Guest blog post provided by Joe Pulizzi, who’s newest book “Epic Content Marketing” was recently featured in the Hayzlett Book Club.
My latest book, Epic Content Marketing, was released just a few months ago. Naturally, I’ve been asked by marketers a number of times, “What exactly is Epic Content Marketing?”
To start, you need to be honest about the content you have. Most likely, your organization has plenty of feature and benefit related content. The majority of brands have become very adept at talking about themselves. We clearly don’t need more of that kind of content, especially when that type of information is only needed at a very small portion of the buyer’s journey. What you lack are stories that engage your customers…and move your customers and/or prospects to take action.
Now, before we review the principles of epic content marketing, remember that our goal with content is to “move” the customer in some way. We need to positively affect them, engage them and do whatever we must to help stay involved in their lives and their conversations.
- Fills a Need – Your content should answer some unmet need or question for your customer. It needs to be useful in some way to the customer, over and above what you can offer as a product or service. In some cases, it may fill an emotional need (like Coca-Cola’s content tries to do, or even Red Bull’s storytelling).
- Consistent – The great hallmark of a successful publisher is consistency. Whether you subscribe to a monthly magazine or daily email newsletter, the content is always delivered on-time and as expected. This is where so many companies fall down. Whatever you commit to in your content marketing, you must consistently deliver.
- Be Human (Find Your Voice) –The benefits of not being a journalistic entity is that you have nothing to hold you back from being…well…you. Find what you voice is and share it. If your company’s story is all about humor, share that. If it’s a bit sarcastic, that’s okay too.
- Has a Point of View – This is not encyclopedia content. You are not giving a history report. Don’t be afraid to take sides on matters that can position you and your company as an expert.
Chipotle’s runaway viral hit The Scarecrow clearly has a point of view – that locally sourced and responsibly-produced food is, well, superior to how most food is processed today. Don’t be afraid to take a stance.
- Far Removed from Sales Speak – When we create a piece of content that is about us (Content Marketing Institute) versus an educational post, it only garners 25% of the regular amount of page views and social shares. That point is, the more you talk about yourself, the less people will share and spread your story. It’s that simple.
- Best of Breed – Although you might not be able to reach this goal at the very beginning, the ultimate goal for your content is that it needs to be best of breed. This means that, for your content niche, what you are distributing is the very best of what is found and is available. I know this may sound overly simplified, but if you expect your customers to spend time with your content, you must deliver them amazing value.
Take some time and look at your content marketing strategy. How many of the six principles are you hitting?
Epic Content Marketing in Action
Think about the content sources that you rely on every day. What makes them so special? Do they provide information that you can’t find anywhere else? Is it consistently delivered around the same day and time? Is there a particular point of view that you appreciate? Does it help you live a better life or grow at your career?
There are a number of content sources that I have “subscribed” to that have become part of my life:
- Inc. magazine (a media company) – I actually get excited when this print publication comes in the mail. Monthly frequency.
- Seth Godin’s daily blog posts (an author). Daily frequency.
- Quarterly Reports from Fisher Investments (an investment firm). Quarterly frequency.
- Copyblogger Media daily posts (a software company). Daily frequency.
As a business, your goal is to become part of the content fabric for your customers. If you do, selling to them becomes relatively easy. What’s interesting about the above examples, I’ve purchased multiple products from all of the companies above, even though they give away so much value for free. That’s exactly what you need to do with your content marketing. The good news is that we can all be epic – if we follow these six principles. Good luck!
This post was adapted from Joe Pulizzi’s third book, Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less, just released in September, 2013. Epic Content Marketing takes business owners and marketers A-to-Z toward creating a content marketing strategy that works to grow the business. Joe is also founder of Content Marketing Institute, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. You can find Joe on Twitter @JoePulizzi. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange.