The Content Marketing PlayBook

42 content marketing tactics, over 50 case studies and hundreds of resources – The Content Marketing Playbook: 42 Ways to Connect with Customers is packed with lots of ideas to execute on your content strategy.

We have invited Joe Pulizzi and Jonathan Kranz the authors of The Content Marketing Playbook to  get an insider look into the making of this great and informative eBook.

Joe Pulizzi is a leading author, speaker and strategist for content marketing. Joe, founder of client-vendor matching site Junta42, is co-author of the highly praised book Get Content Get Customers, recognized as THE handbook for content marketing. Joe writes one of the most popular content marketing blogs in the world.

Jonathan Kranz has written a huge stack of content, advertising, direct marketing, and public relations materials for consumer and B2B clients in financial services, banking, insurance, high-tech, healthcare, education, and other industries. Jonathan is also the author of Writing Copy for Dummies and The eBook eBook: How to Turn Your Expertise Into Magnetic Marketing Material.

Joe Pulizzi

Blog Junta42 Twitter juntajoe Junta42

Marketers have to create a story that customers and prospects want to listen to.

Jonathan Kranz

Blog Kranzcom Twitter jonkranz

Content marketing means meeting customers on their own terms.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Joe & Jonathan, it is a great pleasure to discuss your latest eBook – The Content Marketing Playbook. Thanks for finding time out of your very busy schedule to provide your valuable insights to our readers. What prompted you to embark on creating ‘The Content Marketing Playbook’?

Joe Pulizzi: Content marketing seems to be the buzz word for 2009.  There are lots of experts talking about the value of content marketing, and that’s great…but a much lesser number are actually talking about clear, concise examples.  That’s why we developed the Content Marketing Playbook.  A marketing professional can quickly get an idea of why and how they should use a particular tactic.  Now that doesn’t mean content strategy isn’t important…it’s still paramount, but that wasn’t the purpose of this.  The Playbook should be used as a great tool to brainstorm and imagine the possibilities to position your company/brand as a trusted solutions provider (through content).

Jonathan Kranz: My role in the Playbook begins with a cool social networking story. In advance of publishing The eBook eBook: How to Turn Your Expertise Into Magnetic Marketing Material, I spent a lot of time online, following bloggers, Tweeters and thought- leaders interested in content marketing. Joe, obviously, was (and is) one of the big guns in the field. When I saw that we were both scheduled to speak at a virtual online conference, I introduced myself to Joe and we arranged a phone call. Naturally, we had a lot of common interests. And when Joe happened to mention, as an aside, that he had started a kind of guidebook to content tactics, but was bogged down with work, I offered to help with the writing.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Give us the background of how you gained an interest in Content Marketing.

Joe Pulizzi: People don’t want to be interrupted, but they still want to have relationships with the brands they favor. About a decade ago I realized that the way to do this was for marketers to become their own publishers. In 2000, I started helping brands become their own publishers while at Penton Media. When I left Penton in 2007, my goal was to spread the concept of “marketers as publishers” or content marketing to the masses. Writing Get Content. Get Customers. was an important part of this process. The great part is, now there are many people consistently discussing content marketing and the benefits of this philosophy. Great things are starting to happen, and it’s only the beginning.

Jonathan Kranz: Whereas Joe came to content marketing from a media angle, I came at it, unexpectedly, from direct marketing. Several years ago, I was brought in to a lead-generation project in which the premium – or offer – was a “top ten” booklet relevant to the target market. I wrote the book, plus most of the supporting marketing materials: direct mail, print ads, email, web copy, etc. All of it focused on one thing: the value of the information in the booklet – not the product, service or brand. The results were staggering: the client had asked for 500 qualified leads; the campaign pulled in 1,200, representing (after sales) $1.2 million in new business. The key? The offer wasn’t a gimmick – like a flash drive or an iPod – but something immediately relevant to prospects’ needs. That’s what awakened me to the power of content marketing.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Please walk us through the eBook writing life-cycle. How did it evolve on its journey from concept to launch?

Jonathan Kranz: Joe came up with the idea and began with a rough outline that matched various tactics with potential examples. When I came on board, we started by reviewing our list: adding missing tactics, deleting less-promising ones, and consolidating others that were similar. Then we agreed on a standard format: a brief definition or explanation of the tactic with an annotated example of the tactic in action. This, in turn, would be complemented by short bullet lists suggesting who should (or should not) consider using the tactic, plus three key “play points” with advice about execution. Once we pulled this together in a draft, we went through a few rounds of revisions to clarify our points and examples.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Who is ‘Content Marketing Playbook’ addressed towards?

