Q&A With Joe Pulizzi On Content Marketing

Social Media Examiner invited Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute to be a guest moderator on their Facebook page today.  For one hour, Joe answered questions live posted by members of the Social Media Examiner page.  SME has thought leaders host Q&A sessions like this one on their page for regularly.

If you’re a social media manager, you likely know these two names already.  If not, you’re in for the introduction of a lifetime.

You can find Joe Pulizzi on Facebook at  http://www.facebook.com/joe.pulizzi or Junta42.  And if you’re not a fan yet, go and like this page right now: Social Media Examiner.  Go on, I’ll wait.

The interview was filled with a ton of great information and a hugely valuable tool for any social media manager.  I have aggregated the questions and answers (to the best of my abilities… If I missed any, please leave a comment.) here for easy reference.

Lana Corcoba: What do you think is one of the most engaging possibilities to do a Facebook Fanpage contest (without external or additional help of apps or blogs)?

Joe Pulizzi: The biggest thing that we’ve seen work is actually not topical, it’s consistency.  Whatever contest you decide to do, you should do it regularly…like every Friday for example.  I chatted with a winery recently that has had great… success by doing their contests every Friday at 10am.  Over time, people start to anticipate that.  It’s the same thing with any great content…be consistent (i.e., when does your favorite magazine arrive?).

Maggie McClelland Buerger: How often should you blog? How long should each post be (# words)?

Joe Pulizzi: Great question Maggie.  You blog as often as you can do it – with the resources you have AND valuable, relevant content.  If that means two times, it’s two.  I will say it’s better to increase velocity than decrease, so start with less and perfect that first.  There are no silver bullets.

As for length, again, no silver bullets.  Some say – catchy headline, 300-500 words, lots of bullet points, etc., but that may not be what works for your audience.  For example, some of our best performing posts at Junta42 are well over 1,000 words.  So, find your voice.  Blogs should be as long as they need to be.

Radz Alexander: What implications ‘branded entertainment’ strategies being pioneered by Red Bull and Old Spice do you see having on ‘branded content’?

Joe Pulizzi: First of “branded entertainment” or what I like to call content marketing, has been around for hundreds of years.  John Deere produced a magazine for their customers way back in 1895.  The evolution of that is Red Bull (fantastic iPad magazine) and Old Spice (integrated program) have been doing some amazing things.  BUT, the key here is great storytelling.  We as companies must learn to be the BEST storytellers in our industry…bar none.  Red Bull and Old Spice work because the stories work for the audience they are targeting (Red Bull also produces a great magazine called Red Bull Bulletin).  So, regardless of technology, the best storyteller wins.

Mi Vu: Do you have any ideas of how to get fans to a new Google+ business page? We opened our business here, but seems if nothing is moving so far… Any tips?

Joe Pulizzi: 1.  Determine if Google+ is right for your business.  2.  What are your goals?  3.  What do you want your circle members to do?  4.  Determine your content strategy – what are the stories you are going to share?  5.  Are they original or curated?  6.  Share those stories via your Google+ page.  7.  At the same time, be very active on those pages who are influencers or customers.  8.  Be consistent.

Mia Kristiina: What are some of the best content marketing examples you can think of within the last year?

Joe Pulizzi: I  love these examples.  We put them in a video:

Katrina Thompson-Upton: What kind of posting schedule do you recommend? What are your thoughts on extreme content curation (like Guy K)? Any advice for creating a Holiday promotion content plan?

Joe Pulizzi: Extreme content curation may work for some thought leaders, but it goes horribly wrong for most businesses.  For example, according to Exact Target research, the #1 reason someone will unsubscribe from your brand fan page is because you post TOO MUCH.

As for general posting schedule, as long as the content is outstanding and helpful, do that as consistently as possible every day.

Holiday content plan – Best predictions for 2012 posts for your industry are always a winner.  We are working on ours right now.

Mezzo Zee: I have hosted many virtual events, some free and some with a fee.  The ‘likes’ are high, but the attendance is low.  How does one convert social media followers/fans into event attendees?  Our content is great, and those who have attended have left great testimonies.  Need help getting it to the next level.

Joe Pulizzi: I’ve helped produce over 500 online events in my day and one thing is true…EMAIL is the best at getting people to online events.  So, work to convert your social media followers over to email, then promote the events through email.  With the rise of smartphones, email is as important as ever.  That is probably your most important subscriber channel right now.

Relationship Cafe: We are looking to increase our fan base so that our wall discussions and live events can be more engaging.  What are some no/low cost ways to increase followers/fans/members?  We aren’t only interest in numbers, but actual people interested in our content.  We have seen ways to increase numbers, but we want people who will interact with our page and who are interested in learning how to have healthy relationships of all kinds (family, marriage, dating, friendship, etc.).

Joe Pulizzi: Actually, Social Media Examiner is the best example I’ve ever seen so they should answer this question.  From what they did, build a great online community with great content…be consistent with your content offerings…get active on all y…our influencers social networking sites…follow/fan all influencers…mix the content up between push content and questions (quiz tools).  You may also want to consider starting with an initial push through email…I know a couple businesses that have sent an initial invite through email that has worked (but include a very special offer).