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September 14, 2010
When Publishing Is the Only Marketing That Matters

Content marketing is the concept that we are all publishers today. Not publishers in the traditional sense, but in the idea that all brands need to develop valuable, compelling, and relevant content to attract and retain customers.

Three years ago, this was an earth-shattering concept. Today, the thinking is not only accepted by marketers, but content marketing is thought of in new media circles as the center of the entire marketing program.

How do we get and keep attention as marketers today? Not with advertising. Not with one-way conversations.

We engage by developing stories in multiple formats, be it blogs, videos, podcasts, print magazines, and even our own in-person events. Sounds like publishing, right?

Yes, we publish, and then all those tweets and Facebook posts might really work, but is that enough?

Honestly, I’m not sure. We have to think and act bigger. We need higher purpose content marketing.

Let me explain.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a Web marketer who asked: "I have seven competitors, and we are all fighting for the same keywords. Every company blogs and is pretty much talking about the same thing. What do we do?"

Publishing seemingly valuable content simply is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s not enough.

If you are talking about the same concepts and content as your competitors, what value are you adding to the conversation? Are you truly providing anything that will differentiate you from your competitors, over the thousands of other messages out there your customers possibly are engaging with?

Creating your own content category is one way to take your content marketing to the next level.

This is exactly what Citrix Systems, makers of GoToMeeting and GoToMyPC, has done with their concept of workshifting, the idea that we can work from anywhere at anytime. The word didn't exist a year ago, and today there are over 500,000 mentions of it on Google and thousands of websites that discuss the concept.


Citrix created the category. They own this category.

They are developing solutions to a common problem and challenge for their customers and even named it. The marketing they develop is needed. It’s wanted.

Now that’s the future of marketing. Creating information (in whatever form) that is so compelling to customers that they engage in it, request it, and even long for it in some situations.

P&G does this with HomeMadeSimple.com. Pinsent Masons, a U.K. law firm, does this with Out-Law.com.

How can you do this in your business?

1.) Create the category. Define a specialty area that’s all yours. Develop a deep understanding of the informational or entertainment needs of your customers, and execute it. Make sure it aligns with what you sell.

2.) Develop consistent, remarkable content about your new category. You need to put your publisher’s hat on, and develop the information that positions you as the true expert over your new domain. Since creating a new category is not easy, this will take months of banging the content drum.

3.) Spread the word. People aren’t going to go looking for your new category. You need to spread the word. Go out to the people -- the blogs and forums where your customers are at -- and start sharing this helpful information. Be the giver.

With all the choices your customers and prospects have for engaging with media, why would they choose anything that doesn’t make a true impact on them? Frankly, they won’t.

Plan on doing something better with your marketing dollars than you are right now -- before it’s too late.

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Joe Pulizzi is CEO of Z Squared Media, LLC, whose brands include Junta42, the Content Marketing Institute, and SocialTract. Joe also speaks around the world about content marketing and sometimes promotes his book, "Get Content Get Customers," called THE handbook for content marketing.  

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