Think Info

Exploring the information space

Unlock your Content’s Potential (ICC2014)

Joe Pulizzi’s opening keynote at Intelligent Content Conference was dominated by the marketing aspects of content. Looking at the subject from the human perspective of packrat behaviour, Joe compared this to corporate web sites: the accumulation of junk that just keeps on filling space. (And no one cares about.)

Instead of simply creating more stuff, a louder noise, in the hopes of being heard, Joe suggests having a content mission statement against which all content is measured. That which does not meet the identified criteria simply does not get created (and certainly does not get posted). For this to work, the mission statement must be realistic.

A core aspect of the mission statement approach is identifying your audience. As Joe put it, “You cannot boil the ocean.” You must look to excite a specific, defined and limited audience.

It can be very easy (and there are definite trends in the direction) for those using content as a marketing tool to think they need to control the technology that delivers it. This is a misguided assumption: the technology – just like the content – exists to serve business purpose. (Technology here includes the choice of channels, as well as physical platforms; just because the world is on Facebook does not mean you need to be too.) Every decision made needs to support defined and meaningful business objectives.

When looking at the purpose of the business, Joe outlines three drivers: sales, savings, and sunshine (meaning happy customers). These are his three marketing drivers. (Of course, this looks only at the corporate bottom line type business; it does not take into account businesses that have a fundamental purpose – a driving reason to exist – which is more important than profit.)

The conclusion: marketers can be as undisciplined as designers, running off on wild goose chases. Their actions – their decisions – need to be questioned. They will not like this, but a guidance framework is required to keep them in line, producing content that really does serve the business’s purpose (whether a driving reason for existence, or just to improve the bottom line).

Raw notes

  • The key to a successful presentation, especially a keynote, is setting low expectations
  • Life is about living in boxes and buying stuff to put in them. The same thing is happening with web content – stuff accumulation.
  • Nobody cares about our corporate “stuff” that we are sticking on our web sites…
  • Corporate stuff on web sites isn’t working. So now everyone is making content stuff to try to get customers’ attention.
  • Three pillars to a content marketing strategy: content, technology, business.
  • Your site must have a content mission statement. This is the litmus test all your content is measured against.
  • A content marketing mission must be realistic.
  • You cannot boil the ocean with your content marketing. You must focus on a specific audience.
  • Start with some plan – even sketched on a napkin – so you have somewhere to go.
  • We have marketers making technology decisions. Spending more on tech than IT. (Are you scared yet?)
  • Marketing focuses on automation that depends on good content. But it all depends on the content’s intelligence.
  • Doing content marketing the right way is all about the business.
  • You want more fans on Facebook? Er… why the heck are you on Facebook anyway? (Because everyone else is)
  • Fans, followers, visitors counts for nothing if you don’t know “why”. Why are you trying to engage?
  • Why are you creating content? Sales. Savings. Sunshine.
  • Marketers do not like to be questioned.
  • In marketing, owned audiences are key.
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