Content Inc. for Video Marketing – Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is one of the pioneers of the content marketing industry and the author of “Content Inc.,” which is being updated and re-released this month. Joe gives us the inside track on the best practices for content marketing when it comes to video.

GUEST: Joe Pulizzi – Content Inc. | TheTilt | JoePulizzi.com | ThisOldMarketing.site | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

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HOSTS: The Video Marketing Value Podcast is hosted by:
– Dane Golden of VidiUp.tv and VidTarget.io | LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube
– Gwen Miller  LinkedIn | Twitter

SPONSORS: This episode is brought to you by our affiliate partners, including: TubeBuddyVidIQMorningFameRev.com, and other products and services we recommend.

PRODUCER: Jason Perrier of Phizzy Studios

Joe Pulizzi:
“You really focus on, first of all, figuring out what’s your differentiation. Why should people even be paying attention to you? You focus on that one platform. So in your case, you’re talking about video being the content type and probably YouTube being the platform, if you will. So that’s where you’re building your subscriber base and then 12, 18 months create a minimum viable audience for that and then you’re just going to be measuring it different ways. Are you trying to sell more products and services? Do you want to measure it that way? Are you trying to create subscribers that you can generate direct cash off of? And that’s the media model.”

Dane Golden:
It’s time for the Video Marketing Value Podcast. This is the podcast where we help marketers and business owners, just like you, get more value out of your video marketing efforts. My name is Dane Golden from VidiUp.tv, where we help you up your game on YouTube for business and transform your viewers into loyal customers, and VidTarget.io, where we help you get a higher return on your YouTube ad spend with targeted YouTube video placement lists. Along with my co-host, it’s Gwen Miller. Hello Gwen.

Gwen Miller:
Hey Dane.

Dane Golden:
Gwen, you know what? You are constantly underselling yourself.

Gwen Miller:
I know.

Dane Golden:
I’ve heard you speak. We became friends at different conferences. You just don’t talk about yourself. Tell people why you are so awesome. Hold nothing back.

Gwen Miller:
All right. In a nutshell, I work with creators and brands to make sense of their digital video data. I’m currently senior director of growth and optimization at Branded Entertainment Network. I’ve worked with digital companies such as Discovery, Endemol, Shine, and Kin. As you mentioned, I am a regular public speaker on all topics around data strategy.

Dane Golden:
Okay. For you, the listener, you should know that as always, you can follow along on your podcast app with all the links we are talking about. Gwen, we have a very special guest today.

Gwen Miller:
Who is it?

Dane Golden:
Well, he’s one of the pioneers of the content marketing industry. He’s the founder of The Tilt, and particular, he’s the author of Content Inc., which is now being rereleased in an updated version. It’s our special guest, Joe Pulizzi. Welcome, Joe.

Joe Pulizzi:
Dane and Gwen, thank you so much for having me. I’m sure all your guests are special guests. I’m sure you say that every time, but I will-

Dane Golden:
We actually do say that every time, but you are a very, very special guest.

Joe Pulizzi:
Yes. I have an ego big enough to think that I’m just special, so I’m just going to believe that for this podcast. No, thanks for having me on.

Dane Golden:
Well, we really appreciate your taking the time. Since this is the Video Marketing Value Podcast, we’re going to ask you to further tilt, so to say, your angle to a video angle, but tell us why you decided to update your book Content Inc., which had done so well just as it was.

Joe Pulizzi:
Yeah. I wrote Content Inc. the first time in 2015, and believe it or not, I mean, I founded Content Marketing Institute, I sold it in 2016. I took a sabbatical year in 2018, one of the greatest years of my life.

Dane Golden:
Wow.

Joe Pulizzi:
Then, believe it or not, I decided to write novels. I wrote a mystery novel. It did fairly well and I said, “I’m just going to be a novelist. I’m out of the marketing game, going to be a novelist.” That was it. Then the pandemic hit and I started to get all kinds of emails and messages and calls from people trying to figure out what we’re calling the Content Inc. model.

