So, I was going to start off talking about how Joe and Content Marketing are so this and that…

But, then I found this write up on Joe from my friend Barry Feldman of Feldman Creative and it just blew anything I had out of the water…

Joe PulizziJoe Pulizzi is the king (or Godfather) of content marketing. He wrote the books, blogs, keynotes, webinars, annual surveys and manifesto on content marketing. It’s a complete mystery to me how Joe finds the time to travel the world as the ambassador of content marketing.

- from Content Marketing Minds: Ten Brilliant Marketing Minds, One Mindset by Barry Feldman

Joe Pulizzi is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute. He also created Content Marketing World, an annual conference on all things content.

There has been a lot of debate around content marketing lately and the idea of “content shock.” I decided, let’s go to the source and see what he thinks.

So, let’s see what Joe thinks…

Question One – Content Marketing and Content Shock

There’s been a lot of buzz lately around the concept of “Content Shock” stemming from Mark Schaefer’s blog post of the same name. You had weighed in as well as many other content marketing experts.

That said, all of this might be a little overwhelming for the average marketing professional, especially considering some are just learning about Content Marketing for the first time.

What would you tell these people about Content Marketing in the wake of this recent debate?

Consumers have been overwhelmed with a mass amount of information for some time. The good news is that there are no barriers for businesses to publish and there are multiple ways where consumers can find niche, helpful information.

So, it’s possible to get and keep the attention of your customers, but it’s not easy.

My recommendation is this – focus on a key informational area that you can be the leading expert in the world. This will be a cross between what you know as a business and what your customers need to know.

Then consistently publish content focusing on one channel. That could be a blog, a newsletter, a podcast series, an eBook program. Your goal is to build an audience.

It takes time…but there is a great opportunity for all businesses today.

Question Two – Native Advertising

OK, with that out of the way… let’s discuss Native Advertising. To me, native advertising doesn’t seem all that new. But, to many, I would think it could be a somewhat frightening concept. What do you think small businesses need to know about native advertising.

Sponsored content and advertorials have been around for a long time. The difference today is that native advertising is truly a part of the content stream, like what we see in Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn advertising.

So basically, you are promoting your content as advertising, in a way that doesn’t distract the audience.

What I like about this for small businesses is that this can be a great rent-to-own strategy. If you haven’t built an engaged audience yet, you have to get your content out there in a way that will ultimately build an audience.

So, your goal should be to direct people you are advertising to with native ads, and drive them to amazing information that they would want to subscribe to.

Question Three – Mobile Content Marketing

We work with a lot of clients on various mobile solutions for their marketing and communications efforts. How have you seen mobile affecting content marketing? How do you think mobile will play into content marketing’s future?

It’s simple…the majority of content in the future will be engaged with on a mobile device. Since that’s the case, your goal right now is to make sure that your content is responsive.

This means that wherever your customers are engaging with your content, it fits the platform. Do a check and make sure your newsletters, blog posts, and website content are all responsive.

It may make sense to actually build the content programs you launch with mobile as the primary channel.

Question Four – Social Media and Content Marketing

Social media has completely changed the online marketing landscape. I also think it’s contributed to the amount of content we see created on a daily basis. What do you think the future of social content creation will look like?

Humans are social. We inherently like to tell stories and share. Now we have some amazing tools that help us do that.

I believe every day we will have a new and interesting channel in which to tell stories. My recomonmendation is to focus on a few channels that you can master, instead of being a jack of all trades.

I believe in 2014, less is more. Build your audience using the channels that mean the most to you, and forget the rest.

Question Five – Content Marketing World, Kevin Spacey, and the Future of Media

So, congrats on getting Kevin Spacey as your keynote this year at Content Marketing World. To me, this makes so much sense considering what a champion he’s been for content marketing and the importance of creating original content. In what ways can small businesses learn from the changes in “TV” with shows like House of Cards on Netflix and Alpha House on Amazon?

As Kevin Spacey has been saying in his interviews and keynotes, “consumers are desperate for stories”. I think that’s amazing.

We have all this content on the planet and our customers are still desperate for stories that will make an impact on their lives. Every company, large and small, is running to this opportunity.

What can small businesses do? Focus on one key area that you can be the leading informational provider for your niche. Go super niche.

Once you identify a niche content area, go as small as you possibly can until you believe that you, indeed, could be the world’s leading expert in that area.

Bonus – Orange You Glad I Asked?

So, I’m sure you get this all the time, but what’s with all the orange?

Joe Pulizzi in Orange Suit

When I first started to do keynote speeches, I wore the color orange…usually an orange shirt. It was our company color so that made sense.

After about 5 or 6 speeches, I was hired to do a keynote in Brussels, Belgium, where they asked me to wear all black with a silver tie. Of course, this was fine with me.

After the speech, multiple people AT the event in Brussels and many on social media asked me where the orange was. I had no idea that I branded myself with that color.

I immediately thought that this could be a differentiator for our company. From that moment on, I went over the deep end in wearing orange…shoes, shirts, suits, pocket squares…everything.

People now identify the company by the color, and I usually get some kind of orange gift in the mail every few weeks.

Lesson – whatever you can do to differentiate yourself, do it.

Jon-Mikel Bailey - Before co-founding Wood Street in 2002, Jon worked in sales, marketing and business development for technology and marketing firms. A popular speaker, he gives seminars on marketing, internet marketing, branding and web design to chambers of commerce, trade associations and colleges. He has a BFA in Photography from Frostburg State University and still shoots photos for Wood Street clients.

5 Responses to “5 Questions with Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute
  • Great interview. I had always wondered about the Orange : )

    • Thanks Mark! I’m glad I was able to shed some more light on the orange man.

  • As to content shock.. while I don’t agree with all of Mark’s perspective, I also can’t see Joe’s response as realistic “…focus on a key informational area that you can be the leading expert in the world.” Hmmm… chances are slim that you and I are going to get edged out in that sort of competition… I think it takes more than time. I think it takes money, now more than ever. Content has a wonderful role as part of a new marketing mix, driven as ever in large part by paid distribution… but it’s no longer the wide open playing field with low barriers to entry and low-hanging audience fruit.

    • Great point Chuck, thanks for coming in.

  • As to content shock… while I don’t completely agree with Mark’s perspective, neither do I think that Joe has a realistic response when he counsels “… focus on a key informational area that you can be the leading expert in the world.” By his own definiton, that’ll work for one leader per informational area. And I think it takes more than time. Now it takes money, now more than ever. Content has a wonderful role – particularly in building a stronger, more trust-centered brand/consumer relationship – as part of a new marketing mix, driven as ever in large part by paid distribution… but it’s no longer the wide open playing field with low barriers to entry and low-hanging, “free” audience fruit.

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