Joe Pulizzi is an author, speaker, and evangelist. He is a content marketing expert dedicated to helping companies grow profits by creating better content. In fact, he is one of the Founders of the content marketing ovement.
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- “If you have tried something and failed you are vastly better off than if you had tried something and succeeded.” – Sugar Packet
- Against advice from his friends, Joe quit his six-figure job and leaped into the Entrepreneurial world. He was following his passion, but in the end, his business simply failed. His “pivot” is quite an inspiration and should be a guide to all on how to react to setbacks of any kind.
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- Joe was just named in the Inc. 500 with the least number of employees of any company on the list. That is something he is very proud of. Find out how he accomplished this and more…
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John Lee Dumas: Hire Fire Nation and thank you for joining me for another episode of EntrepreneurOnFire.com, your daily dose of inspiration. If you enjoy this free podcast, please show your support by leaving a rating and review here at iTunes. I will make sure to give you a shout out on an upcoming showing to thank you!
John Lee Dumas: Okay. Let’s get started. I am simply exhilarated to introduce my guest today, Joe Pulizzi. Joe, are you prepared to ignite?
Joe Pulizzi: Absolutely, John. Let’s do it.
John Lee Dumas: Alright, man! Joe is an author, speaker and evangelist. He’s a content marketing expert dedicating to helping companies grow profits by creating better content. In fact, he’s one of the founders of the content marketing movement.
I’ve given Fire Nation a little background, Joe, but why don’t you take it from here, tell us a little bit about yourself. How old you are, where you’re from, and then get a little bit into your business.
Joe Pulizzi: I’ll be happy to, John. Boy, it’s hard to believe, I’m 39 now.
John Lee Dumas: Yikes!
Joe Pulizzi: I know. It’s crazy. I started the company, the holding company, which is Z Squared Media, but the brand name that we go by is Content Marketing Institute. We just celebrated our fifth year. We’re going on six. So we’re very excited. We’ve been fairly successful here the past couple of years, but we can get into that. Basically, my passion revolves around content marketing, and if anyone’s not familiar with content marketing, it’s the idea that all companies need to be thinking and acting like publishers today where we needed to be doing less interruptive type marketing like advertising and sponsorship and more creating our own valuable, relevant, compelling content on a consistent basis like publishers do, and that’s how we can grow our businesses. And basically, to grow our business, to grow my business, that’s exactly what we’ve done. We’ve sort of created our own media company and that’s helped us grow fast over the last couple of years.
John Lee Dumas: Very clear and very precise. I have an inkling of a thought that wasn’t your first time ever giving that little spiel?
Joe Pulizzi: [Laughs] I’ve done a few of these before.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Joe Pulizzi: We’ll get to where I spend most of my time, but a lot of it is actually doing interviews, which I love doing.
John Lee Dumas: Oh. Well, we’re off to a great start. I appreciate you taking the time to join Fire Nation today. We’ll use that to transition now into our first real topic, which is our success quote, because EntrepreneurOnFire is all about getting the motivational ball rolling and getting people excited about the content that you have to share with us throughout this interview. So Joe, what do you have for us for your favorite success quote?
Joe Pulizzi: Boy, my favorite success quote is the first one that I ever found. It was on the back of a sugar packet. My father owned a restaurant. It was called “Pulizzi’s Restaurant.” I was like four or five years old. I kept this sugar packet for a long, long time, but I always remember the quote and still have it. It says, “If you have tried something and failed, you are vastly better off than if you had tried nothing and succeeded.” I remember it all the time. I think about it almost every day, and it’s almost along the lines of kind of Richard Branson’s philosophy of “Screw it, let’s do it!” That’s kind of how we live [Laughs]. I think if I didn’t have that going for us, I don’t think I’d be where I was today because most people thought we should have never started the business in the first place.
John Lee Dumas: What a great idea for that sugar packet. Do you remember what brand that was?
