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How to Turn Marketing Costs Into Profit

Marketing Podcast with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose
Podcast Transcript

Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose

Most of the success stories in business marketing circles these days involve product and service companies thinking and acting like media companies.

My guests for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast are Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, and Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Advisor of Content Marketing Institute. They are also the authors of Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses are Turning Marketing Cost into Profit. We discuss this topic and how to get businesses to think differently about everything they are doing in their marketing efforts.

Pulizzi is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council.  He’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing MarketingHis third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange.

Rose’s first book, Managing Content Marketing, spent two weeks as a top ten marketing book on Amazon.com and is generally considered to be the “owners manual” of the Content Marketing process. Robert is also the co-host, along with Pulizzi, of the podcast PNR’s This Old Marketing, the #1 podcast as reviewed by MarketingPodcasts.com. Rose innovates creative and technical strategies for a wide variety of clientele. He’s helped large companies such as AT&T, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Petco, Caterpillar, ADP, Fairchild Semiconductor and KPMG tell their story more effectively using digital content strategies.

Questions I ask Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose:

  • Does the book discuss the next evolution of content marketing?
  • Will the approach to marketing discussed in the book kill the marketing department?
  • What companies are good examples of using this approach?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How to make marketing a profitable part of the business
  • Why building a loyal audience is key to transforming a business
  • Why marketing can not only be an investment, but a profit center

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

1 How to Build Your Business on Content

 

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Marketing Podcast with Joe Pulizzi

Content is no longer a nice form of marketing, it’s the air that guides the customer journey, or, in some cases, it’s a business model.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Joe Pulizzi, founder and CEO of the Content Marketing Institute and the author of the new book Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses. We discuss content marketing strategy and what it can mean for you and your business. 

Questions I ask Joe:

  • Is there still an opportunity to be successful in content marketing?
  • How do you make money in the initial stages of a content campaign?
  • What is the “Content Tilt?”

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why some businesses that try content marketing fail.
  • How email strategy is the key to a successful content marketing campaign.
  • Why you should build a following before developing a product.

Content As a Business Model

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 8.07.43 AMMarketing Podcast with Joe Pulizzi

We’ve been extolling the virtues of content marketing here at Duct Tape Marketing since before we really had terms like content marketing or inbound marketing. Not because I’m so smart I saw all of this coming in my crystal ball – because it was pretty obvious early on that people wanted content – they wanted to know how to do things.

Look around today and you’ll find numerous brands such as Copyblogger, Social Media Examiner and Mashable built first and foremost on content and only after a community coalesced did they find a way to monetize what the community demanded.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Joe Pulizzi, founder and CEO of the Content Marketing Institute and the author of the new book Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses. We discuss content marketing strategy and what it can mean for you and your business. 

the Content Marketing Institute is a Content Inc business. Naturally, they are all about content, but the business formed only because they were able to attract a large and loyal following that wanted to start paying for events and consulting.

Content Inc is a must read. As I state in the interview with Pulizzi one of my favorite things about the book is the appendices where they outline step by step how they produce and amplify content.

Questions I ask Joe:

  • Is there still an opportunity to be successful in content marketing?
  • How do you make money in the initial stages of a content campaign?
  • What is the “Content Tilt?”

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why some businesses that try content marketing fail.
  • How email strategy is the key to a successful content marketing campaign.
  • Why you should build a following before developing a product.

18 Why You Must Change Your Content Marketing Approach

Now that pretty much everyone on the planet gets the importance of content marketing it’s time to throw a wrench in the works. To remain effective with your content marketing efforts you must constantly evaluate, change and evolve!

I know you may not want to hear that, but content only provides value when it’s useful and the consumer always determines what useful looks like. As more and more content marketers experiment with content form, length, frequency, mode, delivery, and style the consumer pallet for content continues to mature and evolve and you must do so with it. content marketing

I’ve been participating in content marketing for about fifteen years now, long before we called it that, but I’ve always tried to stay in touch with the wants and needs of the reader.

My first efforts were articles placed in directories and shared in an ezine. (How’s that for some nostalgia) In 2003 I started blogging here and that’s driven a great deal of my growth for over a decade.