Joe Pulizzi:
They’re basically trying to start a business, build an audience with the content-first approach and then monetize that audience. I said, “Maybe I can do more good through the Content Inc. model, getting back into marketing than I can writing mystery novel.” So I shelved the second version of The Will to Die and I picked up Content Inc.. I called McGraw Hill and I said, “Let’s redo this thing.” We did all new interviews with content creators from all over the world, figured out what this model was.

Joe Pulizzi:
Then of course, on top of that, not that my wife was happy about it, but we launched a new business called The Tilt, which is just for content creators, and here we are talk … Again, I’m back in the market after … 20 years, I’ve been in the marketing game and they just keep pulling me back.

Dane Golden:
This is the total Godfather III quote, “Every time I think I’m out.”

Joe Pulizzi:
I just can’t get away from it. I don’t know what it is, but I really do, I love content marketing. I love helping business owners figure out how to integrate content into the mix. I just feel it’s a better way to communicate if you’ve got it figured out. Here we are.

Dane Golden:
When you founded, and even though I know you’re not part of that now, the Content Marketing Institute, which really was the revolutionary spark for the content marketing industry, if only by just spelling it out, what it’s all about. I want to ask you specifically about the term content marketing, because I was not talking about content marketing then.

Dane Golden:
I know in your book you played around with a few terms. I’ve been experimenting for years with the term video content marketing. It has never taken off.

Joe Pulizzi:
No. Yeah.

Dane Golden:
Why is that? Which term should I be using if I’m a content marketer that focuses on video?

Joe Pulizzi:
Well, it’s a good question. I mean, and I had to take in a lot of data to figure out content marketing. When I started in this industry, it was called custom publishing. Some people called it custom content. I was part of Penton Custom Media, so in the business community we called it custom media. When I had a problem was when I went to talk to marketers, mostly chief marketing officers, and I said custom publishing, they were already sleeping by the time I was done.

Joe Pulizzi:
They weren’t interested in publishing at all. What I figured out is if you’re talking to marketers, you have to call it something marketing, direct marketing, search engine marketing, social media marketing. It has to have marketing. Then I said, “Okay. Let’s try this content marketing thing.” Then I started to play around with it in 2001 and then went, got enough data, talked to enough people, used Google Trends and figure out, I think content marketing’s the term.

Joe Pulizzi:
Went all in, in 2007 and by about ’09/’10, it became the term, and then ’10/’11, it just took off. That was our differentiation and why we were able to cut through all the clutter and then of course, Content Marketing World was our event, and on and on. To answer your question, Dane, I don’t know why video content marketing would not work. I’m under the assumption that it’s just one extra word too long, because marketers are simple people.

Joe Pulizzi:
We’re all marketers and you can’t go too much into it. I would say just video marketing is probably better than video content marketing because video and content are synonymous in most cases.

Dane Golden:
An elegant, simple solution. Thank you.

Gwen Miller:
Yeah. No. That’s true.

Joe Pulizzi:
Get rid of the word. Yeah. Too long. There it is. Hey, this has been great on today. Thank you for the time.

Gwen Miller:
We’re done. Bye.

Joe Pulizzi:
We’re done.

Dane Golden:
Check’s in the mail.

Gwen Miller:
Okay. Let’s get into some nuance here. There are businesses built around content, right? Content is really their product. Then you have businesses that more use content to promote their other business, their other products. How should they be different in their approach to video content and video marketing?

Joe Pulizzi:
In my opinion, Gwen, it’s the same model. I mean, basically you’re trying to build an-

Gwen Miller:
Interesting.

Joe Pulizzi:
… you’re trying to build an audience in both cases. Once you build a loyal audience, you can monetize that audience in eight different ways. If you’re a media company, so if content is your product, you’re going to monetize that through advertising, sponsorship, events, premium content, affiliates, subscriptions, whatever the case is. If you’re a traditional content marketer and build that audience through, let’s say video or YouTube or whatever the case is, you’re going to want to sell more products, more services.