Joe Pulizzi: No. It was a white sugar packet. It just said “Sugar” on the outside, and all the sugar packets had quotes. It didn’t say “Anonymous” or anything. It just was a quote. It probably was a complete copyright infringement on somebody’s quote.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Joe Pulizzi: [Laughs] But it just had that quote and I’ve kept that near and dear to my heart. So whenever I get down on the business, I always think about that. I try to think about somebody saying it in Yoda’s voice, and actually I think it sounds more exciting.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Awesome! Well, I will do a little Google search and see if for the show notes, if I can actually attribute that to somebody, but if I can’t, it will be “sugar packet.”
Joe Pulizzi: Sugar packet. There you go.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] So Joe, get specific real quick with us. Get specific with Fire Nation and tell us how have you actually applied this quote to your everyday life?
Joe Pulizzi: It’s funny. I have two boys. They’re 11 and 9. We talk about it all the time. It’s almost we make fun of the mentality of and we talk about the Yoda thing a lot. “There is no try. There is only do or do not. Make your decision. Be very clear with what you want to accomplish. Dream big.” When I started the company in 2007 with the support of my wife who’s cofounder in the business with me, I remember getting calls from a lot of my friends who were saying, “Joe, you’re crazy!” I left a 6+ figure executive job in the media business to go and do this. The kids at the time were 2 and 4. It was a completely stupid thing to do. We went and looked at the cost and just said, this is where the passion was and just wanted to get it done. What I’ve realized, I guess kind of taking that sugar packet quote to the next level, what I’ve realized is that most entrepreneurs don’t make it. Most people actually don’t start a business because they don’t feel they can do it. It’s just the belief in yourself and the belief that you can do it and the belief in a bigger idea. So that’s just kind of what I try to instill in my kids. That’s the biggest thing. I almost try to live the business or live my life within the business like what is this saying to my children – I have a home office – that they can see every day? So if they would be proud of that, if that would be a good representation of how I would want them to live their life, then kind of this is how we do it. And I would never ever want them to back down from anything. So it’s just like, boy, if you’re passionate about something, do it, and don’t listen to anybody. Don’t listen to anybody else. Usually, whatever you feel inside your gut is the right way to go.
John Lee Dumas: I love that because that is such a common theme with people who are trying to make that initial launch as an entrepreneur, is the feedback they get from those around them is always overwhelmingly negative and it’s so sad to see. Being from Maine, this visual has always really struck home for me, but I’ll share it now with Fire Nation. It’s that visual of the crab bucket. When you have a bunch of crabs in a bucket, you always have one crab that’s trying to crawl out of that bucket, and as soon as that crab comes close, all of his buddies will grab him and drag him back down. It never fails. And I’m telling you, I’ve seen it firsthand. I’ve heard it multiple times used as an analogy and as a reference.
That is exactly what happens to entrepreneurs. You were brave and you struck out on your own. Your friends, even subconsciously, I’m sure they wished you well, but they were trying to drag you back into what you were currently doing and you were successful at, probably for what they thought was for the better good, but as you know now, you were able to silence what they were saying and go forward in your own direction.
Joe Pulizzi: Boy, you’re exactly right, John. I mean the thing is is that I think the biggest problem with that happening is you can create so many different excuses like it’s not the right time, I don’t have enough money, it’s not the right idea, it’s not the right niche. I mean you can go on and on because I had all of them, and still do this. I mean you still question if you’re doing or having the right direction, but that’s the biggest thing. I would just tell everybody out there, “No, it’s not the right time. It never will be. It’s not the right idea. Probably 10 other people have that idea or maybe a thousand other people.” That’s kind of what you learn as an entrepreneur in a business, is it’s not about the ideas, it’s about the execution. It’s all about execution because most of the people have great ideas for – I mean I’m sure there are a thousand people that had Jobs’s idea for the iPad, which he stole from somebody else, but he executed it in a different way. It’s all about execution.
John Lee Dumas: It’s all about execution. You’re exactly right. I just got done reading the Jobs’s biography. I mean Apple was built off of stealing Xerox’s idea. I never knew that Xerox, the copy machine [Laughs].