Over the years my email newsletter has become more of a place to filter, aggregate and share other people’s content in snack sized versions. I produced my first eBook in 2004 or so and now feature ten, including some I’ve licensed from other writers.

We now feature guest blog post two and sometimes three times a week and I contribute blog style articles to about a dozen publications on a regular basis. Social media has obviously opened new doors in terms of sharing and generating new forms of content.

I believe the future of content marketing, however, rests in our ability to evolve to a more personalized form of creation and delivery where the end reader participates in the curation and creation of the content they request from marketers.

This next step will require even more from content marketers if they are to continue to deliver value in an saturated field of more and more content. I reached out to some well-known content marketers and asked them to share how their content marketing thoughts had evolved over the last few years.

Their responses are both fascinating and informative.

Enjoy!

Online content strategy has changed over the last couple of years. The focus is still on providing value, but this has been honed even further. I see businesses being more strategic about the type of content they publish online, to build the communities they want. There’s more long term strategy in the content they produce. I see businesses blogging less often but with deeper content to create strong evergreen content relevant to their business. I see others sharing more thoughtful pieces of content to connect with the right people. A few years ago providing value might have been enough to get traction to impact your business, but it’s also very important to create the type of coherent online visibility you need to establish relationships. Combining the two is essential today. There’s just too much noise, too many people publishing the same thing. And of course you need a visual marketing strategy to go hand in hand with your written content if you want to really take advantage of social media reach today.

Cindy King
Director of Editorial
Social Media Examiner

Different people in your target audience (whomever that audience may be) have varying preferences for content format, platform, approach, etc. I always knew this to be true, but in the past two years I’ve really embraced the concept that there is no such thing as all-powerful content. No magic bullet. No reliable home runs. Consequently, I’m striving to create more and more content types native to more and more content platforms, so that there is something from me in the style and format that’s preferable to each person in my tribe. That’s why I’m doing more podcasting, videos, ebooks, slideshare and just about everything else. Instead of trying to do one thing extraordinarily well, I’m trying to do many things very good. It’s not easy, but content can’t fully succeed as the tip of the spear – you need the whole spear.

Jay Baer
Convince and Convert

In the last two years, I have changed my ideas about blogging. I used to do more video posts with tutorials but I’ve switched to posting very long text posts with a lot of screenshots as my primary blog post and then occasionally add in video posts. I’ve found that having a lot of screenshots is great for people who are scanners. Even though my video posts were usually around 3-5 minutes in length, not everyone wants to sit through them. My blog posts are typically between 1000-2000 words which is much longer than I used to write when I had written posts. I’m also focusing this year on posting 2-3 times per week on my blog rather than just 1 time per week. It doesn’t always happen but I do like when I can post more often because it allows me to post a little more variety of content. I can post one in-depth technical post about Facebook or social media, and then also post something slightly different about business motivation or more general marketing or even something more personal about my journey. I’ve found that people have really responded to my personal posts – they don’t always get the biggest amount of traffic but they definitely get the most comments and I think they are great for connecting with your readers.

Andrea Vahl

Over the last two years, I’ve attempted to add more contrast to my content. It has often been said that content is king. However, with so much content out there it can all start to blend together so I’ve been focusing on making contrast king. This way, my readers look forward to what’s coming next. There’s more anticipation and surprise and, as a result, more attention and conversation is produced.

Michael Port
Book Yourself Solid

1. Publishing on weekends – CMI now publishes posts on Saturday and Sunday, as we’ve noticed that the posts get a bit more attention with less competition on those days. 2. Audio/Podcasts – Last year, we launched our first podcast and have seen amazing results. In the anticipation of more opportunities to get access to iTunes (ala Apple CarPlay), we are in the process of launching a podcast network as part of our core content offerings. 3. More In-Person Events – A decade ago, we were under the impression that social media might lead to people less likely to travel to events. Actually, the opposite has happened. With more networking going on via the Internet, people are actually craving more in-person, face-to-face time. So over the past two years we’ve added an event in Asia Pacific, as well as five additional events in North America.