Joe Pulizzi: Marketing professionals at non-media companies. We guarantee that any marketer, of any size, will get at least a couple of gold nuggets from the Playbook.

Jonathan Kranz: People tantalized by content marketing as a strategy, yet hungry for practical insights on tactics in order to execute that strategy effectively.

Ambal Balakrishnan: How is the marketing landscape different than what it was a decade back?

Joe Pulizzi: Simple answer — we went from a few, to thousands of communication vehicles over that time.  Consumers have learned to ignore or block the messages they don’t want. That means that marketers have to create a story that customers and prospects want to listen to. Enter content marketing.

Jonathan Kranz: Traditional marketing methods have taken a major beating. Direct marketing response rates have plummeted and ordinary advertising has been undermined by new customer behaviors: customers don’t sit around to “see” or “hear” your messages; instead, they seek out information they want when they want it. Content marketing means meeting customers on their own terms.

Ambal Balakrishnan: You have some great case studies in ‘Content Marketing Playbook’? How did you pick these examples?

Joe Pulizzi: It’s easier than you think.  Most of the case studies were provided by Junta42 certified content vendors.  Since we review these projects on a regular basis (because that’s part of what Junta42 does to properly help marketers find expert content vendors), we simply had to reach out to our partners.
Ambal Balakrishnan: What are the 3 key lessons you want readers to take away from your book?

Joe Pulizzi:

  • Everyone is a publisher. If you aren’t publishing via one or many of these outlets, you are going to be in trouble.
  • Don’t be afraid. The best way to find out what works is to start, get customer feedback and continue to evolve the program.
  • There is no silver bullet, but there are 42 (and growing) ways to get your story out to customers…to present yourself as an expert in your industry…and to ultimately change the way you do business. What an opportunity!

Jonathan Kranz:

  • Think from your customer’s point of view. It’s what they need, not what you want, that matters.
  • Experiment. Most of the 42 tactics are relatively cheap (especially compared to media buys and DM). Expand on what works, abandon what does not.
  • Jump in. You’ll learn best by taking action, gathering feedback, measuring results, and making adjustments.

Ambal Balakrishnan: What one “get started on right way” change do you recommend to the reader of your ‘Content Marketing Playbook’?

Joe Pulizzi: Listen! Your customers are either talking about you, or talking about things that are important to them all over the web. Listen, then start finding a way to get yourself in the conversation.

Jonathan Kranz: Joe’s nailed it: Listen. Then listen some more.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Please recommend 3-5 resources (books, blogs).

Joe Pulizzi:
Where to start:

Plus:

Ambal Balakrishnan: What kind of projects are you involved in when you are not writing, blogging, speaking, or consulting?

Joe Pulizzi: A few that are not ready to be released, but the big one is continuing to tweak Junta42 into a truly helpful content marketing service for marketers. Also, keeping an ear to the ground in the industry looking for opportunities (like with the Playbook) to spread the gospel of content marketing to the masses.

Jonathan Kranz: I serve on the board of directors of Notre Dame High School  in Lawrence, Massachusetts. As part of the innovative Cristo Rey Network, students attend four extended school days, then spend the fifth day of the week working in a corporate/white collar environment; the money they earn helps defray the cost of tuition. This is our sixth year as a school. Despite operating in what the Boston Globe has described as the poorest city in the commonwealth, both of our graduating classes to date have achieved 100% acceptance rates to four-year colleges!

Ambal Balakrishnan: Jonathan & Joe, thanks for taking the time to discuss your eBook and sharing your insights with us.

Joe Pulizzi & Jonathan Kranz: Thanks Ambal.

Read The Content Marketing Playbook and keep it handy. You will find great ideas for every kind of marketing project you tackle. Download The Content Marketing Playbook FREE here. Get The Content Marketing Playbook’s Table of Contents here.

Over to you…

What is the one lesson from The Content Marketing Playbook you will put to use in your next Content Marketing project?

Rebel Brown – Rolling Thunder – Powering Momentous Market Launches

I met Rebel Brown through our common friend Ardath Albee earlier this year. Rebel is a go-to-market strategist specializing in start ups, turnarounds and start-arounds in the high technology arena. Rebel is a regular contributor to our  B2B Experts Interview Series and her guest post today focuses on Powering Momentous Market Launches. Her new eBook named Rolling Thunder discusses the following:

  • The key phases of a Rolling Thunder launch and how to maximize each for your launch.
  • The power of a whisper – and how to grow that whisper into a roar.
  • Tips ‘n tricks for powering new levels of launch success – measured in revenue!