Joe Pulizzi:
You’re going to want to create more loyal customers or create better customers. They’re spending more or they’re buying more, whatever the case is. Believe it or not, as we did all these interviews for Content Inc., the book, we found out it’s the same model. You really focus on, first of all, figuring out what’s your differentiation? Why should people even be paying attention to you?

Joe Pulizzi:
You focus on the one platform, so in your case, you’re talking about video being the content type and probably YouTube being the platform, if you will. That’s where you’re building your subscriber base. Then 12/18 months, create a minimum viable audience for that and then you’re just going to be measuring it different ways. Are trying to sell more products and services? Do you want to measure it that way? Are you trying to create subscribers that you can generate direct cash off of? That’s the media model.

Joe Pulizzi:
Same thing though. If I’m going in to IBM or I’m going in to talk to Hurst publications, I’m giving the same speech.

Gwen Miller:
Right.

Dane Golden:
Now, and I hate to emphasize all these terminology, but I think it’s really important. You’ve been talking about the term content entrepreneurs a lot lately, which I think that another term that you invented, I think.

Joe Pulizzi:
I’m working on it. I’m working on it to see if it plays.

Dane Golden:
No. I think it-

Joe Pulizzi:
I think it works. I think it works.

Dane Golden:
I think it should be contentrepreneurs, but-

Joe Pulizzi:
Yeah. I know. I just can’t do that. I fumble with the wording. I can’t word it. Content entrepreneurs I think is what it is.

Dane Golden:
I’ve used the term business creator or influencers, YouTubers, video creators, but what you define as a content entrepreneur I guess it’s really the same as a content marketer, right? I guess that answered with Gwen’s-

Joe Pulizzi:
Well, no. It’s a little bit different. Basically, let me go through-

Dane Golden:
Okay. Okay. That’s helpful to know.

Joe Pulizzi:
Yeah. Let me go through the process a little bit, because I struggled with this as a … So basically, I spent 20 years on the content marketing enterprise side. I’ve been working with mostly midsize to larger customers. Now I’m focused on basically talking to people that are just like me, individual content creators that want to build a sustainable business and have financial freedom. You’re looking at all those and I’ve looked into, okay, content creator, you’ve got the creator economy, you’ve got the passion economy.

Joe Pulizzi:
Those are all sort of the same things. Then on the enterprise side, on the marketer side, you’ve got content marketing. First of all, let’s go to the individual content creator. When I say content creator, that’s generally somebody that’s making some money in some way off of their content, but it’s a hobby. It’s a side gig that’s not sustainable. Content entrepreneur is a content creator that wants to create a sustainable business. They actually want financial freedom. That’s the difference.

Dane Golden:
Got it.

Joe Pulizzi:
There’s millions and millions of content creators out there. There’s a small portion of those content creators let’s say that start … My kid’s on YouTube, so if he’s a YouTuber, does he actually want to build a business around this? He would be considered a content entrepreneur. Most are not. They’re mostly hobbyists. They’re dabbling in it. They’re not taking it seriously as a long-term business. They are content creators.

Joe Pulizzi:
A content marketer is somebody that works in an enterprise that is not trying to make direct profit off the content itself. They’re trying to sell something in addition to that. Build an audience and then sell more products. Maybe it’s a cost savings in the organization, or maybe it’s creating a better customer overall.

Gwen Miller:
This is really interesting because I have definitely seen this myself in practice over the past 10 years, where you’ll have certain creators who are very much building a business. They’ve thought about diversifying, both in terms of platforms, how they’re monetizing and then off platform projects and revenue they can bring in. Then there’s a huge class, probably the majority who really are using YouTube, and they might say, “Well, this is my full-time job.” But at the end of the day, if you offer them a movie deal, they would drop YouTube in a hot second, right?

Joe Pulizzi:
Sure.

Gwen Miller:
They’re using the platforms as essentially a jumping off point, but it’s really not where they’re building a long-term business around. It’s just a way to market their own personal asset, which is themselves, right?