Joe Pulizzi: It’s so crazy, man! I even talked to my oldest son about Steve Jobs and I said Steve Jobs didn’t have an original thought. He just took the best of everybody else’s and said, “Boy, let me move it and just iterate it just a little bit. Just a little bit,” and that’s all he needed, and he was a master marketer.
John Lee Dumas: A master marketer. Let me tell you, I’m getting so fired up right now and I’m positive we probably already had a hundred listeners stand up from their cubicle, walk to their boss’s office and quit. So before we keep going down this and have too many people just get so fired up, let’s go to the next topic because I could talk about this all day and we’ll continue to do so, but the next topic we’re going to talk about is failure because as an entrepreneur, man, do we face failure, and you know what? We need to embrace failure because if we’re not failing, we’re not improving and we’re not growing as entrepreneurs. So it’s our job to fail every single day. Joe, you’ve had an amazing journey as an entrepreneur. Take us back to a time when you failed or when you’ve really had to overcome an incredible obstacle. Share that with us.
Joe Pulizzi: Boy, there’s been so many little failures and I guess you just try to learn from them along the way, but probably the biggest one, so I started the company in 2007. My first brand name was “Junta42.” Junta42 was like the eHarmony for content marketing, so we tried to be a little matchmaking place for brands and companies that were trying to get content created. It was going well. We matched up over a thousand different projects, but in 2009, I started to see that the business model wasn’t working from a financial standpoint. So we were getting notoriety or the brand was getting out there, but boy had I come to Jesus’ meeting and the by member really well on the backyard. One of my customers just said that they weren’t going to renew and it was the best ROI that I showed to any customer that we had. Basically, we gave them a million dollar project through the system and they didn’t re-up, and re-up was about $5,000. And I said, “Wow! If my best case study doesn’t re-up, this whole thing is going to fail.” My heart was broken. It was like I just came to the realization that this is not going to work this way. I’ve had all the thoughts of, “Oh my gosh, I should’ve never done this! Should I go back to Penton Media where I was an executive?” I mean I had all these thoughts.
John Lee Dumas: Of course.
Joe Pulizzi: Yes, it was going. And then I had that little moment there where I felt sorry for myself because the money wasn’t there. I mean we made a lot of sacrifices as a family to get to this point, as most entrepreneurs do. We bootstrapped the whole thing. And then after feeling sorry for myself, I said, “Alright. Well, what do we need to do and overcome this?” and I did the notorious pivot. That pivot was to change the entire business model from this online service company, a matchmaking company, to a business model which is now a media company model where I said, “Okay, well if we feel we’re the leading experts in content marketing, what can we do?” We launched. That was that day. We made the decision that we’re going to launch an event, which ultimately became Content Marketing World. I said I’m going to launch a magazine. A print magazine, mind you, that everybody said was the stupidest idea in the world. I said I’m going to launch a print magazine in this market, and the market in 2009, as you remember, is not very good.
John Lee Dumas: Not good.
Joe Pulizzi: So we launched the print magazine called “Chief Content Officer” and we launched a whole new brand. Basically, the Junta42 brand does not exist anymore and we have a new brand called “Content Marketing Institute,” which everybody knows us at now, and did that pivot. I guess the biggest thing that I learned is I fell in love with the idea of Junta42. That was my baby. That was the thought that I left everything for, and I just had to say, you know what? It’s not about that. You can’t fall in love with this stuff. I had to make the business decision of going at a different way, and that day in my backyard was when Junta42 died and Content Marketing Institute was reborn, and it was the worst and the best day of an entrepreneur that I’ve had.
