Joe Pulizzi, the leader in the content marketing revolution
Joe Pulizzi is a leading author, speaker and strategist for content marketing. He is the founder of Junta42, a content matching site, and is co-author of “Get Content. Get Customers. How to use content marketing to deliver relevant, valuable, and compelling information that turns prospects into buyers.” His blog looks at the trends in content marketing, and how marketers can learn to think and act like publishers.
Back in 2000, Pulizzi started as an account manager for Penton Custom Media, one of the largest producers of trade magazines and media. He ended up running Penton Custom Media, where he produced custom magazines, newsletters, webinars and other media that worked to position their clients as expert publishers.
In 2007 Joe left Penton to launch Junta42. On April 2nd, 2007, he launched the Junta42 blog: The Content Marketing Revolution, talking to marketers about how they need to become their own publishers. He began to use the term “content marketing” at Penton back in 2001, but really began to embrace it in the blog. Today, content marketing is a recognized term for what was once known as the custom publishing industry.
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Mequoda – How many blogs are you currently writing for?
JP – Although I’ve done many guest posts, I’ve concentrated most of my energy at the Junta42 blog. I have a few other blogs, like the one at JoePulizzi.com, but that is just to update people on what I’m doing.
Mequoda – Which CMS (ie: WordPress, Typo) are you using? What do you like about it?
JP – The Junta42 is a TypePad blog, but my favorite blog platform is probably WordPress. WordPress seems to integrate best with social media tools like Tweetmeme and there is a large, diverse group of plugins available for pretty much everything. I’ve also been getting into Compendium Blogware’s offering, which is an interesting model where they compend blog posts.
Mequoda – Are you blogging for your company as part of you job (ie: corporate) or is this a personal passion?
JP – Both…Junta42 is a business I founded, with the first offering being the blog itself. Junta42 is now recognized as one of, if not the leading website about content marketing solutions.
Blogging is difficult, if not impossible, if you are not passionate about the topic. I evangelize the topic of content marketing, so blogging comes easier with that topic.
Mequoda – Has your blog enhanced your professional reputation? How?
JP – Two things, the blog and the book, have probably led to more professional success than any other marketing strategy. That said, the book would have been impossible without the blog. I used the blog from the start to begin the chapters for the book. Anyone trying to figure out how to write a book should look into doing it this way.
Mequoda – How often do you post a new blog? Are you the only one posting on your blog?
JP – I post two to four times per week. I’ve never posted less than two times in any week – ever. Consistency is key. It’s your content promise to your readers. Stop for a minute giving valuable compelling content and you’ll soon be forgotten.
I’m the only one who posts on my blog, although we are starting to branch out another blog separate from my blog that will work to position Junta42 as a “how-to” content marketing leader.
Mequoda – Who is your target audience?
JP – Mostly small and medium-sized marketing and publishing professionals.
Mequoda – What are you doing to grow your audience and to create customer loyalty?
JP – Consistently create content that is valuable to our audience. Junta42 readers look to us for the latest in content marketing. We feel it’s our responsibility.
Mequoda – How are you using social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) to promote your blog? Has that changed the way you blog?
JP – We leverage Twitter the most to promote our posts and drive traffic, but it’s more than that. Social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn give us an opportunity to get involved in the conversation and spread great content, whether it’s from us or someone else. Commenting on blogs is key. Unless you are involved in the conversation within your niche community, it’s hard to get traction on your blog.
Mequoda – What is your main source of revenue: ads, sponsorships, products sales, donations?
JP – Junta42 is a lead generation source for custom content providers. We provide leads to them by attracting marketers to the idea of content marketing, and our customers (the content experts) pay us monthly or annual membership fees to get those leads.
We also drive consulting business and, personally, I do a number of paid speeches throughout the year (right now I’m in Slovenia as I type this for a speech in a few days).
We have a number of product launches later in the year, but we’re not ready to unwrap that yet. Check back in a few months.
Mequoda – Approximately what percentage of your overall revenue comes from product sales vs. advertising/sponsorships or other sources?
JP – If you consider our matching/lead generation service a product, then about 50% versus other sources of revenues. We do have a handful of small sponsorships as well.
Mequoda – What is your main source of referrals?
JP – We do some PPC, but most of our traffic is organic search traffic or from referring sites who blog about our research or other content (including the blog).
Mequoda – What key metrics do you monitor to analyze the health of your business? From which sites?
JP – We do monitor traffic, but I really look at conversions. Who’s signing up for our enewsletter, white papers, ebooks and the most important: who’s signing up to find a content expert in our Junta42 system.
Although it’s nice to get huge traffic increases, if they never come back it does us no good. We want to stay engaged with our customers and prospects. Traffic stats, unless you are selling eyeballs (advertising) are pretty meaningless.
Mequoda – What changes have you seen in your market since you began blogging?
JP – Everything. Content marketing is now a legitimate industry phrase. Since we began using the term, thought leaders like Seth Godin, Brian Clark, Chris Brogan, Lee Odden and others have embraced the term. I can name dozens and dozens of businesses that have named their group “content marketing” in some way. It’s amazing and humbling.
Mequoda – Any interesting experience you’d like to share? Or privilege you’ve received since you began blogging?
JP – The fact that we (all of us) can directly communicate with people who care about what we have to say is truly amazing. That fact is changing marketing as we know it. Brands are now publishers and don’t need the media to communicate a brand story.
That someone can build an entire business on a blog is incredible. I still talk to people every day that don’t believe it. If you are passionate and have a defined niche, all things are possible.
Mequoda – What advice would you give a new blogger?
JP – Find your passion, identify your niche, and become the expert. The content development is usually the easy part. The hard part is getting active online…be a part of the conversation to make things happen.
Mequoda – What ways are you planning to expand over the next year?
JP – We are going to expand our educational tools for sure, working on that right now. So much needs to be done in content marketing now so that people “get” it.
Mequoda – Is there anything you’d like to share?
JP – There is never a good time to start. Do it now. No excuses. I’ve heard them all and none of them stand up. You are the expert in something, no matter how inconsequential you feel it is….and you can make a business out of it.