How I Used Epic Content Marketing to Develop My New Business
A Short Overview of Epic Content Marketing
Author, Genre, Title
Book Title: Epic content marketing: how to tell a different story, break through the clutter, and win more customers by marketing less
Author: Joe Pulizzi
With access to an overload of information today, how do you make your content stand out? Joe Pulizzi explains how to engage with your audience through epic content that is extremely useful, not the flood of sales messages we tend to see online. Step-by-step you’ll learn how to position your business as the industry expert so that customers will reward you with explosive sales.
Why I Chose to Read Epic Content Marketing
I recently started on a new journey to create an online business. Have you started your own business? Let me tell you a secret, it’s a bit overwhelming to start.
There’s so much to consider - from what content to write, where to publish it, my audience and how I’ll reach them. Some of this I knew of, and some I didn’t.
So when I purchased Epic Content Marketing it was at just the right time. I had never read a Joe Pulizzi book before [although I purchased Content Inc. and it’s next on my reading list] and there are millions of other books in the Marketing genre, but can I tell you ladies this was the perfect book for me.
This epic book catapulted me months down the road in my business!
It taught me step-by-step how to hook my customers with great content that will make me stand out in my industry.
But most importantly, it helped me to build a strong and sturdy foundation for my newborn business to stand on. From creating a consistent publishing schedule using an editorial calendar to strategically choosing content types that will connect with my audience [like blogs, videos, podcasts, and books].
How Joe Pulizzi Coined the Term Content Marketing
How did Joe Pulizzi go from creating his own new business, Content Marketing Institute [CMI], in April 2007, to being named fastest growing startup in 2012 [just two places behind Facebook]?
After working for years in media with huge global brands in all industries and down to the smallest of businesses, he came to learn and understand that customers just don’t care about you.
Customers don’t care about you, your product, or your service.
Did you hear me? People only care about themselves. And so the term content marketing was coined and brought into the industry of marketing forever.
Without any content or marketing budget, Joe focused his early efforts on creating an influencer list and forming relationships.
He knew that not having a large library of content and resources for his audience was ok, he just needed to find the people that had captured the attention of his audience.
Once he had a strong relationship with the influencers [some relationships two years in the making], he knew that they would be willing to share his content with their audience.
And not one piece of content, but a slew of strategic content that was epic, informational, and built on a strong foundation- researching his audience, developing a content niche, implementing strategies to attract them.
Defining your content niche and strategy
If you’re content was gone, one day you woke up and everything you had ever published was deleted, would anyone miss it?
If you’re honest with yourself, and the answer is no, then there’s a big problem.
You have to fight much harder to earn attention online today. If you truly believe that your content is epic, then people need to be talking about it.
Become the leading information provider for your niche.
Starting with six principles of epic content marketing [pg 77]
Creating epic content goes way beyond a sales pitch for your product or service.
Once we hook customers with epic content, they reward us by sending our sales through the roof.
Here are a few principles to follow:
Fill a need. Go beyond what you can offer your audience, and solve a problem their facing by answering an unanswered question or need.
Be consistent. If you are delivering content you need to be consistently delivering content. This is where the power of your editorial calendar comes into play.
Be human. What makes you unique? Don’t be afraid to share that side of you whether it’s humor, sarcasm, or words of encouragement.
Have a point of view. You don’t need to please everyone. Pick a position on a certain topic and share what matters to you.
Avoid “sales speak.” The more you talk about yourself, the less your audience will be interested in reading the content or sharing it with friends.
Be best of breed. Why spend time on publishing a blog that is no different than other blogs on that topic? Have the mentality to only create the best resource for that content, one that adds massive value to the reader.
RELATED: 10 TIPS FOR NEW BLOGGERS
Thinking big, going small [pg 113]
Let’s say that you're a freelance wedding photographer. You think the content you need to be writing is about weddings, but that’s not the case!
With companies like The Knot and Brides it’s almost impossible to stand against them. And why would you want to try battling with those giants? That’s one long and exhaustive task as a one person team.
