Q&A With Joe Pulizzi: Pulling Back the Curtain on Content Marketing

I first got the chance to hear Content Marketing Institute (CMI) founder—and content marketing evangelist—Joe Pulizzi speak two years ago at CMWorld. I remember taking note of how everyone’s eyes lit up when he took the stage, of attendees furiously trying to jot down every content marketing tidbit he shared, and of the electricity in the air—which was surpassed only by Joe’s own magnetism.

IMG_5329So, imagine my excitement when I was able to lock down some time with this renowned marketing guru to get his 2 cents on the latest happenings in the content marketing space (no Joe, I am not trying to butter you up!). After all, any insight I can gain from other industry thought leaders is a gift I can bring back to our clients. Our job at Content Boost is simple: We will always be your eyes and ears in the content marketing space, bringing any insight, tools, techniques and tactics to you so that together we can implement them in your organization.

Therefore, a number of the questions I asked Joe are one’s you ask me every day. Here’s a look at some of the highlights of our conversation:

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Content Marketing Lessons from ‘Roseanne’

It’s hard to believe it, but it’s been 25 years since America first met the Connors.

October 18 marks the silver anniversary of “Roseanne,” the comedy television show about a dysfunctional working-class family from the Chicago suburbs starring Roseanne Barr and John Goodman.

Roseanne_CastIn celebration of this classic television program, here are some lessons that we can learn about content marketing:

Don’t Be a Couch Potato—You Have to Produce  

Fans of Roseanne will remember the classic ongoing battle between the father, Dan Connor (played by Goodman) and David, his daughter’s lazy teenage boyfriend. Just like Dan constantly harped on David for not getting off of the couch, he would also harp on you if he caught you slacking with your content production. In order to establish yourself as a thought leader and engage consistently with your audience, you need to produce fresh content on a consistent basis if you want to succeed.

Be Loud and Outspoken, like Roseanne

Roseanne’s character was a bold woman, and when she spoke everyone within earshot paid attention. While this was partially due to her shrill yet charming voice, it also had to do with the fact that she never beat around the bush. Content producers can learn to speak clearly, boldly and plainly. If your content sounds different than the way you speak in real life, you might be trying too hard.

Balance Your Content with Humor

Part of the reason why Roseanne lasted nine seasons was that it had a steady mix of serious and funny overtones. Fans knew that any given episode could either make them laugh or stress them out and teach them an important life lesson along the way. Your content should work to keep readers guessing, yet at the same time it should be consistent. Don’t be afraid to use comedy to enhance your articles as long as your readers know that the content beneath is full of relevant and useful information.

Everyone Needs a Friend

“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

If you are an ‘80’s baby, you definitely know this quote because the person associated with it was as soothing as a warm fuzzy blanket and those footy pajamas we all used to wear. “The Joy of Painting” was on PBS and was a hit for more than a decade. Well not really a hit for today’s TV standards, but definitely a great educational show.

“Gotta give him a friend. Like I always say ‘everyone needs a friend,’” Bob Ross would say as he paired a tall green lazy tree next to a lonely bush.

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Pack a Harder Punch with an Infographic

I usually take a trip up to Fairfield to see my mother at least once every week. It is not on a particular day. It is usually spontaneous and it can very well be a Monday night or Sunday all day. The one thing that stays constant is her favorite TV station ‘Caracol TV.  It is full of news, soap operas, comedies, reality TV, singing competitions and the Colombian version of “Judge Judy.”  It is an all encompassing station covering everything under the sun including politics, religion and, of course, sports.

Saying that she loves her Colombian TV station is definitely an understatement. It’s on when she cooks, cleans, and even sleeps. It’s even on when she isn’t home!  So when I go to her house I dare not turn the thing off; there is a chance I could miss a monumental occurrence in our native country. I do, however, turn the volume down a bit as I decompress in her soft leather recliner.

I don’t particularly pay attention to the programs that run during my visit but having a background in TV post production I do pay attention to the commercials, of all things. In former roles, I wrote hundreds of on-air promos and even hired voice-over actors depending on the company’s production schedule. So for me it is something that I naturally have a pretty good ear for.  I have noticed that during the commercial breaks her station uses the same voice-over actor. It doesn’t matter what the commercial is about. It’s always the same guy. His voice is smooth, monotonous and deep. It’s not a quick sell, and it isn’t overly “car salesman” hyped up nonsense. It’s instead like an older uncle talking through the television set. These types of commercials are significantly different from American television commercials, where there are way more graphics, color, volume, hype and a call to action in every other breath. So which is more effective?

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