Joe Pulizzi
Content Marketing Institute

We’ve not really changed much at all with regard to our content during the course of the last couple of years. Since launching our corporate blog, we’ve always focused on just one thing: our audience. We try to write content for the blog that is informative, educational and which can help marketers (our audience) do what they do more efficiently, effectively and with fewer headaches. We try to stay on top of trends, tools, and must-know, must-consider things as marketers develop and execute their integrated marketing strategies. Much like you, we understand that relationships today are built with information, and by giving it away (information), people come to trust and rely on us as a go-to source for whatever it is they need. I use just one phrase as a barometer (and I use this when I’m on the road speaking as well): How do you know if you’re doing it right? Ask yourself just one questions: Is it good for people. If so, then you’re doing it right. I believe that applies to every facet of your content marketing and lead gen initiatives: website, landing page campaigns, blog, social, email, and is applicable both online and off.

Shelly Kramer
V3 Integrated Marketing

“At Social Media Examiner our approach to content has not fundamentally changed in the last five years with two exceptions. We still publish 1000+ word articles that are extensively edited by a team of at least 6 editors. However, the first major change is the use of images. We custom design Facebook open graph and Twitter card images for our high profile articles to help them appear better in social. This means we have a designer create a nice image with words that will compel more clicks and shares. Secondly, we have upped the frequency of our original content from six times a week to ten. This means publishing two articles per day on most days.”

Mike Stelzner
Social Media Examiner

The last two years have been a time when we’ve experimented a fair bit with our content on numerous fronts including: 1. we’ve seen our longer form content do very well so have experimented with what we internally refer to as ‘mega-posts’ that are more comprehensive guides to larger topics. These posts are generally 2000+ words (and have gone as high as over 5000 words). While this isn’t what we publish every day we’ve tried to throw them into the mix ever few weeks and have been rewarded with great sharing, traffic and comments. 2. I’ve experimented increasingly with repurposing posts in different mediums. This has included using content previously published on the blog as slideshares and republishing older posts on LinkedIn and Google+ (usually with updates). I’ve also done it around the other way by publishing content that was still in a ‘first draft’ format to LinkedIn to get reader reactions before publishing it to the blog. 3. On ProBlogger we’ve also slowed our frequency down slightly and have been experimenting with ‘themed weeks’ where we tackle a larger topic over a series of posts over 5-6 days. This means we’ve been able to dig deeper into topics and build momentum. These theme weeks have been very well received. 4. The other major change for me has been the way I’m sharing content. I’ve put a huge effort into Facebook (on Digital Photography School) where we’ve gone from auto-posing new posts to 5-6 manual updates every day. The results of this have been amazing for us – while others are seeing reduced results with Facebook we’ve seen significant improvements in our organic reach, engagement and traffic driven from Facebook.

Darren Rowse
ProBlogger

I’ve become even more convinced of the power of brevity.

Dan Pink
To Sell Is Human

I just made a change… this week! After 5+ years of writing two posts a week, I’m now publishing content every day. It wasn’t so much that I thought “more is better” — the old way was good for a while, too. But then it became stale and I felt like I wasn’t challenging myself. Just as important, I felt like I wasn’t serving my readers well. The new blog has a lot of more frequent, shorter content, as well as a new series of Reader Stories and Profiles to highlight some of the great people in the community. So far, I’m very happy with the change and I think the readers are too.

Chris Guillebeau
The Art of Non-Conformity

I tend to go to longer content in social media and shorter content in blogs and direct response. I’m not sure why other than I use stories in social media and those tend to go longer. I don’t know that I’m using content for just education about ‘how to’ — but education about who I am and how I serve, how I live and how I see the world.

Carrie Wilkerson
Barefoot Executive

I stopped sending newsletters monthly that were long and had multiple subjects to it. I found that they were not getting read. Now I send brief single subject emails weekly with very enticing titles to get open, click thrus and shares. This has resulted in much better open rates and easier content generation.