Joe Pulizzi:
That’s a great point. It’s actually a good way to look at content entrepreneurs. They’re building an asset outside of themselves. It’s a really good way to do it. For example, let’s look at a YouTuber, that’s got a couple of hundred thousand subscribers and they’re generating some advertising dollars from YouTube, and that’s the extent of the business model. That is a content creator.

Joe Pulizzi:
A content entrepreneur would be somebody like MatPat who launched Game Theory and Food Theory that has 13 million subscribers, has a consulting business, has a sponsorship program, does affiliate programming, has four or five or six different ways to drive revenue. Here’s the best part, that the creator, the originator, the founder could actually leave the business, exit the business and there’s value outside of that individual. It’s more than just the influencer.

Joe Pulizzi:
By the way, MatPat did start out as an influencer, but then you have to create the business model so that you could leave the business, exit the business at some point. I was worried about that with Content Marketing Institute, 2012, I’m like, “I’m doing so much content.” A lot of people think, “Oh, CMI is Joe and that’s not it.” We worked over the next four years to try to make sure that CMI wasn’t Joe and that I could actually exit and sell the business and it worked out fairly well.

Gwen Miller:
Yeah. You’ve talked about flipping the business model, how most businesses start with the product and a business plan, the Peter Thiel model, so to say, but you actually advocate that many businesses should start with content first and then business second. Why is that?

Joe Pulizzi:
Gwen. I mean, you’ve probably read enough of these startup books and business planning books to know they always start out with, “Oh, okay, starting a business is very risky and in five years the majority of businesses fail.” Well, why do they fail? One reason is because they start product first. You know, when you start product first, there’re so many iterations, you have so many pivots, you never get it right on the first time, there’s a lot of upfront capital involved. Why are you taking that much risk?

Joe Pulizzi:
I think the better model is, let’s go find the audience you’re trying to target, deliver consistent information to that audience that’s going to help them live a better life, or get a better job. They become a loyal audience. Then just listen to that audience on what they want to buy and do that. It just seems like a no-brainer to me.

Joe Pulizzi:
I mean, I’ve launched four businesses like this, so that’s just the only way I would go to market, because I think if you want to launch that product, build the audience first, and that way, by the way, you don’t have marketing costs like you would because you already have the marketing available. You built the audience, just deliver the product to them. You know a great company, big $15 billion company now that did that was HubSpot.

Joe Pulizzi:
HubSpot’s product Marketing Automation was not very good when they launched. What they were really good at was marketing. Inbound Marketing, the event, Inbound, the book. They had one of the best blogs out there on marketing. We called it content marketing. They called it inbound marketing. Oh, by the way, they went public and here they are today one of the most valuable companies on the planet. Really started with a marketing-first approach.

Gwen Miller:
Huh. What is content marketing when it comes to video? What is it not? Say, is a paid ad content marketing? Is a promotional video that is not paid content marketing? How-to video, silly videos, entertaining videos, everything from YouTube to TikTok to Wistia or something else, what are we talking about here?

Joe Pulizzi:
Well, those can be part of your strategy, but they’re not … Like an ad is not considered necessarily content marketing, but it might be part of the plan, but I’ll tell you why. If you’re just thinking of a … or in this case, we’re talking about a YouTuber, a blogger, a podcaster, that’s generally what you’re thinking about content marketing.

Joe Pulizzi:
You’re delivering valuable relevant content to one particular audience over a period of time and you’re building that loyal audience. That is content marketing. Now, how do you grow an audience in addition to just doing the content? That’s where your advertising comes in. For example, let’s say you were just getting started, Gwen. You wanted to do a YouTube series. You work for a corporation.

Joe Pulizzi:
Most enterprises, what they do is they put 90% of their budget into the creation of the content. That’s a big mistake because who is going to pay attention to that content if you don’t promote it? You’re starting with audience zero. That’s terrible because then you’re going to go nine months, you’re going to try to build an audience, it’s not going to work and it’s going to get killed.

