15 Critical Business Success Tips after Five Years in Business


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15 Critical Business Success Tips for Startups and Small Businesses

As we’ve grown CMI, I’ve leaned on many critical resources and keep them pinned to my office wall, such as Mark Fletcher’s 15 Startup Commandments, Dharmesh Shaw’s Startup Triplets, and Fast Company’s 10 Common Mistakes Startups Make. Although it’s hard to clearly identify what the most critical success factors have been during our “road less traveled”, here are the ones that I believe have made the most impact on me, on our company, our amazing employees, and most of all, our valued customers.

Be the Leading Informational Provider for Your Industry – Content marketing works. We have tremendous flexibility in our business model simply because we deliver valuable and compelling industry information to our customers and prospects. Our daily updates, our weekly enewsletters, our quarterly magazine, and our annual research all helps to position us as the go-to resource for content marketing information. Without all this, I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to grow our business, not to mention the sheer cost of sales.
Invest in the Right People – Although our people are some of the leading experts in the entire industry, we hire first based on attitude and flexibility. People with great attitudes who are fun to work with can learn and do just about anything.
Give Employees Permission To Fail – We tell all our employees the following: “Do what you have to do to be successful. Don’t wait for permission. Ask for forgiveness later.” Whether this is a solid policy or not, it helps our employees to take risks and become leaders.
If You Partner, Plan the Exit Strategy First – I cannot express how critical this is. If you partner with anyone, plan that someday the divorce will happen.

…Or Just Don’t Partner – In my experience, most partnerships simply don’t work and hamper the creativity of the organization. Just be careful.
Risk Everything, Everyday – One of our advantages is that we are willing to try anything if we believe in what it can provide for our customers or that we can gain a competitive advantage. We reach decisions quickly, and change these decisions slowly if and when they are changed.
Success Is Impossible without Failure – I saw this statement on Kansas basketball player Thomas Robinson’s arm (tattoo) and I couldn’t agree more. There were moments when I didn’t believe the business was going to make it. Looking back, it was those moments that have defined our organization. I’m no longer afraid of failure, but keenly aware of what new opportunities arise because of it.
Don’t Fall in Love with Your Product or Service – This almost cost us the entire business. Although our content marketing matching service, Junta42, was working and profitable, we weren’t growing the business at a rate that was acceptable. But Junta42 was my baby and, although I knew it needed to evolve, it took everything I had to pivot the business in a new direction. Discarding the product we began the business with was the best business decision, and hardest one, I ever made.

Get a Good Attorney and Accountant – Never do any of this yourself… let’s take a look! Leer más “15 Critical Business Success Tips after Five Years in Business”

10 Things You Need to Know about Content Marketing World 2012 | Content Marketing, Junta42 Events


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In no particular order, here are 10 things I’m excited about when it comes to #cmworld 2012:

Amazing brands telling their stories – Last year, our attendees loved the fact that actual brand marketers spoke about how they were creating and distributing content to attract and retain customers. So, how did we one-up 2011? This year’s event includes marketing executives from Google, Sears Holdings, Kraft, SAP, Intel, Dell, Kelly Services, SAS, Sybase, Openview Venture Partners, MasterControl, IBM and many, many more (we’re still working on a few more very exciting brands).

A literal “who’s who” of content marketing experts – You simply cannot make this stuff up. Every one of these speakers have keynoted some of the largest events around the world…speakers like Jay Baer, Ann Handley, Mike Stelzner, Brian Clark, C.C. Chapman, Jason Falls, Andrew Davis, Ardath Albee, Robert Rose, Scott Abel, Lee Odden and more. I am humbled by the fact that these amazing people have so willingly devoted their time to sharing their knowledge at Content Marketing World.
Amazing Keynotes – including an unforgettable presentation from Mitch Joel (often called Canada’s Seth Godin), Google’s Sam Sebastian, and our #1 rated speaker from last year, Marcus Sheridan. If you’ve never seen Marcus in person, here is your chance. (PS – We have a couple more keynote surprises on the way.)
Five unbelievable workshops – Last year, we sold out of our only workshop and had attendees asking for more. This year, we’ve added an additional four workshops including Content Marketing 101, Content Marketing for Non-Profits/Associations, Growing Your Content Marketing Agency, Building Your Buyer Personas, and Managing the Webinar Lifecycle. Leer más “10 Things You Need to Know about Content Marketing World 2012 | Content Marketing, Junta42 Events”