Barry Moltz
barrymoltz.com

More Long Form Content We are gravitating away from shorter more informal “blog” posts and are investing much more in creating lengthier, more authoritative articles. There’s a glut of blog content of the short style, and while it may be shared on social media widely, it also tends to have a short shelf life. Longer, more in-depth pieces on evergreen topics tend to deliver a better ROI on the investment (time or money) in an article. In other words, if you’re going to write an article, you might as well make the extra effort to make it rich in detail and fantastic! It’s not unusual for Small Business Trends to publish pieces I’ve personally written or we’ve commissioned from others, at 1,500 – 2,000 words each, several times per week. (We publish around 50 articles per week, since we are an online magazine.) We don’t have a steady diet of long pieces, but we do a greater percentage of them today than two years ago. Here is why we do more long-form content. We find that people AND search engines tend to favor well-written, in-depth pieces. For instance, Google recognizes Schema markup for in-depth articles. But even if you don’t know what Schema markup is or don’t want to bother with it, you may just find that longer content helps your site’s engagement because (a) people tend to spend more time on your site reading longer pieces stuffed with useful information; and (b) they are more likely to explore the rest of your site, not just consume a short snack and immediately go away. Also, a page with a lot of quality content on a specific topic tends to naturally rank well in search because of the sheer quantity of information for the search engine spiders. That means more people may find your article — and your site — via search. And perhaps hire you or buy from you. However, everybody has their own style, and every site is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all. I recommend that people experiment. See if long-form content works for you.

Anita Campbell
CEO and Publisher
Small Business Trends

My approach is much different now than in years past. When I first started out with my blog in 2006, I posted ten to twelve times per week, then a few years later, I brought on contributors in order to scale the blog, while I focused on writing for business media outlets. Now, I rarely publish on social networks and only write articles six times each year when I have new research I want to push out to the marketplace. Part of this is because I believe the marketplace is changing and part of this is because I burned out from posting so much. I have so much going on now that I would rather focus my content production when I need to get something out there rather than random articles.

Dan Schawbel
Author of Promote Yourself

The biggest change for me has been that there are more outlets to share my content on. Specifically I think of Instagram. In the past the only way to share what I was seeing out in the world was in a blog post. Flickr has always been around as someplace to upload photos, but that is where it ended. There was no real community. But, using Instagram I can take a photo, tag the location and then write as little or much as I want and share it out to all other channels. I love having that flexibility and functionality right in my pocket anywhere in the world. I no longer have to take out my laptop to create and share.

C.C. Chapman

“Social media has changed the way I approach the content I create. Twitter, Facebook, et al have reduced our attention spans and at the same time increased the amount of “noise” we have to wade through, in order to get to the “signal.” As a result, I am creating more visuals and making any written content more succinct. I’m using images to gain attention, graphics to convey my message, and even my new book, Repped: 30 Days to a Better Online Reputation, is just 194 pages, spread out over 30+ concise chapters. In short, less truly is more.”

Andy Beal
CEO of Trackur

I’ve changed it all. I write once a week or so for chrisbrogan.com, instead of once or twice a day. Instead, I write my newsletter once a week, and write for private communities multiple times a day. I’m sharing a peek from outside, but only the faithful gets the payload.

Chris Brogan
Publisher of Owner Magazine

So, if you’ve made it to this point why not share thoughts on how your content marketing is evolving!

5 Why Your Small Business Needs a Content Marketing Mission Statement

Thursday is guest blog post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Joe Pulizzi  – Enjoy!

Did you know that 94% of small businesses (less than 99 employees) use some form of content marketing to grow their businesses?  That’s a staggering number, and almost hard to believe.

But it’s true.  Yes, nearly every small business out there is creating blogs, articles, eBooks, white papers, newsletters and more to try to attract and retain customers. And then nearly all of those are pushing that content out in the form of tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn updates.

Here’s the bad news: just one in three believe it’s actually helping their businesses.

JJ-Small-Biz-Effectiveness-Pulizzi

Here’s why it’s not working – Most of the content you are distributing is (to be nice about it) not very helpful or entertaining.  Your customers are most likely ignoring it.  It’s clutter.  You are spending time creating it and your customers are working to avoid it.  This is a problem.

But the reason isn’t just because your content is lackluster.  The issue goes deeper.