Joe Pulizzi:
What you want to do is about 25 to 30% time and budget should be spent on the creation and 70% should be spent on promotion and distribution. You make sure you’re building an audience at the same time and then just focus on doing that. That’s where it’s a little bit … Yeah. Do you have influencer marketing? You would have paid advertising part of these things. You have public relations part of it. Those are all … Content marketing doesn’t exist in and of itself.

Joe Pulizzi:
I would think of, “Oh, what’s the platform? What are we creating on that platform?” That’s what people consider to be content marketing. Then you got to add everything else around that and that’s what’s going to make it work.

Dane Golden:
Yeah. As you talk about that, as you talk about the 70%, and I know that over time you’ve really emphasized email and things like that, is email the content or is it the promotion of the content?

Joe Pulizzi:
It can be both, but what I’m promoting is I ultimately promote email as another platform as the content itself. I’ll give you an example. Let’s go back to the MatPat example. I love Matthew Patrick. I’m from Cleveland, Ohio, he’s from-

Dane Golden:
Yeah. He’s amazing.

Joe Pulizzi:
Yeah.

Dane Golden:
Yeah. He’s amazing.

Joe Pulizzi:
He’s from Medina. He was born about 20 minutes away from me and he has done a fantastic job building his 13 or 15 million subscribers that he has on all these channels, but who owns those subscribers? Not Matthew.

Dane Golden:
YouTube. Yeah.

Joe Pulizzi:
YouTube does. That’s right. Matthew is borrowing them. The problem is, is that YouTube can change their algorithm at any time, which they do, and just because somebody subscribes to your content doesn’t mean they’re going to show it. You really don’t have an asset at the end of the day, YouTube does. You’ve done a great job in helping YouTube build their business. What do we have as content entrepreneurs to combat against this? Well, we do have email.

Joe Pulizzi:
What you’re seeing companies like Matthew Patrick do, like Mr. Bee, like PewDiePie, they’re saying they’re trying to get people back to their owned and controlled content. They’re sending them back to their website and they’re generally giving something away in email. In a lot of cases, that’s a consistently developed and ongoing in frequency email newsletter.

Joe Pulizzi:
I know it’s old school and people don’t like to talk about email because it’s been 20 plus years old, but email is what saved the New York Times business model, it saved BuzzFeed. If you look at Morning Brew, just valued at a hundred million dollars, HubSpot just buys The Hustle, that was $27 million. That’s an email newsletter. Email is hot right now and you need it if you’re going to build a content asset, at some point.

Joe Pulizzi:
You don’t have to start with it. You could start with YouTube, start with a podcast. You could start with all those other platforms, but at the end of the day, you need to add email.

Dane Golden:
Yeah. I really appreciate how in Content Inc. you emphasized subscribers are the key to success in content marketing. What I want to ask deeper in, and particularly … Because the new book’s coming out soon, but I haven’t read it yet because it’s not out yet. I want to ask about, what does a subscriber really mean to you? Is it just an email subscriber, a follower on any platform? I know you feel that … Let me just finish here because I had another part.

Dane Golden:
Do you have any point system that values a subscriber on one platform different? That was my question.

Joe Pulizzi:
It’s funny you ask that. Yes. In the book there’s something called the subscriber hierarchy.

Dane Golden:
I’m previewing the book-

Joe Pulizzi:
You already got it.

Dane Golden:
… even if I haven’t read it.

Joe Pulizzi:
You absolutely got it. Basically what we want to do, we look at the bottom of the hierarchy. I don’t have it in front of me, Dane, but I can tell you the bottom is Facebook. Let’s say you build a follower on Facebook, is there a value to that? Sure. There’s absolutely value. Is it going to help you build a long-term content asset? Probably not. What we actually want to do is we want to take the Facebook, then you’ve got YouTube in there, you’ve got TikTok, you’ve got Snapchat.

Joe Pulizzi:
They’re all pretty much around the same area because of the fact that you don’t control those things. They’re independent companies. Private companies own those and they can change the rules at any time. What we want to do is if we get those on those platforms, which you might say you need to start on YouTube because you don’t have any reach and your customers are there. Great. Start on YouTube.