Diving deeper into the people looking at wedding photography, you notice that there are many questions and searches for pregnant brides specifically. JACKPOT!
It may be impossible to conquer wedding photography but you can be the expert on photography for pregnant brides.
Although we have big goals for our business, and more specifically for our content, we need to be mindful of how hard we’re making it on ourselves.
Be strategic and narrow down your audience. Don’t think about it as losing potential clients, think about owning the entire market in your niche. Your niche will reward you 10x than the more general audience you’re trying to reign in.
4 mistakes you’re making talking to your persona [pg 97]
In the beginnings of creating a new online business your first step is diving into the market to research your idea and see if it’s even profitable and worth pursuing.
So often people force their research to prove this idea works because of course, no one wants to start over on a business idea right? We’re more excited about doing the sexy things like creating a website and writing our new content to share on Pinterest.
In these first steps, we want to be DISPROVING our ideas. We want to save ourselves years of battles trying to take over a niche that just isn’t valuable to our business.
Explore these four common mistakes, and ask yourself if you have made any of these mistakes in your business.
Making up stuff about the buyers. In the beginning, there will be loads of research to find your particular audience or persona. Be conscious about where you are getting your research from. A client that has already purchased from you may be misleading you to think the entire market thinks this way as well.
The only way to gather true insights about your audience is to talk to [lots of] them! Joe suggests making it a goal to spend a few hours talking to them each month. Have a conversation about why they did or did not choose your product/service and how they started on the journey to solve the problem their facing.
Getting sidetracked by irrelevant trivia. Don’t get stuck on the little things like choosing a name for your persona or a photo that represents them best. If it’s not helping you to deliver more helpful content, then don’t worry about it.
Instead, you should spend your time prioritizing your personas top 3-5 needs, outlining what success looks like for them, the barriers that stop them from their success with your solution, their stage in the buying process, and the criteria that help them make a decision over your product or another competitor product.
Developing too many personas. If you’re taking the much needed time to research your audience, you may have a ton of insights. Business owners might think that each of these insights needs their own persona but that’s not the case.
A new persona is only needed if there is a significant difference in one of your audience personas over the next. For example, a blogger and a business owner may have the same goals [to increase traffic to their website] but the content you communicate to them will be the same. The difference in the title is not enough to create a separate persona.
Conducting scripted Q&A interviews. Using surveys to get more information from your audience is great, but most often the answers are not as useful and in-depth as we would hope.
It’s not a skill you can hope to master instantly, but over time as you have more one-on-one conversations you will get better at asking the right probing questions. Maybe you surveys reveal your product is easy to use, great follow up questions could be:
Was it easy to use because of other training or experiences you’ve had?
Why was an easy to use solution important to you?
How did the easy to use solution compare to other products?
My Biggest Takeaways
The single biggest investment I had made into my business so far was to purchase Epic Content Marketing for just $8 [I bought used, sorry Joe].
It completely changed my outlook on creating and publishing content.
It wasn’t write, publish and pray I get a reader, but instead, I have created very strategic processes to make sure my content is adding immense value, not only to my readers but to my business.
What I love about this book is that it covers each area step-by-step so that you too can be strategic about the content you're creating to win over your audience.
Reading an online article can be beneficial, but don’t you love when all the information you need on a topic is in one place? This book is fully immersive and really lets you dive in and get your feet wet while also providing case studies to give context and clarity about others that have created epic content.
With all that being said, I’d like to end with what made the book good, different and groundbreaking.
What makes this book good is that it’s extremely practical. Not only did I read about these fundamentals, but I instantly learned exactly how to duplicate the process for my own business.
What makes this book different is that it’s not the way that marketing has been done for the past 100 years. It’s no longer about forcing your nonsense onto your readers. Instead, it’s about creating valuable content they want to share.
What makes this book groundbreaking is that it’s really giving us a look behind the curtains of this new world in marketing- from the man who invented the concept! Marketing is shifting, and in order to be useful to our readers, we need to recognize the shift and adapt our approach to attracting and engaging with them.
If you’re looking to reach more customers than ever with targeted content, I recommend adding Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi to your reading list for 2017.