John Lee Dumas: Pivoting has to be a tool in every single entrepreneur’s toolkit. You have to be able to have that flexibility when you see the writing on the wall. I’ve referenced this book multiple times because it’s so great for entrepreneurs just to really learn from and to read and to embrace, and that’s Seth Godin’s book “The Dip” because there’s a lot ways to look at that book, but basically, The Dip really does a great job explaining on how a lot of companies cannot make it through the dip and they just are down in that dip period which always comes and they end up quitting or just failing right before that end line where they would actually start to see an increase in what they’re doing. And then at the other times, there’s companies that just continue to push through the dip and actually still hit that wall because there’s just nothing there for them, and you were in that second category where you were going along and you were still pushing forward because you were in love with what you were doing, and then you finally realized that, hey, this is just not going to work. This is not a dip. This is absolutely a canyon that’s never going to improve and you were able to make that pivot. So I really commend you for being able to one, ride out the dip and really see it to its end and then make a successful pivot. Those are two things that a lot of entrepreneurs fail in doing and you were able to succeed in both.
Joe Pulizzi: I think the biggest thing is, and you mentioned this, is like, boy, every entrepreneur falls in love with their first idea. But now, you kind of have to look at the bigger picture. I think the other thing that I – this is what I learned and I had a couple of really good mentors at the time kind of show this to me, which is another important thing, right? I mean you have some mentors that are willing to call BS and tell you that you’re not so great. That you may want to look at things – they’ll support you as an entrepreneur and they do that by being honest with you, which I can’t say enough. I think that what I was told by enough people was is that the business model I had was limiting in the way that we weren’t thinking big enough. I had enough people say, “Joe, look. You’ve got a great idea, but you’re not,” and basically that this company is doing this and this company is doing that. You need to be doing that and more. You’re not thinking big enough.
And boy, I thought I was thinking big, right? I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve done my own company. It’s fantastic! What are you talking about not thinking big enough? I’ve put everything on the line. But the real thing was we weren’t thinking big enough in the ideas. That which now the mission is basically I want to see more of every company around the world spending more of their money on creating their own content and own information rather than advertising. That’s a big, very audacious goal, I think of basically seeing a total switch. We’re starting to see that, which is fantastic, but I was just focusing on this little, teeny product and I think that we were thinking more of ourselves than the industry at large, and I think when we took the next step, it made all the difference in the world.
John Lee Dumas: That is valuable insight. We’re going to use that now to transition to our next topic and kind of get back into your journey as an entrepreneur. You were so generous in sharing with us a major struggle and a failure that you’ve had, so thank you for really giving us a peek inside your life as an entrepreneur. Let’s go to the other end of the spectrum now, and that’s the aha moment. That’s that moment where this light bulb just came on, where the clouds parted and the sun just shined through. I know you’ve had a lot of small aha moments in your life and you continue to do so every day, but can you pick out one large aha moment that you’ve had and share it with us?
Joe Pulizzi: I’ve been thinking about that, John. You’re right. If I was to answer the question honestly, I’d say there’s probably even a thousand little ones. I think the idea came when – a couple of things. I think first off, the book, actually writing a book. First of all, you’ll never make money off of a book. I mean unless you’re J.K. Rowling or John Grisham or whatever the case is. There’s very few people that make money actually off of the distribution of a book, but what a book can do is it can change your business and have people look at you differently, and it basically opened up doors and opportunities. Publishing “Get Content, Get Customers,” which was the first book that I co-wrote with Newt Barrett, it was amazing on how many doors it opened. We started to get calls for keynote opportunities, for guest posts on very important websites. And then one amazing point where I said, “Oh, this is really cool is I started getting calls from Europe to come over and do keynotes over there. Basically, they had never seen me before. Never saw a video, didn’t know if I could speak, but they knew I wrote this book. That was amazing to see that and I said, “Wow! This content stuff really works!” I said why don’t we do more of that?
So I think based on the first book, and then into the second book and the idea where you create – I call it a “pillar of content,” a pillar type content where it is revolutionary type content for your target audience that you could be creating, and it opens up unbelievable doors. So it probably was actually getting that book out in distribution. That book, we self-published that book. McGraw-Hill actually called us. They saw the success of the book and they found a white paper that I wrote based on the book, and they called up and they purchased the rights to it and started distributing it that way. So I guess that’s probably the big one, is to say a blog and a book. If you’re an entrepreneur, you got to have an amazing blog and an outstanding industry-moving book, and it will open so many doors for you you will not believe.
