The following is an excerpt from Joe Pulizzi’s new book Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter and Win More Customers by Marketing Less (McGraw-Hill, 2013). Joe is one of the foremost experts in content marketing, and his presentation on getting started with content marketing during the OFA Short Course was a hit with marketers. We appreciate Joe’s willingness to share some more of his content with us, and we strongly recommend you check out his Content Marketing Institue if you’re looking for more resources to advance your marketing efforts.
These seven tips will create a powerful concoction that will be hard for any company, including media companies and your direct competitors, to compete with.
1. Make Mobile Your Top Channel Strategy
Remember when eBay was the online auctions king? Well, today, online auctions are just 10 percent of its total business — its payment and mobile business is half the company. eBay is betting its entire future on mobile, and it’s winning. And heck, right now, 32 percent of “Wall Street Journal” website traffic comes from a mobile device (60% from a smartphone and 40% from a tablet device).
Most media companies either have legacy systems in print or (I can’t believe I’m saying this) digital. Yes, digital, as in desktop publishing, is becoming a legacy system. Responsive design has helped (responsive design basically takes your ‘desktop’ content and makes it perfectly readable on a mobile device), but this is a band-aid, in my opinion. You need to plan, right now, for the inevitability that the majority of the traffic to your content marketing will come from a mobile device in two to five years. This means thinking mobile first as part of your channel strategy.
Because of how media companies are built and the content processes and staffing they have in place, you can move faster to a mobile first strategy than they can.
2. Hire Professional Journalists/Writers
Companies like GE, Avaya, Monetate, and more have all filled key marketing positions with journalists and editors from media companies. This is now the rule and not the exception. Why shouldn’t you do the same?
3. Repurpose All Your Content
Todd Wheatland, Head of Global Marketing at Kelly Services OCG, doesn’t create content every day, but when they have a story to tell, they maximize it. Todd’s goal is to create 20 pieces of content (think SlideSharepresentations, videos, blog posts, white papers, etc.) all from one story idea. So, the next time you begin a story concept for your content marketing program, set your heights on Kelly’s model.
4. Develop Rent-to-Own Content Strategies:
As content marketers, our goal is to own our media channels, just like publishers do. A strategy that never fails is the ‘rent-to-own’ model. This means partnering with media companies through webinars and sponsored content opportunities to get your content in front of their audience. The goal is to ‘convert’ these prospect readers into your readers. With publishing models crumbling, most media companies are happy to partner with you on any number of rent-to-own strategies (just don’t do what the Church of Scientology did with The Atlantic – make it helpful content, not propaganda).
5. Develop Professional Editorial Practices
Many brands today are leveraging employees and outside influencers as part of their content marketing programs. While I believe this is good, I see a gaping void in the editorial arena. Simply put, brands are not investing enough in editorial and proofreading as part of their processes. Every piece of content you create should have at least two sets of additional eyes on the content. In addition, your employees may have the stories, but may not be storytellers. Assign an editor to help them tell a story that works for your content marketing program.
6. Buy a Media Company
Do an analysis on the media companies in your industry. Have a team discussion about which ones are the best fit for your content marketing program. Consider purchasing that media company (yes, that goes for you smaller businesses as well).
7. Make the Reader Your #1 Priority
As a media company, Content Marketing Institutedoes everything it can to commit to the reader experience. That said, most of our bills are paid by our sponsors. It’s a challenging juggling act. As a brand, you don’t have this issue. Leverage it. Commit your stories to one epic concept — what’s in it for them, meaning the reader (aka, your customer). This is your critical advantage, where you can focus all of your attention.