Joe Pulizzi:
Once you build those subscribers, you want … or those followers really, not really subscribers, then you want to move them up the hierarchy so that you have more control and more data and direct connections with them. At the very top of the hierarchy, Dane, is email subscriptions, and also membership sites. If you create your own membership site, you can get their data, and you can communicate with them.

Joe Pulizzi:
Sometimes people add a Discord group or a Slack group on top of that, when you already have the data and there you have your own little community built. Those things are very, very powerful. Generally, where a lot of content entrepreneurs start at is down the chain because they feel they have to be on these other platforms first and then slowly you work up and you become BuzzFeed, you become Huffington Post. You become these big media brands that everything revolves around the email address.

Joe Pulizzi:
I’d like to say, sure, could this change in six months? Yeah. I’ve been saying that for the last 10 years. Right now-

Dane Golden:
Well, Facebook changed, right?

Joe Pulizzi:
Yeah. Everything is changing. The only thing that hasn’t changed is most consumers, even younger consumers, they usually have two to three emails a day that they really open. Our goal has to be as content creators that we have to be one of those emails that they want to open that are indispensable to them and not be a part of all the spam.

Gwen Miller:
In the original Content Inc., you’ve talked about how there’s a sweet spot for business content that mixes passion with expertise. Why is that so essential?

Joe Pulizzi:
Gwen, you picked on something that’s actually different in the new book. What I found out with the … Yeah.

Gwen Miller:
Okay. Cool.

Joe Pulizzi:
What I found in the new interviews, because sweet spot was all about this idea of mixing our skill and expertise with our own passion and we would come up with something. I found out that passion it’s nice to have, but it’s not integral. I found a lot of content creators that aren’t necessarily passionate about industrial soldering equipment or passionate about their topic, but they’re building an audience around it because they’re serving that audience and they found their own sweet spot.

Joe Pulizzi:
What we’re looking at the sweet spot now is, okay, what’s that area that you can communicate better than anyone else? That’s your skill or expertise side. What is that? You intersect that in with that specific audience and their desire. What is their pain point? What keeps them up at night? Those two mashed together then you form what’s called a content mission statement or a content marketing mission statement where you figure out, “Okay. Who am I targeting?

Joe Pulizzi:
What’s that content niche? What am I going to deliver? Is it a video series? Is it emails? Is it tips? Is it long-form content?” Then the most important thing is, what is the outcome? In every piece of content, what are you trying to deliver to that audience that’s going to help them change their stars in some way? That’s it. That’s the sweet spot. That’s where you have to start to figure out if you have anything.

Joe Pulizzi:
You’re not talking about products and services you’re selling, you’re not talking about the revenue goals you want to hit. That’s a business strategy. That’s somewhere else. The content marketing mission statement is all about how you’re going to change the lives of this group of people with information.

Dane Golden:
There’s a sentence that I use when I’m helping clients, which are usually businesses that are trying to succeed on YouTube and they ask, “Well, what should I talk about? What kind of videos should I make?” I say, “What would your ideal customer be looking to solve if they didn’t know your company existed?” I don’t know if it answers exactly what you’re saying, but I think it’s pretty similar in that it frames what the customer wants, assuming they don’t know who you are. Does that sentence seem to ring true to you?

Joe Pulizzi:
Oh, yes. I think we’re talking the same language. I mean, Marcus Sheridan, who became popular with River Pools & Spas, he was the pool guy, blogging guy. He wrote a book called They Ask You Answer. That’s his whole philosophy. Whatever your customers are asking, no matter what it is, even if it undercuts your product, you should deliver that in information to them. That’s the kind of thing we’re talking about.

Joe Pulizzi:
I would go a little bit broader and I like to say, let’s set up some listening posts, which means, are you talking to your audience in some way, sending them an email, following them on Twitter, looking at Google Trends, looking at Google searches? You get all these listening posts so that you understand that audience better than anyone else, so then you can come up with your editorial and your content calendar.