John Lee Dumas: Love it! Love that insight, love that content that you’re sharing with us. On that note, have you had an I’ve made it moment, Joe?
Joe Pulizzi: Oh man! [Laughs] It was I got onstage for Content Marketing World. So Content Marketing World is our big event. It’s the largest industry conference now. We had over a thousand people at the most recent one, but our first event in 2011, so as I was talking about, that pivot moment where I was in the backyard feeling sorry more for myself. I said, “We’re going to launch an event!” Well that event, to start with, it was like, “Oh, let’s do an event. Like 150 people.” Well 600 showed up for that event and I got up onstage at the opening of that event. And mind you, in orange NASA suit because I’ve got this thing for the color orange, but we can talk about that later too.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Sure.
Joe Pulizzi: I got up onstage and saw 650 people or something in front of me and I really was like I almost had a tear in my eye and just said, “Wow! This is it! This is big!” These are people that spent over a thousand dollars each to go to this event, and I said, “Wow! This is going to happen. This is working.” So that was probably the one where I could get up there, because online, I mean most of our stuff is online content so you don’t really see the people engaging in your content, but when you get 600 people that registered to an event and you can see them and look them in the eye, I tried to make it to every one of those people and shake their hand and thank them for coming.
John Lee Dumas: That’s a great I’ve made it moment. It’s very visual and it just rings so true with what you’ve done and what you’ve created and it’s so important as entrepreneurs to actually appreciate the achievements that you’ve accomplished, and you are obviously doing that in a lot of areas with your business, with your family and with everything that you’re doing. So it’s great to see that and I definitely commend you on that, Joe.
Joe Pulizzi: Thank you, thank you. Absolutely.
John Lee Dumas: So let’s move into your current business now. You have a lot of things going on in a lot of different areas. You are really being everywhere. You’re embracing that mentality and I love to see it, but what’s one thing that’s really exciting you about your business right now?
Joe Pulizzi: I thought about this for a little bit, John, and I think the most interesting part and where I get a lot of questions from entrepreneurs on how we do it, so we were blessed enough to make the Inc. 500 this year, so I just thought that was a cool thing and the staff felt like that was an awesome thing. But as we went through the employee numbers, we had the least amount of employees of any of the 500 companies on that list. What I love about, what gets me excited about our business model is the fact that – and we have a lot of flex time people that work for us. Probably, I mean if you looked at them, by over 20 like flex time people that work in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning because they wanted to take their kids to school and they want to write here and do that. I love the fact that this business model that we’re doing right now would have not existed 5, 10 years ago and we can work it where we’ve got people from all over the world working and they work when they want to and they’re completely happy, and they’re vested in the business but they don’t have to come into the office every day. I just love that.
John Lee Dumas: That is great and that is something to be extremely excited about. You’re so right. Even as recently as five years ago, this stuff just wasn’t as possible as it is now. So on that note, what is your vision for the next five years? What do you see Joe Pulizzi doing and being five years from now?
Joe Pulizzi: Oh, there’s such a long way to go. I mean if we’re looking at the industry of content marketing as a bell curve, I mean we’re still on early adoption phase, which is really cool for the business model. So I don’t know. I guess the biggest thing is I spend most of my time right now in interviews like this and in meetings. My job is to think bigger and hire really, really smart people to grow the business, and I need to make sure that I’m out. I read an article in Inc. Magazine this week actually about a CEO that said his job is not to be in the office. His job is the outside of the office because I can have a clear vision of what’s going on with the industry and my company if I’m not in the office. I just thought that was interesting and I’m trying to almost look at it that way because if I want to serve the employees and then serve our customers, I need to talk to as many people as possible that are getting their hands dirty in the business.
