Vocus Questions: Joe Pulizzi on Content Marketing

Today, customers start the buying cycle online, through social networks and Internet searches. This means that brands need to consistently produce helpful, socially-validated content like infographics, videos, and blogs.

Joe Pulizzi is at the forefront of the content marketing revolution. The founder of the Content Marketing Institute and co-author of Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers, he coaches brands and marketers worldwide on how to succeed in the digital age by producing content like a publisher.

With Joe now booked to speak at Demand Success, our 2013 Conference, we caught up with him to ask some questions on content marketing.

“Any brand can publish content today, with little investment required.”

Vocus: Content marketing matters to every discipline from direct marketing to PR. Why?

JP: Every company is now in two businesses, the business that they are in and the publishing business (hat tip to Jay Baer on the statement).  Content creation is now a core part of our entire organization.  Content marketing and storytelling is now critical to everything we do as marketers. Consumers have less time and attention, so whatever we try to distract them with better be amazing.

Does content marketing force integration across disciplines, or is it the domain of one?

There are no silver bullets.  I’ve seen content marketing work with a centralized marketing services group like Kraft has, or as different silos that meet and integrate every week around content, like SAS.  Ultimately, I believe content marketing works best when someone in the organization is responsible for setting the content strategy, and then working with all areas of the company to help refine and tell that story better.

What set the content marketing boom off?

The barriers to entry have been obliterated by three major developments. First, people accept branded content. You don’t have to be the Wall Street Journal anymore to have customers respect and engage in your content.

Secondly, there’s more talent available. Most journalists no longer view working for non-media brands as tainting their professional integrity. Writers and editors are now available to help you produce great content in literally every industry. In fact, the majority of today’s journalism jobs available today are on the “brand side”.

Finally, there’s technology: any brand can publish online content today, with little investment required.

How important is social network validation of content for long term success?

Just look at Google.  Their past two algorithm updates, Panda and Penguin, have focused more on the importance of social media sharing.  Google says that content shared by credible sources is important content… and thus they serve that content up higher in search rankings.  This is just the start.

As more content is produced, quality becomes a critical issue.  What are your recommendations?

If your content is not as good (or better) than anything else in your niche, you are going to have problems long-term.  More content is not “better”… at least not anymore.  Brands need to invest in storytellers, have a culture of storytelling and sharing, and look at the structure of their current marketing resources (both insourced and outsourced), to develop better publishing processes.

We are in the middle of a revolution, where marketing departments are starting to look and feel more like publishing departments.

To find out more about Joe and Demand Success, click here!  For more on content marketing, watch this video:

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