The Man Behind Content Marketing > An Interview with Joe Pulizzi

John Baker 4 years ago

Think content marketing and one name springs to mind: Joe Pulizzi. Indeed, while some may think of content marketing as a relatively recent discipline Joe began using the term as far back as 2001.

The founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe is the writer of Epic Content Marketing and the man behind the massively successful Content Marketing World event, which takes place in Ohio every September.

His awards and accolades include an Ernst and Young 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year finalist and the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council.

Joe kindly gave up some of his time over the busy Christmas period to speak about current work, future trends, and perhaps the greatest entrepreneur in US history...

Describe your role in one sentence.

Getting more organizations around the world to build their own audiences instead of having to rent them from other places.

Could you tell us a little bit about what you're working on at the moment?

I'm currently working on the agenda for Content Marketing World 2015, and writing a new book called Content Inc, targeted to entrepreneurs on how to launch a company by building an audience first and launching the product second.

What's the best thing about your job, and what are the most frustrating things?

The best thing is bring able to positively affect so many people around the world, and working with the most amazing team on the planet.

The most frustrating part? I travel a lot... probably more than I'd like to.

What's the best piece of work you have created digitally and why?

I love the audio work we are doing right now, from the audio version of Epic Content Marketing, to my weekly podcast, This Old Marketing, with Robert Rose, to the launch of my new podcast, Content Inc.

I think podcasting is going to be huge over the next few years as technology barriers continue to fall. I'm amazed by the types of relationships we are building through audio marketing.

Who do you look up to as an influential figure in your career and why?

My former boss, Jim McDermott. Not only did he give me my first big break, he really drove my current obsession with strategy and process.

I don't launch anything today without some kind of roadmap. Jim is responsible for that.

What is the difference, in your opinion, between those entrepreneurs who ‘make it’, and those that don't?

Patience and vision.

First, many of the entrepreneurs that didn't make it just didn't have the patience to stick through the early years. It takes time to build a growing business and many people just can't wait long enough for the tide to turn.

Second, too many entrepreneurs think too small. Think small goals, get small results.

What is your biggest regret or missed opportunity you have experienced?

No regrets... but... I wish I would have started building our subscriber base earlier. The first few years of content creation I wasn't focused enough on building an audience. That, and I wish I would have bought Apple stock in the early 90s.

Which three people would you have dinner with and why?

Warren Buffett: I'd love to pick his brain for an hour.  Plus, he seems like a super nice guy.

Louis C.K:  I'm totally fascinated by his path to success.

Ben Franklin: Talk about an entrepreneur...maybe the greatest in US history.

What was the last/best book you read? Where do you go to for inspiration?

I just reread Stranger in a Strange Land... my favourite science fiction book of all time. There is a section in that book on focus, which is the best example of focus I've ever seen. You'll have to read it.

For inspiration, I spend time with my kids or go on long runs.

What's your proudest achievement to date?

My two boys... but that's probably not what you are looking for.

Maybe the fact that we were able to create the largest content marketing event on the planet, bring it to Cleveland, Ohio, and do so out of a small home office and a virtual staff around the country.

What 3 things do you still want to achieve in your career?

1) NY Times best-selling book.

2) Travel the world with my wife.

3) Start a nonprofit that can help US autistic children get the speech therapy they need to live the amazing lives they should be able to live.

What advice would you give yourself, if you had to start your career all over again?

Start helping others earlier in life. For so long I focused on my own goals, which is fine... but you get much further by helping others accomplish their goals.

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