January 25, 2016 / by Katie Gaab

Last year, 90 percent of B2C marketers used content marketing, but only 34 percent felt they were successful. And while 69 percent are creating more content than years past, few are being heard.

Why aren’t consumers paying attention?

“They can afford to ignore us,” says Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute. “Before 1990, there were only eight channels. The big budgets owned these channels, and consumers had to pay attention to those advertisements.”

Today, however, is another story. Social has brought an explosion of content distribution channels, and brands are struggling to make their content stand out.

At his recent Cision webinar, “6 Steps to Developing a Content-First Marketing Strategy,” Joe Pulizzi outlined the reasons why brands aren’t reaching their audiences, what to focus on when creating content and how to design a strategy to reach goals.

Here’s a quick look at the first three steps brands should take to ensure a successful content marketing strategy:

1. Find The Sweet Spot

The sweet spot is the intersection of knowledge/skill and passion/customer pain point, says Joe.

Small companies: ask yourself what’s going to get you up every day to create content. Larger companies: think about your particular audience’s pain point.

In the webinar, Joe brings up two examples: Andy Schneider, also known as The Chicken Whisperer, and John Deere.

One day Andy bought a few chickens at a local farmer’s market. Over eight years, Andy built a content hub based on his unique hobby. Today, his podcast has 30,000 subscribers.

For Andy, his sweet spot stemmed from his love of teaching and his authority on backyard poultry.

John Deere’s case goes back to 1895 when they launched “The Furrow,” now a print and electronic monthly publication. Since then, the company has mentioned its machinery and services approximately 15 times in its editions.

Because the company focuses on what its customers care about, 1.5 million subscribers read “The Furrow” in 14 languages across 40 countries.

Want all six steps? View the full on-demand webinar today!

2. Look For A Tilt



“How much content is there now? How much has been released in the last minute?” asks Joe.

To find your content tilt, you have to determine whether or not you’re telling a unique story.

How should brands do this? They need to establish clear goals through an editorial statement.

“If you don’t get this, none of the other steps are going to be successful,” Joe continues.

Joe suggests a three-part editorial statement. Decide who your core target audience is, what will be delivered to them and what you want the outcome to be for your audience.

Don’t go overboard with your goals though. Only set one goal for each of the three parts.

“You can’t be relevant enough if you target more than one,” Joe explains.

3. Build The Base

This step requires a lot of patience and hard work.

Throughout the webinar, Joe emphasizes, “It takes more than 12 months to do this!”

What’s the formula? You need to decide on your content type, establish a main platform, deliver new content consistently and keep at it over a long period of time.

Joe brings up a few examples, but Jyske Bank sticks out the most. The Danish bank previously spent a lot of money on outside advertisement to reach its audience. Over time, Jyske Bank successfully established itself as the only media company with its own bank. Now, old ad partners  come to them for help.

A similar example of building a base could be seen with The Huffington Post, which started as an active commentary community and has grown into a major online news site.

Whatever you do, don’t give up.

“We’re focusing on content campaigns, but content marketing as an approach is a marathon, not a sprint.” Joe continues, “A campaign always stops, but we have to continue.”


Images via Pixabay: 1, 2

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About Katie Gaab

Katie Gaab is a content marketing specialist for Cision. Previously the senior editor for Help A Reporter Out (HARO), she enjoys connecting audiences to exciting, new content. She's a dancer, avid concert-goer, foreign language nerd and book worm. Find her on Twitter @kathryngaab.