On the flight back from the Marketing Mix and Metrics Conference, I finished reading Joe Pulizzi’s Epic Content Marketing.  This is Joe’s 3rd book in which he shares a collection of thoughts from his past blog posts.  He validates his points and processes with ample case studies covering both B2B and B2C. Here are the three biggest takeaways for me:

Define your content niche

Since I speak about content marketing at conferences, attendees usually ask me what topics are important for their companies.  I tell them to understand their audience’s pain points and challenges.  Focus on creating content that will help them solve their problems. Joe provides a perfect example that resonates deeply with me.  “Let’s say you run a small pet supplies store in the local community.  You think your content niche is pet supply.  You’re wrong.”  Companies such as Petco and PetSmart put millions into content creation related to pet supplies. “You’ve noticed that the most questions, as well as your highest margin products, are around aging pet owners who like to travel with their pets. Bingo!” Why can’t you be the leading expert in pet supplies for elderly customers that travel with their pets?

Joe stresses “Think Big” to be the leading expert, “Go Small” for niche content marketing.

Measuring the impact of your content marketing

Measuring ROI is a constant question that comes up when discussing content marketing.   I like the pyramid chart that Joe put together.  There are different sets of metrics for different internal stakeholders from content creators and web designers to CxOs. Most senior managers don’t care about content downloads or even likes/shares/comments.  What they care about are leads, cost per lead, dollar revenue per lead closure.

We need to customize our metrics for our audience.

In addition to tracking metrics effectively, it’s important to integrate marketing automation systems with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) in order to nurture your leads effectively.

Content Marketing Commandments

Joe does a good job summarizing his points at the end of his book. He answers the most commonly asked content marketing questions in 140 characters or less. Here are some great examples:

Q: Where do I start with my content marketing strategy?

A: Develop your content marketing mission statement. There you can have an impact as an authoritative voice. Do this before you develop any more content without a strategy.

Q: But my content is not in story-ready form?

A: True, most companies have content assets, but they aren’t in a compelling form.  Hire or contract out a journalist, editor, or natural storyteller to help get those assets into shape. He also shares his content marketing commandments.

Here are three examples:

  • The content is more important than the offer.
  • Marketers can and should be publishers.
  • There are no shortcuts to great content marketing; it takes a lot of elbow grease.  (Very true!)

This book is a quick and fun read.  For people who are not familiar with content marketing, you will quickly obtain a comprehensive view of the subject.  For people who are familiar with content marketing, it’s a great source to understand various facets of content marketing in more detail.

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