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Book:  Epic Content Marketing

Author:  Joe Pulizzi

Purchase:  Print | eBook | Audiobook

Citation: Pulizzi, J. & Brenner, M. (2014). Epic content marketing : how to tell a different story, break through the clutter, and win more customers by marketing less. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. Four principles of content marketing are as follows: 1) The great hallmark of a successful publisher is consistency. This is where so many companies fall down. Whatever you commit to in your content marketing, you must consistently deliver, 2) The benefit of not being a journalist is that you have nothing to hold you back from being you. Find what your voice is and share it, 3) The more you talk about yourself, the less people will value your content. Posts about yourself as opposed to helpful information are shared only a quarter of the time, and 4) Although you might not be able to reach it at the very beginning, the goal for your content ultimately is 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. If you expect your customers to spend time with your content, you must deliver them amazing value. (pg. 77)

  2. If you are going to position yourself as the leading expert in your niche, you need a book. No, not an ebook online, an actual book. Creating a book that makes an impact on your industry is not easy. So keep these ideas in mind: 1) You may already have a ton of website material that could be repurposed, do the work up front to see what you have to start with, 2) Much of your material could come from blog posts, just reworked. If you have been blogging for at least six months, you might already have half a book, 3) You will need to make sure your book gets funded through a sponsor or publisher, 4) Stop somewhere and realize that perfection is unattainable - at some point you have to draw a line in the sand and publish the book. As soon as you finish you will want to add more stuff - don't worry; just use it for your new book. (pg. 189)

  3. Don't forget, growth will take time. Normally, viral content hits happen after a slow, continuous stream of awesome content. For example, one blog post hit 200,000 unique visitors. But it wasn't immediate; this success happened after 500 pieces of regularly scheduled content were published first. (pg. 271)


Other Key Ideas:

The only way to reach your audience in today's information-drenched, content-saturated world is through Epic Content Marketing that emotionally connects with the people you are trying to reach. (pg. x)

Your customers don't care about you, your products, or your services. They care about themselves, their wants, and their needs. Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you. (pg. 6)

Content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers without selling. It is non interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyers more intelligent or perhaps entertaining them to build an emotional connection. The essence of this strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty. What if your customers looked forward to receiving your marketing? What would it be like if, when they received it via email, website, social media they spent 15 or 30 or 45 minutes with it? (pg. 6)

The goal is to build an audience, one that loves your content so much that it leads to a subscription. That, in turn, leads to finding ways to monetize that audience. It's all about brands creating helpful, valuable, and compelling stories that position them as trusted experts in their fields. That content, if worth, will convert casual, passerby readers into loyal ones. In turn, those loyal readers may then be converted into loyal customers. (pg. 27)

Creating content that is so valuable that people would pay for it, yet you give it away for free, is a reliable way to earn the public's trust. This is an upside down model for traditional marketers. In other words, trust is the goal, companies should strive to sell by not selling. (pg. 46)

Some things to remember when you think about content marketing: 1) Your content marketing should be the very best in your industry - better than all your competitors' and better than that of the media and publishers in your space, 2) Every piece of action should have a call to action. If it doesn't, at least recognize it as such and the real purpose behind why you developed the content, 3) Speed beats perfection in most cases. Figure out a streamlined process for your storytelling, and 5) Your content marketing is a promise to your customers. Distribute content consistently and on time. (pg. 75)

Blog posts and articles with images perform 91 percent better than those without them. Visual design is critical and should be a part of every piece of your content marketing. (pg. 80)

You should practice finding, organizing, and sharing the best and most relevant content on a specific topic, rather than solely creating all the content yourself. Your job is to unearth the best content on the planet in your niche so that your posts do not lack attendance. (pg. 80)

Content marketers should have a goal that by giving engaging content that you ask people to willingly give information about themselves (typically email) that you now have permission to "market" to them. Once you have the prospect's permission, you can use content to help move him or her through the buying cycle. If you can successfully move customers to this stage, you have really accomplished something. Content can be one of the most powerful ways to reach any business goal. The majority of your revenue sources come from the subscriber base. The business will really take off once you start focusing on a subscription as a key of content marketing. (pg. 84)

The natural inclination is to go big with your content niche, to try to cover more of your market. Avoid this urge. Go big with content marketing by going small with your niche. (pg. 117)

The majority of blogs out there don't make it. The worst thing you can do as a business is start a consistent dialogue with your customers and then stop. It's better not to do anything at all than to stop cold turkey. (pg. 161)

Blogging tips to remember: 1) The most popular and effective posts have some kind of number in them, 2) For headlines, think about the problem and numbers rule. With titles, be very specific. Instead of saying "Ways to Increase Your Stock Return '' say "10 Ways to Make More Money with Small-Cap Stocks.", 2) Always ask yourself "What are the pain points of your target reader? What keeps her or him up at night?", 3) Less is more - blogs are best when they are short, instructive, and to the point., 4) Each blog post should have some sort of call to action - download our paper, join us on Twitter, ask us a question, download our ebook, sign up for our newsletter, etc. Remember much of your blog traffic will never come back, so show your readers additional, relevant content offers. Getting opt-in email names should be one of your top blogging goals, 5) This book started out as a series of blog posts. As I continued to develop blog posts, I started to think about how they could evolve into a book. Continually think about how you can take blog posts and repackage them into something more substantial. Planning for this ahead of time instead of repackaging after the fact. It will save you immense amounts of time and resources by planning up front. (pg. 162)

An e-newsletter is a permission-based means of regular communication with current and future customers, usually distributed monthly or weekly. A roundup of the blog content in your e-newsletter is a solid one-two punch. Try daily blogging and a weekly or monthly e-newsletter to review. Also, consider making a newsletter landing page. When you do consider these ten items: 1) Spell out the benefits, 2) Show them a picture of the newsletter, 3) Link to a sample, 4) Make sure the signup is clearly visible, 5) Get rid of needless distractions, and 6) be sure to include testimonials and awards. (pg. 165)

Tips for public speaking: After blog and books, public speaking will really grow your business. Also, use these tips: 1) Put your Twitter name on every slide, 2) Be prepared with short, 140 character tweetable messages, 3) pre promote your speech using the event hashtag, 4) Never have more than 20 words on a slide, 5) If you use words, make them big, 6) Don't stand behind the podium - it's ok to walk around, 7) Really think about what you are wearing - it matters, 8) Smile a lot, 9) Include short (tiny URL) links to what you are presenting so they can download or look at more content, 10) Reward participation (lottery tickets?), 11) Have one main call to action during the presentation - have them do one thing, 12) Use lists with numbers "6 keys that separate..."8 tips"...etc. 13) Tell stories (pg. 193)

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