Secrets of Content Marketing Success, From the Experts
Content marketing success lessons I learned from conversations with Joe Pulizzi, Robert Rose, Matt Heinz, and Michael Brenner.
Recently I found my notes from conversations I had last year with several content marketing leaders, including Joe Pulizzi, Robert Rose, Matt Heinz, and Michael Brenner. When I started my own consulting business and before we launched the B2B Marketing Academy, one of the first (and smartest) things I did was reach out to several of the industry greats in content marketing. These four experts graciously shared their knowledge and provided advice. They were incredibly generous with their time, sharing lessons learned along their journey. Their advice helped me tune my business and career goals. Now I’m sharing their tips with you. Here are some of the lessons I learned from Joe, Robert, Matt and Michael.
From Joe Pulizzi: Stay focused on your niche.
Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, has been a great sounding board off and on for several years when I was contemplating multiple career endeavors. Joe encouraged me to be very focused on my niche, and not be afraid to start my own business. Even now, while I’m back working full-time as a marketing practitioner, as VP of marketing at a small, high growth company, I’m able to implement marketing practices to drive revenue growth, and then write about lessons learned in my blog posts. I call it my marketing petri dish, where I’m allowed to test marketing best practices in a real-world setting, then share the results with other B2B marketers. From Joe, I learned to treat whatever I’m doing like my own business, and to embrace a focused niche, rather than trying to go too broad.
From Robert Rose: A wise mentor once told me, “Can you always go out and find a job? Well then, what are you worried about?”
One of the first things Robert Rose shared with me was a conversation he had with a mentor years ago who told him, “Can you always go out and find a job? Well then, what are you worried about starting your own business?” Robert used that conversation as a guiding light in starting his own successful business, and openly shared it with me. Robert recommended to develop a referral pipeline to help generate future business. He cautioned me to be disciplined about developing a balance between work and family life, something he is getting better at, but admitted he still struggles at times. (Don’t we all?) Robert reminded me that if you put your ideas out into the universe, they will eventually return to you when the timing is right, so don’t be afraid to share your vision with others. Robert is the chief strategy advisor for the Content Marketing Institute, and senior contributing analyst for Digital Clarity Group.
From Matt Heinz: The formula for success = confidence + perseverance + stubbornness.
Matt, who founded Heinz Marketing, talked about being generous with your time and energy, and he was a living example of that mindset, openly sharing tips and advice that he learned along the way of building his successful business today. He recommended that new business owners be intentional about building pipeline, knowing that you will need to develop 3-4x leads to keep your pipeline full. He chuckled when he shared his formula for success which is a healthy mix of confidence, perseverance, and stubbornness. Matt recalled when he was getting started years ago, he talked to other business owners to learn about their tips for building a business. He expected to hear intentional, confident business stories, but the reality was, most successful business people he spoke with humbly confided that their success felt like one big mistake.
From Michael Brenner: One of the biggest challenges is balancing business development with completion of projects.
I quizzed Michael about the balance of business development, asking him how do you build a business while you’re trying to balance completion of consulting projects and speaking engagements? He assured me that there is no magic formula to how much time to spend on business development, but that’s it something one has to keep thinking about in the background all the time. It does build and get easier over time, but the need to do business development never really goes away. Michael founded Marketing Insider Group based on what he learned from a stellar career with Newscred and SAP.
Whether you are working as a marketing practitioner or running your own business, these tips are useful to keep in mind. One of the commonalities I noticed among all of these conversations is the almost zen-like approach these men use for content marketing and business-building. We talked about a karmic approach to visualizing and achieving success, where generosity and honesty form the foundation for any successful business endeavor.