WESTLAKE, OHIO – Last night I had the chance to brush up on some long-neglected ping pong and pool skills. Arriving about fifteen unfashionable minutes early, a friend/former colleague and I showed our age and decided to play a bit in the lobby, after thoroughly exploring the first floor of Hyland Software (a tech company riddled with adult slides, open space and creative feng shui that’d make Deepak Chopra proud).
Once underway, Joe Pulizzi, one of the preeminent content marketing and social media evangelists in the industry passionate about the color orange, continued on the right note: asking who’d brought Goose Island‘s 312 urban wheat ale. Coyly, sheepishly raising our hands, we scored one of his latest books: Get Content. Get Customers. Sweetness.
Among other things, telepathy must be among social media-ers arsenal: only seconds before I’d turned to my friend and mentioned it was pretty neat that Joe chose the brew we brought.
But good beer, orange t-shirts, veggie/fruit platters and Tweeps aside, Pulizzi had some great case studies and statistics to share with us, a group of about 40 from the Cleveland Social Media Club. Among them:
>> John Deere and a celebrated history of connecting with its customers through valuable, compelling and useful content tailored to the audiences’ specific needs and desires
>> OpenView Venture partners: In the course of a year, OpenView has progressed to 24 posts a week (with a single journalist on staff), 34,000 hits a month (growth curve up 850%) and over 1000 published blogs, articles, videos and podcasts.
5 Companies that “Get It”
Pulizzi regaled us with testimonials of small studios and chief editors, emphasizing that we are all storytellers and publishers in our own right, regardless of niche. The beauty of “sharing awesome stuff” is ubiquitous: transcending individual, B2B, B2C and beyond. Pulizzi emphasized how 73% of consumers prefer information from valuable, relevant content over advertisements.
Another thought-provoking section was Thinking Like a Publisher through a centered content strategy:
- It’s almost never about you
- What is/are your buyer personas?
- What does your audience really need or want to know?
- What are their pain points? And what measures are you taking to meet or exceed them?
- How are you providing the best content in the industry?
- Websites are never complete
The concept of owning, not renting your space and channels online really got me thinking. Pulizzi challenged us to dig deep and ask some tough questions:
>>What would you do if Facebook, Twitter or other channels were obsolete tomorrow?
>>How would you reach loyal fans, followers, subscribers and readers, those who actively consume the value you have to offer?
It’s the notion of moving beyond a focus on the tools, platforms, which are only a means to an end, to storytelling.
As Paul Roetzer puts it in Content Marketing for PR Pros, “we all have a story to tell” [ Roetzer, Naslund Among Feat. Panelists at YouToo! SM Conference, Kent State ]
Again — not tools, but storytelling.
What’s your story?