I read a lot about content marketing — books, blogs, Twitter feeds, white papers. There’s so much content about content that it’s great to find an outstanding piece to recommend — something that speaks with authority but isn’t didactic. Something well-reported and smoothly written. Something with an expert’s knowledge and a mentor’s heart.
Joe Pulizzi’s most recent book, “Epic Content Marketing,” hits all those marks and more. Pulizzi has legions of followers and the book came out last year. But everyone interested in brand journalism/storytelling/content marketing should find something of interest and value here, from beginners to experts, from writers to CEOs. Even the know-it-alls on theory will appreciate the countless examples of best practices Pulizzi presents. He’s like Malcolm Gladwell (“Outliers,” “The Tipping Point”) in his thorough presentation of case studies that prove his points about communicating to drive business goals.
(“Tweet Naked” and two more worth reading)
Here are nine highlights of “Epic Content Marketing.” Some will be familiar, some fresh, and others might just crystallize your thoughts. That’s part of the value of a book like this – it’s a little bit of everything, in a broad and useful context. Flip through it, skip around. Lots of good stuff. You know: good content worth sharing and discussing.
“Customers don’t care about you, your products or services,” he says. “They care about themselves.”
- Pulizzi cites the many “content marketing” definitions and settles on this one: “Content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. 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.”
- U.S. consumers are hit with 5,000 marketing messages a day, up from 500 in the 1970s. “Telling a quality story to the right person at the right time always cuts through the clutter.”
- Storytelling goes back to the cave, and content marketing goes back at least as far as John Deere and its magazine, The Furrow, 120 years ago. Then came Jell-O recipe books … and radio soap operas…
Corporations engaged in content marketing find residual benefits like improved morale, recruiting and internal collaboration.
- Smart brands and companies are hiring journalists to tell stories — to plan and create content.
- That dovetails with Pulizzi’s “less is more” approach: Don’t sell so hard. Content shouldn’t be advertorial. It has to bring value on its own to create new customers or strengthen bonds with existing buyers.
- Pieces of content (articles, graphics, photos, videos, etc.) are business assets. Think of them – speak of them – as such.
- Pulizzi’s Six Principles of Epic Content Marketing:
- Fill a need
- Be consistent
- Be human
- Have a point of view
- Avoid sales-speak
- Be best of breed
Along with endless examples of brands, bloggers and resources to help writers, marketers and executives, Pulizzi employs helpful formatting that keeps his reasoning on track and the book highly readable.
But the book’s most endearing strength is his good-hearted enthusiasm. He’s sharing what he’s learned because he’s excited about it and wants you to be, too.
Worked on me, Joe.
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