In today’s #ChampLifeSeries I am excited to have the “God Father” of Content himself Joe Pulizzi with me. Content serves as the baseline for any marketing campaign and Joe was among the very first pioneers who introduced the concept of content marketing. He has been an author of best-selling books like Content Inc. and Epic Content Marketing. The best part is he has gained recognition for his work from the big giants like Fortune Magazine and the Content Council. Aside from his journey as an author Joe is also the Founder of many startups including The Tilt and Content Marketing Institute.
So without further ado, let’s start.
Fahad: Hi Joe, thank you for being a part of our Champ Life Series. Starting off with our first question, How did you get started as an author? What was your inspiration behind writing your first book?
Joe: Like many people, I’d always wanted to write a book. But when I left corporate life and launched a business, I knew how important a book would be: to show expertise and credibility, to help launch my speaking career, and to become the center of the business.
I believed that a physical book, in tandem with a website and speaking, could carry the success of the business. It took a couple of years but it worked out.
Fahad: What led you to start The Tilt, how’s it helping turn content creators into content entrepreneurs?
Joe: To be honest, it was COVID-19. I was planning on writing another novel, but I started getting DMs and emails from a number of people about my 2015 book Content Inc. It seemed there was renewed enthusiasm around turning content creation into a business.
First I decided to update the Content Inc. book, which came out in May of 2021, but I thought I could do more. At the same time, I began to learn about Web3 and launched a social token ($TILT coin) in March 2021. A month later, TheTilt.com was born, which started as just an educational newsletter.
There are plenty of resources out there for content creators, but not many on how to really turn your content into a real business. That is what we focus on at The Tilt.
Fahad: How should one go around creating a content marketing strategy for his brand?
Joe: Just follow the model that’s been successful (the Content Inc. model):
- Find your sweet spot – the intersection of your expertise area and your audience’s desire
- Identify your content tilt – what is your hook? What is your differentiation area? Why should people care?
- Build the base – start by delivering on one platform.
- Audience building – leverage SEO and social media to attract and grow subscribers.
- Revenue – start identifying one of the 10 ways you can create revenue opportunities.
- Diversify – once you’ve built your base, diversify into new channels every nine to 12 months or so.
- Sell or go big – Figure out how big you want this thing to be.
Fahad: How can one analyze the gaps in his content marketing strategy?
Joe: Talk to customers and open up your listening posts. The more we understand what our customers’ needs are the better we can perform. Then pick a few areas to continually document your progress and how to improve. This could be through search engine optimization, subscriber growth, or social metrics.
If you stay close to your customers they will tell you what they need to help them do their jobs better, or live more satisfying lives. Just set up the ongoing processes to take in that data.
Fahad: What are your thoughts on the evolution of content marketing? How has it changed over the years?
Joe: Let’s just talk about the last thirty or so. Content marketing came from the magazine industry. Many companies decided to create custom, targeted magazines (called custom publishing) as loyalty vehicles. When the Internet arrived, it became clear that any company with any budget could attract and retain an audience, and doing so could be at the core of their ongoing marketing. Basically, those who created loyal audiences had a clear competitive advantage.
Today, every innovative company is investing massively in all sorts of content creation. Those that are focused and consistent do the best.
Fahad: How should a business or brand align its content marketing with its business goals?
Joe: Every content marketing initiative has a reason to exist. Hopefully, that’s based on a sound business goal. Since it’s marketing, we need to identify our hypothesis, or what type of behavior change we are trying to see with our audience. From there, the best method is to create one amazing thing – a newsletter, a podcast, an event…that delivers valuable and relevant content to your audience over time. If the program is working, you’ll start to see that behavior change.
Fahad: We would love to know more about your foundation The Orange Effect, what’s it about and how is it helping the community?
Joe: While there are many wonderful organizations that focus on autism and research into speech disorders, there are very few that focus on providing grants to children who desperately need consistent speech therapy or equipment.
That’s what Orange Effect Foundation (OEF) does. Simply put, OEF makes sure children with speech disorders receive the speech therapy and technology equipment they need…especially when the children’s family doesn’t have the financial means.
We help support over 250 children in 34 states through the generous grants and fundraising of many.
Fahad: How necessary are marketing automation tools when it comes to distributing your content online?
Joe: New technology is great, but if the plan is broken no amount of automation will help. Also, most companies pay for way more than they ever use. My take is this: use minimal technology until it becomes painful, then pay for the software.
Fahad: You are the source of inspiration for many of us, Including me. 🙂 Who’s your most favorite inspiring personality?
Joe: Thank you!
Seth Godin was huge for me starting my business (the Bootstrapper’s Bible). And I have a number of friends in the business that have inspired me, like Robert Rose, Ann Handley, Marcus Sheridan, Andrew Davis, and more.
But most of all, I derive my motivation from my wife and two kids. They are all the personalities I need 😉
Fahad: Stepping aside from work, how do you enjoy your free time? Any particular activity that might fascinate our readers.
Joe: I love to travel with my wife (hopefully more now after COVID-19). I love to golf and run three to four times a week. I also love to read mystery and science fiction novels.
Fahad: Please share some pro-tips for people who are starting their journey as content creators.
Joe: Focus on one niche audience and deliver one amazing thing to them consistently over time. That model won’t fail you…you just need patience.
Fahad: Now it’s time for our rapid-fire round.
Rapid Fire Round
|Organic reach or Paid reach||Organic|
|Copywriting or Content writing||Can I say editing?|
|Your favorite social media platform?|
|Your favorite travel destination?||too hard to say…I’ll take a cruise just about anywhere. If you made me choose, I would say Sydney, Australia.|
Thank you, Joe, for your valuable time and for sharing your experience with our audience. 🙂