they hang out online? Who do they trust? Who are your attention competitors? Joe recommends answering these questions to get to know your audience even better.

Many people from Tuesday’s chat agreed on this one! You need to know the pain points of your audience. What problems do they have? Create content that solves those issues for them.

Jenn said you need to know who they are, where they are, and what they’re all about. Knowing your audience is really the foundation of creating content.

Jessie said that once you know your audience and where they are, you can tailor your content to speak directly to them.

Once you know what your audience wants, make sure you create top-notch content that provides them with the answers they’re looking for. Your audience expects the best and they deserve it.

Q3: Which content formats should you create for your audience?

There are a lot of content formats you can choose from, which can make it tricky to figure out which one you should pursue. To help, keep these tips in mind:

As Joe said, any content format can work. He recommends choosing one and sticking to it. When you can do that one thing really well, it’s going to help you stand out from the crowd.

Tim’s advice is to consider what your audience likes the most. You want to choose a format that will resonate with them. If you aren’t sure, ask them what they’d like to see.

You also want to choose content formats that are enjoyable for you to create. For example, if you just aren’t comfortable in front of the camera and you feel awkward no matter how much you practice, don’t force yourself to do video. Choose content formats that feel good to you and show off your strengths.

Amalia shared some great content formats to try: video, podcasts, infographics, images, and written articles. Try creating these to see what feels right to you and what your audience enjoys.

A friendly reminder from David: don’t forget to repurpose your content. Don’t let the content in your archives go to waste. Find ways to repurpose it and bring new life to it.

Q4: How can you build your audience organically through consistent content creation?

If you’re ready to start building your audience through your content, keep these tips in mind:

Joe said the two drivers to building an audience are valuable, target content and consistent delivery.

Listen to the needs of your audience and serve them through the content you create. They’ll love you for it.

Make sure you’re consistently producing quality content to keep your audience coming back for more. Building that audience won’t happen overnight, so you have to keep at it.

That’s a great way to look at it, Bill!

Don’t forget to actually engage with your audience while doing all of that creating. Take the time to truly connect with them.

Q5: What are ways to use social media to grow your audience?

Social media is a great tool to grow your audience and connect with them. However, if you aren’t sure how to do that, the whole process can feel a little overwhelming. Here’s what you need to know:

Joe recommends building influencer relationships. Help them spread the word about their content and build a level of trust.

Josh said to join communities on social media. Use them as an opportunity to listen, learn, and help people.

The key is to figure out where your audience is on social media and be present there. Make sure you’re engaging with them.

As Liliana said, social media can amplify your reach and get you exposure in front of new audiences.

Make sure you share your brand’s personality. Allow people to see the person behind the logo. Giving followers a behind-the-scenes look is always great.

Tim agrees with showing your personality. It helps your audience build a stronger connection with you.

Jessie recommends trying Facebook ads as a way to expand your reach. You can also add hashtags on Twitter and Instagram to get your content in front of new people.

Don’t forget Twitter chats are a great way to build your audience.

As Zala said, social media provides communication channels that allow you to connect with your audience. You’re able to nurture your relationships this way.

Q6: How important is it to build the Know, Like, and Trust Factor with your audience?

How important is that KLT Factor? Here’s what some people from Tuesday’s chat had to say about it:

When people know, like, and trust you, they’ll be more likely to buy from you. Joe also said you don’t have to be liked by everyone. You just need your people to like you.

Quite a few people during the chat agreed. It’s hard to make a sale without first establishing trust.

This is a great way to view it, Maureen! Buyers won’t marry you on the first date. You have to woo them first.

Julia has heard something similar to what Maureen said. It all goes back to wooing your audience first.

You’re competing with a lot of other content creators out there. If you build trust with your audience, they’ll come to you first.

Building trust won’t happen overnight either. It takes time and effort.

Consistency and trust go hand-in-hand.

Q7: How can you measure which pieces of content your audience is responding to?

Once you’ve published your content, you want to make sure it’s working. Here’s how to find out:

Joe recommends focusing on what keeps subscribers and gets new ones.

Start by setting goals for your content so you know what you hope to achieve. Knowing this information will help you see what you need to measure and track. Google Analytics is always a great tool to use.

Julia said to measure conversations, real interest, leads, and revenue. That will show you whether or not you’re seeing results.

Don’t forget to check your analytics and social insights. Jessie likes to use Sprout Social for this.

Track engagement on social media, as well as comments, clicks, conversions, and sales.

Look at your open rates, engagement rates, downloads, site stats, and more.

Use Google Analytics to track clicks and conversions.

David knows email opt-ins are another great metric to track.

Q8: What tools can help you grow your audience?

Which tools can be a big help when trying to grow your audience? Give these suggestions a shot:

Joe said to start with analytics and an email tool. If you don’t have an audience already, be prepared to spend some money to grow.

David suggested having effective opt-ins on your site in order to land more email subscribers.

Julia is a big fan of Drift, SEMrush, Keyword Finder, and ConvertKit.

This is a great list of tools from the Legacy Consulting team!

Nicholas relies on Hootsuite and has been focused on video content.

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM CDT for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

Need great content to fuel your online presence? Visit our Content Shop today!