Ask the Expert: Joe Pulizzi on Building a Business through Content Marketing

January 28, 2016

Joe Pulizzi Content Marketing

Editor’s note: This week we’re honoring one of our all-time favorite marketers. It’s Joe Pulizzi Week on the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog. Take a look at Joe’s new book, Content Inc., and stay tuned for a collection of Joe’s greatest content marketing hits.

Seven years ago, Joe Pulizzi founded the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) to set the standards and best practices for content marketing. CMI redefined the established practice of marketing through content for the digital age. Then they set about training businesses to make their content marketing purposeful, meaningful, and strategic.

Last year, Joe published Content Inc. and re-re-defined content marketing. Instead of using content to promote an established business, the Content Inc. model builds a business content-first, attracting and then monetizing an audience with stellar content. It seems like a radical idea. But as Content Inc. shows, it’s one that works for businesses across industries.

Joe is a bona fide thought leader, a tireless innovator, and a genuinely nice guy. I’m grateful he was able to lend us his time for the following Q&A. Read on for Joe’s thoughts on starting a content program, how content marketing has evolved, and why a good content marketer might not come from a marketing background.

Q&A with Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute

LinkedIn: If you were starting a content marketing program from scratch, where would you begin?

Joe Pulizzi: I would focus on one key content type (audio, textual, visual), one key platform (blog/website, iTunes, Twitter) and consistently deliver content over time. Focus on a defined niche and a well-defined audience where you can present yourself as the leading expert in that niche.

LinkedIn: In your eyes, what is the biggest difference between content marketing five years ago and today?

Joe Pulizzi: Five years ago, most everything was experimentation and campaigns.  Although this is still the case, more organizations are defining a real, integrated content marketing strategy and approach as a key part of their marketing process.  In other words, this is serious business.  At the same time, some, who started off with lackluster results have become disenchanted and need to take a fresh look at the approach.

LinkedIn: What is the #1 attribute to look for when hiring a content marketer?

Joe Pulizzi: Attitude is always number one.  Are they a fit within the organization's culture?  Second, do they understand the practice of publishing and building an audience over time?  I prefer to work with people who have worked in publishing and media over marketers in general.

LinkedIn: What brand has most impressed you with its content strategy and execution?

Joe Pulizzi: I love what Jyske Bank has done in Denmark, building Jyskebank.tv.  They've been able to move from pure advertising into building an audience and asset that has positioned Jyske as a clear industry leader and a brand worth talking about.

LinkedIn: Where did the “Godfather of Content” come from?

Joe Pulizzi: Ha...a couple blog posts started to refer to me in that way about five years ago.  At first, I thought it was just funny.  Then, we (at CMI) started to play into it and at the start of Content Marketing World 2012 I was introduced that way in my opening keynote.  We just "leaned" into it.  Whatever works, right?

I’d like to thank Joe for sharing his knowledge and experience with us in this post and throughout Joe Pulizzi week. For more great insight from the Man in Orange, make sure to pick up Content Inc., and visit the Content Marketing Institute online.

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