So I think ultimately, if we can grow this company and kind of be when people say who is the leading company in content marketing, they could think of Content Marketing Institute, but that bigger goal that I mentioned before, I want people to not have to worry about renting somebody else’s media channel to get attention. I want them to say, “Look, we have something important to say and we need to say it and share it and we can share it in this way,” and they can create their own passionate subscribers themselves and they don’t have to go outside to do it. I think we’ve just cracked the surface of that, and until we see the majority of people thinking that way first instead of thinking how do we interrupt them to get them to talk about us or to buy our product, we still got a long way to go.
John Lee Dumas: Man, that is exciting stuff though. Wow, do I hate to do this because I am just enjoying this content that you’re sharing so much, but we have reached the point now where we’re at my favorite part of the show, which is the Lightning Round. I get to ask you a handful of questions, Joe, and you come back at Fire Nation with amazing and mind-blowing answers.
Joe Pulizzi: [Laughs] That’s great.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Joe Pulizzi: Let’s do it!
John Lee Dumas: What was the one thing that was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Joe Pulizzi: I was waiting for the right time to launch with two small kids. I thought there would be a right time, and then finally I had to actually set a date and realize, no, there’s no right time. So anybody listening out there, there’s never ever, ever going to be a right time. Now is the perfect time. So launch a business now.
John Lee Dumas: If you waited for the right time, is it fair enough to say that you’d still be waiting and waiting?
Joe Pulizzi: I absolutely would be waiting. This never ever would have happened.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Joe Pulizzi: It never would because there’s always something. I need more money, I need more cash and it’s a bad idea. I need more exposure, I need a better speaking spot, I need to write another book. You can think of a million excuses. So just get rid of them. There will always be another excuse, so forget about any of them.
John Lee Dumas: What is the best business advice you ever received?
Joe Pulizzi: Oh, I love – and it’s probably used so much on your show too, John – but I love Richard Branson. I would read anything he puts out for the fact that the whole idea of the screw it, let’s do it, I’m just like that guy, I mean he’s starting spaceships now and the whole Oceanic thing that he’s got, Virgin Oceanic. I just was like, man, he just looks for the biggest problems in the world and see if he can come up with a solution, and I love that. I guess what I’ve learned from that is, is that maybe I’m not dreaming big enough, and I ask myself that question all the time. Am I thinking big enough today? I think we have to ask ourselves that.
John Lee Dumas: Yes. And speaking of Inc. and you being in the Inc. 500, I just got the new Inc. in today, and shocking who’s on the cover, Mr. Richard Branson.
Joe Pulizzi: I know. Inc. can put him on the cover every time.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs] Nobody would ever get tired of it.
Joe Pulizzi: Exactly.
John Lee Dumas: What’s something that’s working for you or your business right now?
Joe Pulizzi: I would say there’s a lot of things, but brick content – I call it “brick content.” I stole it from my good friend, Jay Baer and Chris Sietsema over at Convince and Convert. They talk about bricks versus feathers. That most companies put out feather content. Basically passing content that nobody else really cares about that is good for the next five seconds but won’t last. So I try to think about can we put out lasting information to the industry that is going to change the industry in some way? So we put most of our resources on staff right now from a content perspective saying, “Can we really move the industry with content that nobody else is providing that is so, so needed by our buyers out there and customers out there? So I’m trying to get our editorial team to think of brick content versus just the daily of how to five steps and all that. That’s fine, but we need more brick content in our world because everybody has more stuff. We all have more stuff when there’s more stuff – the tension and problems that your customers have. So don’t create more stuff. Create amazing content in the form of bricks.
John Lee Dumas: I love that, and we did have Jay on the show and it was another great interview that we had with him just focused on content. It was so good and such valuable information.
Joe Pulizzi: Jay’s great.
John Lee Dumas: So Joe, do you have an Internet resource like an Evernote that you’re just in love with right now that you can share with Fire Nation?
