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American Marketing Association - Cleveland Chapter. The premier association for marketers in Northeast Ohio.

Blog Archive

As part of our effort to keep you up-to-date on the latest marketing trends, we've gathered insights from thought leaders in Cleveland and across the nation on the Cleveland AMA blog.

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5 Ways to Lead Your Industry with Content Marketing


I had the pleasure of listening to Pat Williams speak at the Leadership Summit in Orlando, presented by Fortune magazine.  If you don’t know Pat, he’s the founder of the Orlando Magic basketball franchise and has published an amazing 85 books on leadership over the years.

In his travels and experience, he’s identified several distinct traits of leadership.  As I listened, these traits are also key to our content marketing programs.  Here’s a taste as they relate to content marketing:

  1. Vision – we need to have a vision for our content marketing program.  Where are we taking customers?  What are we seeing that others don’t?  How are we shaping the conversation?
  2. Communicating Your Vision – We can have a vision, but if we don’t communicate it, what’s the point? If we want our employees to be part of our content marketing program, each of them need to know what the vision is.  How are you communicating that vision to them?
  3. Competence – Are we correct?  How many people are checking your content to make sure that it’s absolutely, 100% correct?  Are we covering the key issues of the industry in a way that’s moving the industry forward?  In essence, it’s your responsibility to be a teacher. As the great John Wooden always spoke of, he was a teacher, not a basketball coach. Whatever your role in the organization as it relates to content marketing, you need to put on your teaching hat.
  4. Boldness – We can’t be afraid to take on the key issues.  While all your competition is creating content that looks and feels the same, your role needs to be one that talks about those issues that no one else wants to touch.
  5. A Serving Heart – This one may be the most important. Is the content about you, or is it about solving your customers’ problems.  Not sure?  Read through your content on a regular basis.  Is it a soft sales pitch or something more?

Many times, we are so focused on driving leads or keeping customers longer.  We absolutely should be focused on those things, but to really do that effectively, our content has to be about something more.

Four questions

Whether your goal is ultimately to sell more software or advertising, you need to get focused on the needs of your core audience. If you haven’t already, answer these questions and make sure your entire content marketing team pastes them to their foreheads.

  1. Who? Who is the audience for each piece of content (fill in the blank, i.e., blog)? Who is the specific buyer persona you are targeting with this platform?
  2. Why? Why are you doing this? What is the behavior change that you must see to call this content initiative a success? (Do you need to drive sales, save costs, or drive customer loyalty?)
  3. Outcome? What’s in it for the reader? How are you making their lives better or jobs easier in some way? What’s the pain point you are solving for them?
  4. Replacement factor? If you didn’t provide this kind of information for your audience, would they care — or notice? Could they find the information elsewhere? Is what you are saying really that important?

While all these questions are important, if you have multiple responses to “who,” the other questions are almost impossible to answer. Having multiple audiences waters down the content, has less impact and will be almost impossible for you to accomplish your marketing goals.

Joe Pulizzi’s third book, Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less, was recently announced as Fortune magazine’s best business books of 2013. Joe is also founder of Content Marketing Institute, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World.  You can find Joe on Twitter @JoePulizzi. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange.

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