Rebel Brown

Blog Phoenix Rising Twitter RebelBrown

“Rolling Thunder builds momentum across time and markets”

Rebel Brown’s Bio

Rebel Brown is go-to-market strategist and Spin Doctor specializing in start ups, turnarounds and start-arounds in the high technology arena. She has helped to define, position and launch over 75 individual products and companies since she began consulting 20 years ago. Her clients who are technology vendors and venture firms leverage her strategic marketing and go-to-market expertise. She identifies and transforms differentiation – customers crown jewels – into compelling, customer-centric value that sells. Her blog is Phoenix Rising and her business is PeopleWhoKnow.

Rebel Brown’s Guest Post

More than 60% of companies rate their launches as less than successful.
That statistic continues to blow my mind. Market launches are one of the most important things we do in our businesses. They’re certainly the lion’s share of any marketing budget. Launches are also a huge drain on organizational resources; from product folks who create demos to marketing staff building materials, to executives as spokespeople to the sales resource we train and prep.

If 60% of companies are unhappy with their results, why do we keep doing the same things as part of our ‘proven’ launch process?

That’s the reason I wrote Rolling Thunder, my latest e-book devoted to powering momentous market launches.

Jonathan Kranz’s The eBook eBook

We are very excited to bring to you Jonathan Kranz’s The eBook eBook: How to turn your expertise into magnetic marketing material.

Jonathan Kranz’s The eBook eBook covers these topics

  • Real-life examples of marketing successes you can emulate
  • Guidelines for identifying compelling content
  • The secrets to telling unforgettable stories
  • Hints, tips and secrets for organizing your ebook
  • How to supplement your ideas with stats, graphs, quotes, anecdotes and more
  • The right way introduce your ebook
  • An even better way to conclude your ebook to encourage reader action
  • Practical pointers on tone, theme and style
  • Suggestions for promoting your ebook

We have invited Jonathan Kranz to discuss his eBook.Today, Jonathan Kranz enjoys the confidence of numerous clients and agencies. After completing his MFA in Creative Writing in 1995 (and publishing a number of short stories in literary journals such as the Missouri Review and the Green Mountains Review), he leap-frogged agency life and jumped into freelancing with both feet. Since then, he has written a huge stack of content, advertising, direct marketing, and public relations materials for consumer and B2B clients in financial services, banking, insurance, high-tech, healthcare, education, and other industries. Jonathan is also the author of Writing Copy for Dummies.

Jonathan Kranz

Blog Kranzcom Twitter jonkranz

Buyers learn to trust the sellers who engage in authentic relationships.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Jonathan, it is a great pleasure to discuss your latest eBook. Thanx for finding time out of your very busy schedule to provide your valuable insights to our readers. Tell us about what Kranz Communication does?
Jonathan Kranz: Sure. Just two years ago, I would have said, “direct marketing copywriting.” But now, I’m seeing a growing, almost insatiable demand for content: web pages, ebooks, white papers, case studies, articles and more. I’m bringing a direct marketing mindset – targeted audiences, compelling offers, a drive toward action – to the emerging world of what’s called “inbound” or “content” marketing. Although many people are justly turned-off by the hype, my clients are embracing this new marketing world for one simple reason: it works.

Ambal Balakrishnan: What prompted you to embark on writing ‘The eBook eBook’?
Jonathan Kranz: A need for detailed, specific guidance. Many marketing gurus are selling the virtues of content marketing in general, but can be awfully vague in the particulars: How do you actually CREATE a successful ebook? The eBook eBook fills the gap with actionable, practical how-to’s.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Please walk us through the eBook writing life-cycle. How did it evolve on its journey from concept to launch?
Jonathan Kranz: Slowly and painfully! It began with a eureka shower moment, then became a draft I hammered out between client projects. Connecting with the award-winning designer, Patrick Ciano, really pulled all the pieces together.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Who is ‘The eBook eBook’ addressed towards?
Jonathan Kranz: Mostly toward those businesses or organizations that have intellectually complex products or services – the kinds of offers that require research on the customer’s side. The ebook is the company’s opportunity to establish thought-leadership in its industry, and to build prospect trust by sharing expertise those prospects’ value.
Ambal Balakrishnan: What makes the eBook such an essential component of a business’s content marketing plan?
Jonathan Kranz: Without trust, there is no initial contact – no grounds for further conversation between business and customer. The ebook establishes a credibility that can initiate subsequent contact. And as a marketing tool, it’s almost unbelievably versatile, serving as a:

  • Centerpiece for a viral, buzz-building campaign within the social media world
  • Magnet that draws Web traffic
  • Potential offer for a lead-gen, direct response campaign
  • Compelling leave-behind on sales calls
  • Means to attract favorable mainstream media attention
  • Great conference/convention booth hand-out
  • Push-over piece that helps convert fence-sitters into closed sales

Bernie Borges’ Marketing 2.0 Social Media Book

We are very excited to bring to you Bernie Borges’ new book: Marketing 2.0: Bridging the Gap between Seller and Buyers through Social Media Marketing. Bernie’s book aims to give a macro view of social media marketing with a focus on “what it is” and “how” small and medium size businesses (SMB) can develop a strategy, implement it and measure results.