Selling the C-Level: 7 Content Marketing Myths Debunked

During Jay Baer’s and my SXSW presentation, we had a number of questions about selling content marketing into the organization and to senior executives. Most of the questions revolved around myths that senior marketing managers believe, but that are actually not true at all.In a recent Altimeter Content Marketing study, they found that if an organization is interested in developing an integrated content marketing strategy, they must take four fundamental steps. Altimeter said:

They must understand that content marketing is not free. Effective content initiatives require a significant investment in internal staff, as well as production and distribution resources.
They must be willing to educate and train staff in new digital skill sets across an organization, not just within a marketing department.
They must integrate content marketing with advertising so that the two strategies can fully express a brand’s story.
They must balance the desire to try new techniques, such as video, with the use of fundamentals such as email newsletters and blogs.


By JOE PULIZZI | http://blog.junta42.com

During Jay Baer’s and my SXSW presentation, we had a number of questions about selling content marketing into the organization and to senior executives. Most of the questions revolved around myths that senior marketing managers believe, but that are actually not true at all.In a recent Altimeter Content Marketing study, they found that if an organization is interested in developing an integrated content marketing strategy, they must take four fundamental steps. Altimeter said:

  1. They must understand that content marketing is not free. Effective content initiatives require a significant investment in internal staff, as well as production and distribution resources.
  2. They must be willing to educate and train staff in new digital skill sets across an organization, not just within a marketing department.
  3. They must integrate content marketing with advertising so that the two strategies can fully express a brand’s story.
  4. They must balance the desire to try new techniques, such as video, with the use of fundamentals such as email newsletters and blogs.

Making the business case for content marketing is key, but still a number of myths stand in our way. So…let’s debunk them.

Myth #1: My clients don’t consume online content

We hear this all the time. Some senior marketers say that they target CEOs, who don’t use search engines or social media. Recent Google research tells us that the average consumer engages in over 10 sources of information before making a buying decision. Also, according to research from Doremus and the Financial Times, over 60 percent of senior executives read blogs, watch online video, view webcasts, and use professional networking sites like LinkedIn. Leer más “Selling the C-Level: 7 Content Marketing Myths Debunked”

Why Content Marketing (as a term) Is All the Rage

The Rise of Content Marketing

In 2007, when we launched what is now the Content Marketing Institute, we based the entire business model on the belief that content marketing would become the phrase for organizations acting like media companies. So, on April 26th, 2007, Why Content Marketing? was written as my first of over 600 blog posts.

Apart from some amazing good fortune and a boatload of content that we developed around the idea and practice of content marketing, I believe it became the industry term because:

It’s simple (think Apple): “You mean marketing through the creation of content?” Most marketers could figure out the term with just a few seconds of thought.
No baggage: Custom publishing, custom media and even brand journalism created sometimes negative or completely wrong notions of what the industry was. Content marketing was a fresh new phrase that had no negative past to it.
It contained “marketing”: People with marketing titles pay more attention to anything with the word “marketing” in it.


By JOE PULIZZI | http://blog.junta42.com/

Content Marketing - In the BeginningNOTE: There have been a few articles recently (one on content marketing hype and one on the term ”content marketing” in particular) that motivated me to write this post.

In the Beginning, It Wasn’t Content Marketing

Back in 2001, I started selling content marketingservices as part of Penton Media’s custom media division. For the most part, we sold custom magazines and printed newsletters to large B2B organizations. We were just beginning to sell things like online white papers and webinars.

At that time, there was no such thing as the term/phrase content marketing. Custom publishing had always been the term for what is now the content marketing industry. In the late 90s, custom media started to replace custom publishing as the industry term in response to the digital content phenomenon.

We at Penton Custom Media, as a group, believed in the idea that marketing should be an asset and that delivering original, relevant information to customers was critical. Yes, there was a place for advertising, but we sold on the idea that when the advertising worked, buyers wanted more information.  Without that critical information that would help buyers make decisions, the buyer may end up going elsewhere or relying on someone else for their informational needs.  We also believed that customer retention was the most under-served part of the marketing goal set, and that consistent content to customers (ala a media company) was the answer to turn customers into evangelists for the brand.