I’ve had the privilege of speaking in front of thousands of small business owners and marketers over the past year.  Do you know how many of those people have an actual strategy when it comes to their content marketing?  Try less than 10%.  How can we be effective with our content if we have no clear idea what the content should do – both for our business and for our customers?

For you, that stops right now.

Enter the Content Marketing Mission Statement

Marketing professionals from most small businesses get so fixated on channels such as blogs, Facebook or Pinterest that they honestly have no clue of the underlying content strategy. So, the why must come before the what? This seems obvious, but most marketers have no mission statement or core strategy behind the content they develop.

Think of it this way: What if you were the leading trade magazine for your niche area? What if your goal was not to first sell products and services but to impact your readers with amazing information that would change their lives and behaviors?

Inc. magazine has its mission statement in the first line of its About Us page.

Welcome to Inc.com, the place where entrepreneurs and business owners can find useful information, advice, insights, resources and inspiration for running and growing their businesses.

Let’s dissect this a bit. Inc’s mission statement includes:

  • The core audience target: entrepreneurs and business owners
  • What will be delivered to the audience: useful information, advice, insights, resources, and inspiration
  • The outcome for the audience: growing their businesses

Inc’s mission statement is also incredibly simple and includes no words that could be misunderstood. This is our goal with the content marketing mission statement.

Before you develop any more unwanted content for your customers and prospects, you need to develop your own content marketing mission statement. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and it doesn’t have to be written on stone tablets, but you do need it to point your content ship in the right direction.

How to Use Your Content Marketing Mission Statement

Remember, content marketing is not about “what you sell” it’s about “what you stand for.” The informational needs of your customers and prospects come first. Although there must be clear marketing objectives behind the mission statement, those should not be outlined here. The Inc. mission statement doesn’t say anything about selling more advertising or paid events. To work, your mission statement has to be all about the pain points of your readers and followers or it simply won’t work. Once you consistently deliver on this promise, your customers will reward you by buying your products and services.

After you create your mission statement, do the following:

  • Post it: Include the mission statement where it can be found easily by your customers (perhaps, on your blog).
  • Spread it: Make sure everyone creating content for your organization has a copy. Encourage them to print it out and pin it up on the wall.
  • The litmus test: Use the mission statement to decide what content you will and won’t create. Often, a bad judgment in content creation can be fixed by running it by the mission statement.

Remember, your marketing goal should be to become the leading expert in your particular niche.  You can’t do that without truly epic content.  Start your journey by developing your mission. Do it now!

Pulizzi Author PhotoJoe Pulizzi is 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.  Joe’s third book, Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less takes small business owners A-to-Z toward creating a content marketing strategy that works to grow the business.  You can find Joe on Twitter @JoePulizzi. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange.

1 Tuesday Guest Stars

Here are your guest contributors for Tuesday’s edition of the Duct Tape Marketing Small Business Week iPad Giveaway.

Read each of the five posts that follow and click our entry form link to match the guest star with their post.

Brian Halligan

Brian Halligan is CEO & Co-Founder of HubSpot, a marketing software company he co-founded four years ago to help businesses transform the way they market their products by “getting found” on the internet.  He is author of two books: Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead and Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs.

Ann Handley

Ann is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, which provides strategic and tactical marketing know-how for marketing and business professionals through a full range of online media. She writes for the MarketingProfs Daily Fix and is also a contributor to The Huffington Post. She is the co-author of the best selling book – Content Rules

Joe Pulizzi

Joe writes one of most popular content marketing blogs in the world. He is the co-author of Get Content Get Customers. Joe Speaks to large and small groups on marketing, publishing, social media, new journalism, personal branding and why he always wears orange. He is also the founder of Junta42, the Content Marketing Institute, SocialTract and a few others in the works.

Brian Clark

Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media.  Brian built three successful offline businesses using online marketing techniques before switching to a producer model that involves building, monetizing, and occasionally selling online media properties. With Copyblogger Media, Brian seeks to empower online writers and content producers to command attention, create engagement, and influence people as powerful players in the new media revolution.

Janine Popick

Janine Popick is the CEO and co-founder of VerticalResponse (Inc. 5000 2006-2010), a leading self-service direct marketing provider to over 100,000 small businesses. Janine is VerticalResponse’s CEB (Chief Executive Blogger).   She is a columnist for Inc.com “Women in Business” and has been published in DM News as well featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, ClickZ, and B2B Magazine.

