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Spring 2016


Q: When a brand has determined its consistent content frequency, what goals should they have for their content? Is it all about click-throughs to their website, gaining followers, and gaining database subscribers?

JP: There are only three goals for content marketing—generating sales, decreasing costs, or creating happier customers. Now, website traffic and social shares are low-level indicators of success, sometimes even meaningless. If there is a holy grail metric to content marketing, it’s the subscriber—someone that opts in to receive our content on a regular basis. Once we start growing our subscriber base (the audience), we can begin to measure how those subscribers behave differently. Do they buy more? Stay longer as customers? Talk more favorably about us? That’s the end game—seeing a behavior change over time in some way.

Q: It seems as though more and more companies are simply sharing content rather than generating original content. Is that okay? Should we tell people, “Well, it’s better than nothing”?

JP: If you have an influencer strategy to build relationships, just sharing content is fine. But if you want to position yourself as the leading informational expert over a particular content area, you have to create your own consistently valuable content over time. Success could be possible if we curated content in a certain way, but we’d need to make that package valuable enough for people to want to subscribe to it.

Q: What are your thoughts on how to find affordable, credible content developers for SMBs? Is there a difference between a copywriter and a content developer?

JP: It can be affordable with the right strategy. Instead of creating content everywhere, focus on one content type, one content channel, and consistently deliver over time. That might mean you need to hire a journalist, editor, etc. The most important position you can fill is an editorial role. Getting the raw content is probably a lot easier (much of that can come from employees or customers), but putting it




1. Inc. – Inc.‘s content focuses on technology, money, leadership, and ways to grow yourself and your business, with engaging profiles on interesting professionals in the business world.

2. WIRED– Launched in 1993 to cover the digital revolution, WIRED was dictionary thick during the dot-com days. Today, it reports on business, culture, design, science, gear, and transportation— all with a mainstream feel.

3. Chief Content Officer – Produced by Pulizzi’s Content Marketing Institute, it’s the first globally distributed magazine devoted to content marketing, focusing on the tools, technologies, and processes used to help marketers learn new publishing tools. Available online and in print; the print edition is free in the U.S.


4. – The world’s largest social media-marketing online magazine, delivering daily, original articles to more than 430,000 email subscribers.

5. – Delivers original, weekly content that teaches people how to create online content.

6. – Started by blogger Darren Rowse in 2004, it helps other bloggers learn the skills of blogging and features more than 7,000 articles, tips, and tutorials.

7. – The Moz blog features posts to help you with your SEO and online marketing, written by the likes of co-founder Rand Fishkin.

8. – Features data- validated guidance to digital marketing leaders.’s publication section delivers insight on content promotion and distribution.

together in a coherent story is challenging. So find the editor first. Look at some of the leading trade publications in your industry. You’ll find many people there that don’t work directly for the publication. I would start there.

Q: When we chatted with you a few years ago, you spoke about the importance of tailoring content for print and online, even if it’s rooted in the same original content. How has that strategy evolved in recent years? And what are you doing specifically with Chief Content Officer when you take that content to the online space?

JP: Print, today, is like a trade show that all of your customers are at, with no competitors. It’s such a great opportunity right now. We have to remember that we aren’t creating a blog or a print article, we are telling a story. How we tell that story comes later. So we want to first figure out the story and, secondarily, figure out how we will tell that story in print and online. Sometimes they work together, sometimes they don’t. Generally, we will tell a detailed story in print and then edit that story specifically for the web (usually more how-to related, while print is more focused on strategy).

Q: Three years ago you said that print was offering a bit of an opportunity because less mail was being sent as companies gave up on direct mail, etc. How do you feel about that today? Are there areas of print marketing that you feel brands have abandoned and are missing out on opportunities because of it?

JP: I feel the opportunity is even greater today, even though more and more brands are seeing this opportunity, like Airbnb and Uber. Airbnb launched a print publication called Pineapple and has since suspended publishing. Not sure why they stopped, but this is a great example of a brand not following through with a customer promise. I love thinkMoney magazine from TD Ameritrade, a magazine that goes to heavy traders. They found that subscribers who receive the magazine trade five times more than those that don’t. Fantastic.

Q: You also spoke to us a few years ago about Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithms placing more of an emphasis on

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