That said, this was a new concept to most of our customers, even though the idea of brands telling stories have been around for centuries.

Selling Content

Content marketing was never an easy sell. 10 years ago, senior marketers were still enthralled with the banner, the button and the direct email. Content creation was literally the last thing on their mind.

But we persevered. When we used the phrase “custom publishing” marketers thought print or books.

Custom  media, custom content? Can you be more specific?

Brand journalism…hey, we’re not publishers. Corporate content/media…is that for the employee magazine?

Customer media…that’s so European.

Brand storytelling…is this fiction?

It was truly a sales challenge because our industry went by dozens of names and it took so long to explain what the heck we were actually selling.

Content Marketing – Maybe >>> Leer más “Why Content Marketing (as a term) Is All the Rage”

The Best Content Marketing Infographics on the Planet

As I’ve been popping back and forth from Pinterest to Facebook to Twitter viewing them all, I thought it might be helpful to put the best content marketing infographics all in one place. At the same time, I was wondering how long a blog post could actually get (this one sets my personal record for scrolling).

I hope you find this collection of infographics helpful…and, if you have other ones to add, please let me know in the comments.


As I’ve been popping back and forth from Pinterest to Facebook to Twitter viewing them all, I thought it might be helpful to put the best content marketing infographics all in one place.  At the same time, I was wondering how long a blog post could actually get (this one sets my personal record for scrolling).

I hope you find this collection of infographics helpful…and, if you have other ones to add, please let me know in the comments.

The History of Content Marketing


 History of Content Marketing Infographic

Like this infographic? Get more 
content marketing
 information from the
Content Marketing Institute.

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content - Infographic
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

The Anatomy of Content Marketing

The anatomy of content marketing - the heart of online success Leer más “The Best Content Marketing Infographics on the Planet”

47 Essential Social Media Tools for Content Marketers

It’s hard to believe the sheer number of social media tools we use everyday to help grow the Content Marketing Institute and SocialTract, as well as my own personal brand. Since there are so many, I decided to update this post from almost three years ago. It’s amazing the number of social media and content marketing tools that I continue to use, as well as the many that died over the years from lack of use.

Which ones am I missing that you cannot live without? [disclaimer: many of the tools below are CMI partner tools]
The Basics

LinkedIn – Start the practice of connecting with every business card you receive from contacts.
Facebook – Less business, more entertainment the better.
Twitter – The best way to broadcast great business content…period.
Google+ – The fastest growing social media network of all-time. Due to Google’s link with search, Google+ is now critical.


By Joe Pulizzi | http://blog.junta42.com
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Social Media ToolsIt’s hard to believe the sheer number of social media tools we use everyday to help grow the Content Marketing Institute and SocialTract, as well as my own personal brand.  Since there are so many, I decided to update this post from almost three years ago.  It’s amazing the number of social media and content marketing tools that I continue to use, as well as the many that died over the years from lack of use.

Which ones am I missing that you cannot live without? [disclaimer: many of the tools below are CMI partner tools]

The Basics

Lethal Generosity: The Key To Your Online Content Strategy

Many traditional marketing thinkers hide their competitive information, and believe that:

Sharing secrets and expertise arms customers with too much information.
Sharing secrets and expertise gives an advantage to the competition.

Neither of these is true.

Most companies believe that their competitive advantage is in some process, some product, some service. That’s hardly ever the case (except maybe for companies like Apple and Google). Anyone, at almost any time, can copy your process, product or service, especially today.


By Joe Pulizzi | http://blog.junta42.com/2012/02/lethal-generosity/
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The concept of Lethal Generosity was first coined by social media pioneer Shel Israel in 2008. Simply put:

Lethal Generosity is the concept that the most generous members of any social media company are the most credible and influential and as such, they can devastate their competition in the marketplace.

In short, the company whose representative posts the most tips, links, advice, case studies, best practices that followers find useful will always [rise] to the top, not just in influence but also in search results.  The more outbound links you post, the more inbound links you are likely to receive.

Although Mr. Israel focuses this point in a social media context, the application of this idea is much broader.

Those companies that give away their industry insight and expertise on a consistent basis, and publish that information free and through multiple channels, can dominate their industry niche – including social media and communications in general.

Can You Share Too Much Information? Leer más “Lethal Generosity: The Key To Your Online Content Strategy”