Epic content marketing: putting the WHY of content marketing before the WHAT.
Joe Pulizzi, who coined the term content marketing, soon releases his latest book, “Epic Content Marketing”. To give a preview and promote it, Pulizzi, uploaded a free chapter of the book on SlideShare. The title of the chapter: ‘The Content Marketing Mission Statement’. A (p)review and some thoughts/lessons to remember.
In ‘The Content Marketing Mission’ chapter, Pulizzi, who often is called the godfather of content marketing, connects the mission statement of the Pulizzi family (in short: Thank God. Always Share. Say Nice Things. Give Our Best) to the need of a mission statement as a company’s reason for existence and more than that. Indeed: the brand dimension of what a company and the content it creates stands for. The narrative, the promise, the story, the positioning, the perception, etc.
It’s comparable with what Ardath Albee says when linking company positioning and company storytelling by looking at “the company’s distinct value, defined as the intersection of a company’s strengths with customer needs“.
Examples of such brand promises and missions: Volvo is about safety, Apple is about – well – many things but most of all ease-of-use and ‘us, the other guys’, Google is about finding anything fast, etc. In Epic Content Marketing‘, (full title: “Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less”), Pulizzi uses the example of Southwest Airlines: to democratize the travel experience. You can probably find some more yourself.
The content marketing mission statement: the WHY of content marketing
The company mission statement matters. The marketing mission statement matters. And, indeed, the content marketing mission statement matters, Pulizzi writes.
As we often say here and on other blogs and as lately more social media thinkers and others start saying too, Joe Pulizzi emphasizes we focus far too much on channels first : from blogs and Facebook to Pinterest and all the other channels out there today. Or in other words: Pulizzi urges content marketers to not fall into the trap many already have fallen into (including other marketing ‘tactics and views’): put tactics, noise etc. above a sound strategy whereby – should we say it – an integrated marketing approach more than ever matters, regardless of channels. It’s all about touchpoints, customer needs, customer experiences and of course business goals first and then about filling the gaps to achieve all this, whether it’s channels or content as such.
Don’t get me wrong: channels are important. You need people who know and understand them the ones you add to your mix and at least understand the reasons and ways people use them. But they don’t matter first, nor do tactics. Channels are about the WHAT of content marketing (just as they are about the WHAT of marketing automation, social media marketing and so much more). What matters most though, as you can read here too, is the WHY of content marketing.
And, without what Joe calls a ‘formidable’ why, ‘epic content marketing is impossible’. Without a WHY and by putting the WHAT before the WHY, de facto any form of epic or let’s say darn efficient, relevant and good marketing is possible.
Epic content marketing does not equal epic content
I invite you to discover the rest of chapter 13 of ‘Epic Content Marketing’ below. It provides some examples of content marketing statements of some companies and how to make those statements right (essentially referring to the good old content marketing strategy basics such as target audience, outcome, etc.).
Make no mistake: epic content marketing is not about epic content. It’s the context, customer and relevance that matters or as Jay Baer would say: the usefulness, as he explains in it in both a content marketing and broader marketing context in his latest book, Youtility.
So, do you need a content marketing statement and what can you do with it? Find out below. As you probably know, Pulizzi and his crew at the Content Marketing Institute organize their annual US content marketing show, Content Marketing World, early September so attendees will certainly learn more about Epic Content Marketing. Other speakers at the event include Jay Baer, author of Youtility, SAP’s Michael Brenner who wrote the foreword of ‘Epic Content Marketing’, Ardath Albee and other - mainly Northern-American – content marketers, including our friend Lee Odden, author of Optimize, and last year at one of our own events. Lee partnered with the event and created some…content highlighting the various speakers. A first example is the SlideShare doc you find below the chapter of Joe’s ‘Epic Content Marketing’.
Key takeaway: the WHY first, always. But that applies for any form of marketing.