Marketing 2.0: Bridging the Gap between Seller and Buyers through Social Media Marketing covers these topics:

  • Marketing 2.0
  • What is Web 2.0 and Social Media?
  • Think Like a Publisher: Content Marketing
  • The Lifecycle of Interaction in Social Media Marketing
  • Measuring Results in Social Media Marketing
  • Risks in Social Media Marketing
  • Benefits of Social Media Marketing
  • Case Studies – SMBs Succeding with Social Media

We have invited Bernie Borges, the author of Marketing 2.0: Bridging the Gap between Seller and Buyers through Social Media Marketing to discuss his book. Bernie Borges is the Chief Find Officer of Find and Convert, an Inbound Marketing agency serving clients nationwide. Find and Convert helps companies get found on the web and build profitable relationships through search marketing and social media marketing strategies. Bernie is a podcaster, blogger and frequent speaker on social media trends in business. Bernie is a native of New York, N.Y, and resides in Palm Harbor, Florida with family.

Bernie Borges

Blog Find and Convert Twitter BernieBay

Buyers learn to trust the sellers who engage in authentic relationships.

Ambal Balakrishnan: Bernie, it is a great pleasure to discuss your Marketing 2.0 Social Media Book. Thanx for finding time out of your very busy schedule to provide your valuable insights to our readers. Tell us about what Find and Convert does?
Bernie Borges: Find and Convert is an inbound marketing agency. We create winning marketing strategies on the web for our clients through search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), social media, content marketing and web analytics. Our clients are mostly SMBs marketing on a national and some international scale. We are meticulous about measuring results that matter for our clients.

Ambal Balakrishnan: What prompted you to embark on writing Marketing 2.0 Social Media Book?
Bernie Borges: I started Find and Convert in 2002. In 2006 I started to hear about “Web 2.0.” As I got involved in social networking I began to recognize the opportunities for business. But, I observed that most SMBs are very conservative in their thinking. Most clients and audiences I spoke to had interest in learning about social media but were not acting on it. I wrote this book to communicate that marketing on the social web is a mindset. Business owners and executive must first understand the mindset before they embrace the tactics comprised of blogs, social networks, Twitter, video, photos, etc. The mindset must come before the tactics.

Free… for Free by Chris Anderson

The free economy that has been expanding ever since our lives got digital is generating a lot of discussions these days. You’ve heard about the newspapers’ financial troubles associated to the free distribution of their content, the music and film industries’ fight against piracy or Radiohead giving their creations away to whoever wants to pay attention. Some swear that our economies will be transformed for the best by all that is free, others say it will be our demise! Truth is, information is scattered here and there and is mostly based on opinions, not facts. So is Free a good or bad thing for us?

Chris Anderson has recently released a book about the free economy that I had the pleasure to read… for free. Indeed, his book was published on good ol’ traditional paper, but also digitally on Scribd(with more free distribution channels to come). Free brings a lot of food to the table – it starts off with a historical overview of the free economy, from Jell-O to Gillette up to Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead, then moves on to full course where it dissects nicely different models of the free economy (freemiums, freebies, piracy, etc.) as well as its specific effects on human psychology. The book is definitely an advocator of “free”, even though the author tries to give its negative side some coverage as well. Let’s say the book tends to bend towards Jeff Jarvis’ What Would Google Do politics – How can you compete against free? Instead of trying to fight it, embrace it. Chris Anderson states his point loud and clear, backed up with great amount of facts, case studies and examples. Once you’re done reading, it is hard not to consider having a slice of that cake integrated to your business model. But can this be sustained by any types of businesses? Also, for all these companies that succeed with their “free” model, how many just don’t cut it? Monetizing the free economy is still a challenge for many online and offline businesses, especially since ad spending and revenues keep going down. Any newspaper representative will tell you how much of a challenge it is.

All in all, Free makes for a great poster child of the free economy and is packed with examples, facts and statistics that supports this business model. Read it for inspiration and see if this can be applied to your business or project, but bear in mind that “free” still asks for creative monetization models. But eh, why don’t you check it out yourself and see if Free applies to you… and it won’t cost you a dime!

You can read Free for free on Scribd.