Joe Pulizzi:
If you’re about to record a video and you don’t know what you’re going to talk about, you’ve got big problems. You should have your editorial calendar already set to know, “Here are the …” I just had an editorial meeting. We have the next 20 articles already set, because we know these are the big 20 challenges that our content entrepreneurs are dealing with and we’ve got to cover them.

Joe Pulizzi:
We’re going, bam, bam, bam. Going through the whole thing. Same thing with your YouTube videos. Same thing with podcasts. Doesn’t matter.

Dane Golden:
Just so we understand what the content tilt or the tilt is, in the original Content Inc., you talked about it. Now it’s the name of your new business, The Tilt. What is the content tilt exactly? What does that mean?

Joe Pulizzi:
It’s funny because that The Tilt came from … Have you watched the movie? The Matrix? Have you-

Dane Golden:
Yes.

Joe Pulizzi:
Okay. You probably have. Okay. Neo, the one, goes in and he’s going to have the big meeting to figure out if he is the one. He sits next to that boy and the boy is bending the spoons, right?

Dane Golden:
Okay.

Joe Pulizzi:
He’s bending the spoons, bending the spoons, and the boy says, “You have to pretend that there is no spoon.” And Neo couldn’t bend it, then once he tilted his head, that’s where the tilt comes from, he looked at it differently and he was able to bend the spoon. Your content tilt is, you’re looking at your sweet spot and you’re tilting your head and you’re looking at it differently and you’re finding your area of differentiation that you can break through all the content clutter.

Joe Pulizzi:
Give you an example. Let’s say that you’re going in, you’re going to create a video series on cloud computing. Let’s be realistic. You think you can break through all the clutter with cloud computing? No way. Salesforce, IBM, Amazon, they’re all creating all kinds of content around cloud computing. You have to figure out what’s your seam? You’ve got to bust through that seam as quickly as you can, because you have to figure out what your opportunity is to breakthrough.

Joe Pulizzi:
Maybe it’s I’m doing cloud computing videos to plant managers who work at companies of 10,000 or more and deliver their materials to India and China. Could you be the leading informational expert in that?

Dane Golden:
Yeah.

Joe Pulizzi:
Maybe. Yeah. That might be your content tilt. Or maybe everyone in your industry is doing a two and a half minute videos and you think that if you did a really informative 15 to 20-minute video series, by the way, that’s what MatPat does. He says his sweet spot is 12 minutes long. That might be your content. Or maybe you’re like Joe Rogan and you have a personality different than everyone else and that’s your differentiation area.

Joe Pulizzi:
Whatever that is, you have to find out that differentiation area and lean into it and then you can actually have the opportunity to build an audience. Because what is happening with most companies, they’re creating a lot of content and nobody’s paying attention. It’s not doing any good at all. You have to figure out, why are you doing this in the first place? What is different?

Joe Pulizzi:
Then once you figure that out, and sometimes it takes a couple of months to figure it out, then you really lean hard into it.

Gwen Miller:
When you’re working to own that video content niche that you’ve selected, do you actually want to try to exclude certain audiences as well, or should you try to make it as wide an audience base as possible?

Joe Pulizzi:
Gwen, I absolutely love this question because yes, you absolutely should be excluding certain people from the audience. You want to find a content niche and that’s … What most businesses do is they’ll say, “Oh no, I want to do a video series for all my customers because I don’t want to leave anyone out. What if there’s a business opportunity?” Well, you probably will dilute your message by including all those people so much it’s not going to be helpful for anyone.

Joe Pulizzi:
You want to make sure that you’re talking just to the one, to that person. Maybe that’s a small audience to start with, but you can build that out. When we first started Content Marketing Institute, there were no titles called content. There were no content marketing managers, content marketing directors. They didn’t exist. We had to focus on the a hundred people, the 200 people in the world that really got what we were talking about.

Joe Pulizzi:
Then after, it took about 20 months, 22 months, then we started to build that audience. Then five years later we had 200,000 subscribers. You just have to work at that. Absolutely. By the way, if you’re a big company, you probably would slice and dice your personas and create all kinds of different videos for different groups of people and not just one. That’s what media companies do.

