In March 2007, Joe Pulizzi left his six-figure executive position at the largest independent business media company in North America to bootstrap a start-up.
Many of his friends and mentors actively went out of their way to tell him he was, well, CRAZY.
For the previous seven years, Joe had worked with brands from around the world, helping them publish and distribute their own stories to attract and retain customers.
Traditional Media Turned on its Head
As early as 2001, it was easy for Joe to see that effective marketing was starting to look more and more like publishing.
Joe noticed big brands were getting serious results by creating their content, similar to what your regular media companies have been doing since the dawn of time. Contrast this with paying to advertise around other people’s content.
He asked the question, “What if more businesses of all sizes did this type of activity, focusing not on their products in marketing but on the informational needs of their target customers?”
That’s precisely the model and inspiration Joe used to start his new business. The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) was formed with next to no money and an ambitious idea in 2007. The company has since exceeded $5 million in annual revenue with less than $50,000 spent on advertising in 13 years.
And "content marketing" is now a recognized industry term among CMOs and industry leaders.
The Definition of Content Marketing
Here’s a formal definition for content marketing crafted by Joe in his book, EPIC Content Marketing:
“Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing valuable and compelling content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer Action.”
And here is a less formal definition of content marketing from Robert Rose, a Lead Strategist at CMI:
“Traditional marketing and advertising is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content marketing is showing the world that you are one.”
Even with content marketing now a recognized industry term, most businesses have no playbook to execute a content marketing strategy.
They end up recycling product-specific ideas into articles and regurgitating old features and benefits. These are super important for the 1% of customers that are ready to buy.
But what about the other 99% of people who aren’t ready to buy? That’s where high-quality content produced consistently can play a significant role.
Clap Your Hands and Hope For the Best
I talk to people from many businesses every day about content marketing and social media. They waste an incredible amount of time on social media tactics without first having the content marketing strategy to make it work for their business.
A content strategist and a detailed content marketing plan can help your business fill the void and start connecting with customers at an emotional level.
Where is your business at on its content marketing journey?
Ben Hucker is the founder and principal of iEvoke. He has 10 years’ experience consulting to listed and private companies in Australia. Ben teaches agencies, freelancers and entrepreneurs the skills they need to produce high-ROI brand content marketing. Learn more at www.ievoke.com.au or email email@example.com.