3 Okay, I'm Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 1

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Brian Halligan

Brian Halligan is CEO & Co-Founder of HubSpot, a marketing software company he co-founded four years ago to help businesses transform the way they market their products by “getting found” on the internet. He is author of two books: Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead and Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs.

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 1

Let’s take a step back. First and foremost, is this content you’re creating remarkable? Does it offer something valuable? The first step toward getting eyeballs to view your content is to appeal to your target audience’s wants and needs. Are you delivering your points in an interesting way that makes it enjoyable to read/watch/listen to? You can create content day-in and day-out, but if it’s no good, people won’t be coming back to you for more.

Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s take a second look at the content you’re creating. Is it optimized for search engines? Did you use the right keywords that will draw in the types of readers you’re hoping to attract? If someone conducted a search in Google using a keyword by which you want to get found, would that person come across your content? Remember: the key to making your content visible in search engines is optimizing it.

Okay, so now you’ve got remarkable content that’s been well optimized to gain some traction in search engines. Are you promoting it? How are you promoting it? Be sure to share links to your content in social media. “But I don’t have any followers,” you say? Start building a following so your content has the potential to reach as many readers as possible. Add social media sharing buttons to your blog articles so people who read and like your content can easily share it with their followers. The great thing about social media is that your content is not only limited to the eyes of your followers, but can also reach the eyes of others’ followers.

Once you’ve got all that down, keep on creating! Regular content creation is the basis for any successful inbound marketing program. If you want to continue to get found online, you need to generate a constant flow of fresh, remarkable content. The good news is: inbound marketing success is relative to the size of your brain, not the size of your wallet, so the possibilities are endless!

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

2 Okay, I'm Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 2

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Janine Popick

Janine Popick is the CEO and co-founder of VerticalResponse (Inc. 5000 2006-2010), a leading self-service direct marketing provider to over 100,000 small businesses. Janine is VerticalResponse’s CEB (Chief Executive Blogger). She is a columnist for Inc.com “Women in Business” and has been published in DM News as well featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, ClickZ, and B2B Magazine.

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 2

We say it all the time, if you don’t have something interesting to say or to sell, who the f is gonna read or buy it? For a blog, lots of comments means someone is reading and engaged; for an email, clicks means someone is interested. The more clicks and comments the better. So how do you get people engaged?

Make It Good

Here’s what makes great content:

  • Humorous stuff
  • Behind the scenes stories
  • Controversial, political & religious
  • New happenings
  • Tips & tricks, hints, lists, how-tos
  • Reviews

That’s the type of content that can draw readers in and engage them, especially if it’s relevant.

Plus, snappy headlines or email subject lines are a must! And don’t make your content too long, don’t use great big paragraphs, have easy to read fonts and bullets are key. Also, break up thoughts and subjects with subheads so your reader can scan.  This goes for anything online!

Get People TO Your Content

If you’re writing a great email newsletter and you’ve lured them in with your snappy subject line, good for you! We’ve had success when we give a “taste” of the content in the newsletter, then drive them to a site or blog for the rest of the story. This way you potentially get them to look at other content you’ve written as well.

When you create your content whether it’s in an email, blog or website, let the world know! Publish it to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And submit it to StumbleUpon and Digg at the very least.

One more thing, include the keywords that you optimize your site for. When potential readers are using search engines, you’re going to want your content as high in the rankings as possible.

Get Readers to Know YOU

The first thing I do when I get to a blog is research who the writer is. I want to know that the person behind the words has credibility and is passionate about what they write. So make sure you publish your bio somewhere on your site so your readers get to know you.

Another great way to get people to know you is to comment on other blogs.  Not only will your comment and your information be displayed, but the blogger you’re commenting on may end up following and commenting on your blog too. And if you like something you see on Twitter follow them and retweet (RT) their content. If you find content on Facebook interesting, click the Like link.

Finally, write the way you speak. Your readers want to read what you have to say so just say it and let your personality shine through!