Joe Pulizzi:
I mean, a media company, if you go into a big media brand like a Hurst or a Penton or any type of company like that, they always break out into different media brands for different customer groups and different audience groups. That’s what we need to do as well.

Dane Golden:
I wanted to ask about if it matters if the video content is more about the business writing it, or is it about the needs of the customer. I want to make sure we’re getting this right because my company did an extensive study with Tube Buddy a few years ago, just about saying the word you in the first few seconds of a video. Meaning it’s focused on the viewer or the customer.

Dane Golden:
We found that if you said the word you just once in the first five seconds of a video, you could get 66% more views on average. We definitely believe it should be about the viewer, but am I wrong? Should it be about the business itself?

Joe Pulizzi:
Well, so first of all, you can do video marketing and have it be promotional in nature because if you get to a certain part in the buyer’s journey and that buyer is looking for specific product information, and you decide to communicate that product information through video, God bless you. That’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that at all.

Joe Pulizzi:
If you’re at the top of the funnel and you’re trying to build an audience and they don’t know you from Adam and you start talking about your products, I can guarantee you, you will not be watched very long. Yes. It depends on what you’re doing. Again, that’s not content marketing. That’s product marketing, promotional marketing. That’s a different kind of marketing if you’re marketing your products and services, which again is fine, but a totally different purpose than building an audience.

Joe Pulizzi:
You’re right. It has to be about the person viewing the content. It cannot be about you because they don’t care about your products and services. They don’t care about you. They care about themselves and their own needs. You have to make sure you’re cognizant of delivering on those pain points.

Gwen Miller:
Got it. Okay. I think we touched on this a little bit when talking about owning your audience, but if you’re a video content entrepreneur, how important is it for a YouTube video to have a complementary blog post that it gets embedded into?

Joe Pulizzi:
I think that honestly, that’s probably your area, Dane, more than I am. Gwen, probably you know this better. I like having a call to action too. Does it have to be a blog post? Find some outside subscription area that’s not necessarily YouTube. Now, if you look at Jimmy Fallon does a really good job. He’ll say, “Yeah. Subscribe to my YouTube feed.” But a lot of times he’ll send people back to his website to get something else so he can get the email address. That’s fine.

Joe Pulizzi:
I think that you probably would confirm with this, but most YouTubers do a really good job of again, “Hey, subscribe here. Pass this on. Subscribe.” They’re subscribing to the YouTube channel, but as they get into the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and more, then they start saying, “Okay. It’s okay to go off platform to somewhere else.” Once you build that loyal relationship and they’ll actually follow you there. Man, you probably address it better than I do, but that’s what I would recommend.

Dane Golden:
Fantastic, Joe Pulizzi, this has been an amazing clinic and I’m excited to get Content Inc., the new version when it comes out in a few weeks, where can people get the updated version of Content Inc., and find out more about The Tilt?

Joe Pulizzi:
Yeah. Thank you very much. Content-inc.com, the book will be available. You can get it at fine bookstores everywhere, including the ubiquitous amazon.com. Then The Tilt, thetilt.com. If you’re a content creator and you’re looking to be serious with your business, that’s all we are. Two times a week email newsletter, comes out every Tuesday and Friday, thetilt.com.

Dane Golden:
Excellent. Thank you, Joe Pulizzi.

Joe Pulizzi:
Thank you, both of you. That’s been fun.

Dane Golden:
My name is Dane Golden with my co-host, Gwen Miller. Gwen, how much do we love our listeners and our guests and our podcast reviewers?

Gwen Miller:
Hey, we get to talk with and geek out with some of the most fascinating people in this industry, so those of you who listen and support that, make our weeks better every single week.

Dane Golden:
If you like this podcast, please review us on Apple Podcasts by clicking those three little dots. We do this podcast and our various other YouTube videos and projects because we love helping marketers and businesses, just like you, do YouTube video marketing better. Thanks to our special guest, Joe Pulizzi. Thank you, Joe.

Dane Golden:
Until next week, here’s to helping you help your customers through video.