Nick Westergaard

By Nick Westergaard on September 7, 2015

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Why Brand Constraints Inspire Creativity with Joe Pulizzi

joe pulizzi

“It’s not what we sell. It’s what we stand for.” This simple statement provides a concise summary of the key differences between traditional brand advertising and modern content marketing. At the forefront of this movement is Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, author of the new book Content Inc., and lover of the color orange. In the midst of hosting Content Marketing World, where he’s launching a new book and a documentary, Joe took a few moments to be “On Brand.”

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About Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, podcaster, father and lover of all things orange. He’s the founder of multiple startups, including the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), the leading content marketing educational resource for enterprise brands, recognized as the fastest growing business media company by Inc. magazine in 2014. CMI is responsible for producing Content Marketing World, the largest content marketing event in the world (held every September in Cleveland, Ohio), as well as the leading content marketing magazine, Chief Content Officer. He began using the term “content marketing” back in 2001. CMI also offers advisory services for innovative organizations such as HP, AT&T, Petco, LinkedIn, SAP, the Gates Foundation and many others.

Joe’s last book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of the Year” by Fortune Magazine. His new book, Content Inc., will be released in September 2015. Joe has spoken at more than 400 locations in 14 countries advancing the practice of content marketing.

Joe not only writes one of the most influential content marketing blogs in the world, he writes a column for Entrepreneur.com and is a LinkedIn Influencer. You can also hear Joe on his podcasts, “This Old Marketing” and “Content Inc.” If you ever meet him in person, he’ll be wearing orange.

Episode Highlights

“I just started wearing orange.” And with one seemingly random fashion choice, Joe set off one of the most memorable pieces of the Content Marketing Institute’s brand DNA. An obsession with all things orange. “Each week someone sends me something orange.” Joe and I both agreed that “it’s the little things” that make good brands great.

Consistency is key. “As Don Schultz, the author of Integrated Marketing Communications, says, ‘anyone can copy anything about your business but they can’t copy how you communicate.’” For this reason, Joe and his team at the Content Marketing Institute have created a series of processes and frameworks to ensure that the three legs of their stool — a leading digital presence, live events, and print — have consistency in both what they say and how they say it. “Process means you know what success looks like.”

“Content marketing is old.” While Joe has built a brand and a business around the renaissance of this concept, he was quick to remind us that content has been practiced since Benjamin Franklin used Poor Richard’s Almanac as an engine for generating print sales. John Deere, Sherwin Williams, and P&G were all early pioneers of the content marketing movement. Here’s a video timeline that CMI put together to illustrate the history of content.

Before we dive into a week filled with content marketing goodness, let’s take a moment to learn its history. #CMWorld

Posted by Content Marketing World on Wednesday, September 2, 2015

How can brands use content to help them position their business? “It’s not what you sell, it’s what you stand for. You have to answer this question first. Then look at who your audience is. How can you help them?” Joe pointed to examples of brands like Red Bull and Marriott who are leading the way with innovative media, creating what Doug Kessler calls, “revenue ripples” over time.

The case for content brands. Like past guest Andrew Davis, Joe asserted that to do so, most brands have to first create an engaging content brand as opposed to just slapping some content on the company blog. “Look at P&G. It’s not the P&G blog. It’s Home Made Simple.”

What brand has made Joe smile recently? Lego! Also, Game Theory, a small businesses whose content chief is on the cover of the current issue of Chief Content Officer magazine.

To learn more about Joe, you can follow him on Twitter, check out the Content Marketing Institute and their upcoming documentary The Story of Content. You can also get a free chapter of his new book Content Inc. at the book’s website.

As We Wrap …

Before we go, I want to flip the microphone around to our listeners …
Recently our friend and past guest of the show Marc Hershon gave us a shout on Twitter as he was traveling in the Far East. Safe travels, Marc! Thanks for listening!

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!




Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, where he helps build better brands online. He also teaches at the University of Iowa and is host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.


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