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here

3 Okay, I'm Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read it 3

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Brian Clark

Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Brian built three successful offline businesses using online marketing techniques before switching to a producer model that involves building, monetizing, and occasionally selling online media properties. With Copyblogger Media, Brian seeks to empower online writers and content producers to command attention, create engagement, and influence people as powerful players in the new media revolution.

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 3

Ever heard the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?”

Well, when it comes to creating effective online content, it’s not what you know, it’s what you know that you can teach others.

After that, it’s right back to who you know, same as always.

People Distribute Content

If you’re creating online content, you’ve got to get the word out about it for people to share it far and wide with others. And that process starts with good old-fashioned relationships.

It’s not called social media for nothing. Beyond the creation of content itself, online content distribution begins with key relationships with others in your subject matter arena.

It’s easier to establish these relationships than ever, thanks to social networks. And since social networks are where content sharing happens, it makes sense to begin making those relationships early on.

Help to be Helped

The key is to follow and be useful to people who are also producing content in your niche. Share their content and provide meaningful comments on their blog posts.

Your next step might be to offer to guest post for them, which provides them with vital content and provides you with exposure to their audience. You’ve now just gone from anonymous to a contributor with access – and that’s the beginning of a real world relationship that drives the virtual world as well.

Don’t view those who create content on the same topic as competitors. This is zero-sum thinking that usually has very little application in the wide-open marketplace of online ideas.

Complement, Don’t Compete

Think of your work as a complement to the content others create. You won’t be seen as a subject matter authority or a thought leader in your industry if you jealously guard your ideas from the so-called competition.

Be generous with your ideas and the relationships you form. You’ll find that your content spreads much farther and wider than it would otherwise.

And that’s the idea, right?

2 Okay, I'm Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read it 4

This post is one in a series of five guest posts authored by the super star bloggers pictured below. As part of a celebration of National Small Business Week we are asking readers to match all five guests posts up with the contributing blogger to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Read all five posts in today’s series and come back each day this week for five new posts in this great educational series and another chance to win.

Joe Pulizzi

Joe writes one of most popular content marketing blogs in the world. He is the co-author of Get Content Get Customers. Joe Speaks to large and small groups on marketing, publishing, social media, new journalism, personal branding and why he always wears orange. He is also the founder of Junta42, the Content Marketing Institute, SocialTract and a few others in the works.

Okay, I’m Creating Content How Do I Get Someone to Read It 4

Yes, it’s true.  All small businesses create content.  Nine in 10 small businesses develop content to drive marketing goals.

But since less than 50% of SMBs feel satisfied with their content marketing efforts, obviously there is a major disconnect.
Here are 10 reasons that may be true for you, and what you need to do about it.
1.          Lack of Content Goals. What’s the behavior you want to see as a result of the content you are creating?
2.          Your Content is about Everything. You have no niche. You create content on the entire industry.  What can you be the leading expert in? Focus.
3.        The Content is about YOU YOU YOU. Remember, your customers don’t care about you. Focus on your customers’ pain points and create content around that.
4.         Good Enough is not Good Enough. Your content is competing with everyone and everything, even traditional media companies.  Make your content unique, interesting, fun (if possible), multichannel and execute the crap out of it.
5.          Lack of a Content Calendar. Stop thinking from a campaign mentality. Content for your customers is a promise. Execute a content marketing editorial calendar.
6.          Not Leveraging Employees. Your employees are your content assets. Find the 10% of employees that are content creators and nurture that.
7.          People will Magically Engage in your Content. Your content isn’t good enough that the magic content fairies will find it and spread it around the internet. Find out where your customers are on the web and be active in those communities.
8.        Your Content Has No Chief Content Officer. Look at the great media brands like the Wall Street Journal. All of them have a chief editor that owns the content. Find your chief editor.
9.       No Content Experience. Most brands don’t, so get over it. FIX: Hire a journalist.
10.     You Don’t Have Support. Those brands that don’t have internal support for content marketing are 300% more likely to stink at content marketing. Do the previous nine steps and, as Matt Heinz says, “Don’t invent new metrics. Track more but report less. Focus on behaviors.”

Read the rest of today’s mystery posts here