Joe Pulizzi: I don’t have one like that, but I guess I would say it’s probably “Endomondo.” Endomondo is an app that I use that keeps track of when I go running. I would say that this has been real helpful for me, and I know a lot of entrepreneurs, some are doing it and some are not. I need a time every day where I’m out there working out. Like physical activity, like really taking it to the limit. Part of my goals was to set up and do a half marathon this year. So I have one in a couple of weeks that I’m doing and I’m working out for that. That keeps track of what I’m doing. It keeps me accountable to what I’m doing. I would say, man, you need to get thinking about not the business sometimes, and sometimes you get your best ideas when you’re not thinking about the business, for the business, and just start working out or getting some kind of physical activity.
John Lee Dumas: I love that resource, and I kind of complement that resource. I just made the purchase of “Fitbit,” which has been such a positive in my life because what Fitbit does is it counts your steps and counts your miles and counts your calories burning. It logs it all wirelessly to a dashboard, and the beauty is you can link it to your friends that have Fitbit. So you better believe that when you’re in a competition and your friends all have their live stats being updated about how many steps they’ve taken, how many miles they’ve walked or run that day, you better believe that you’re going to get out there when you maybe thought that you were a little too tired to do it when you have something like that kind of spurring you on. So I love Endomondo? Am I pronouncing it correctly?
Joe Pulizzi: Endomondo. Yes, Endomondo. Just like it’s pronounced.
John Lee Dumas: Great! I will link that up in the show notes and I’ll put Fitbit right next to it because I’m a big believer in that as well. So great, awesome stuff. Joe, what’s the best business book that you’ve ever read?
Joe Pulizzi: Well, actually, it’s funny. I just finished “The Hobbit.”
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Joe Pulizzi: [Laughs]
John Lee Dumas: The movie is coming out soon.
Joe Pulizzi: Exactly. I want to prepare for the movie, so I’ve got that done. But in the last six months, the business book that I absolutely loved, and I’m actually going through it again, is a book called “Brandscaping” from Andrew Davis. Andrew has been a speaker of ours for the last couple of years and he wrote this incredible book and it’s really – I don’t want to give it all away, but it’s about how to leverage your partners to co-create content because a lot of entrepreneurs I talk to say, “We don’t have the resources. We can’t do this, Joe,” and what Andrew teaches you is how you can leverage your other partners that have similar audiences but are noncompetitive to create amazing content. So I would recommend that, and that book is called “Brandscaping.”
John Lee Dumas: Awesome! We will link that up in the show notes as well. This is the last question, Joe. I’m pretty excited because you said you’re a fan of Tolkien, Mr. J.R.R. himself, so I think you’re going to be able to relate to this question. If you woke up tomorrow morning in a new world – this world is identical to earth, but you knew nobody. You still have all the experience and knowledge that you currently have, but only $500 in your pocket and a computer with Internet access. Your food and shelter is taken care of, but what would you do specifically in the next seven days?
Joe Pulizzi: Boy, that’s a heavy, heavy question.
John Lee Dumas: Heavy!
Joe Pulizzi: It sounds like where I was at when I started the company [Laughs]. I would say I would set up a WordPress blog. Pick a niche so fine tuned in this area where I could actually say that I’m the leading expert in this niche because most people go wide. You go really deep, really small as you possibly can and start to create the most amazing and compelling content. I really believe that from an entrepreneurial standpoint, if you can create your content platform first, it opens up all kinds of possibilities for products down the road. So that’s what I would do. Create the blog, find your niche, start blogging, start getting active in the right communities and just let it fly and don’t hold anything back. Give away every secret you can in the world and be authentic as possible and you’ll attract the right audience and give yourself the right opportunities. That’s exactly what I would do.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome, actionable advice, Joe. You’ve given us great actionable advice this entire interview and we are all better for it. Give Fire Nation one parting piece of guidance, then give yourself a plug, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Joe Pulizzi: Oh, a parting piece of guidance. I would just say look at what you’re doing and see – somebody just told me the other day, it’s just like are you affecting enough people? So focus. Focus on the niche where you can really be the leading expert, and I think that if you do that, you can affect more people in a positive way. So don’t be everything to all people. Focus on who your real target audience is and how you can help them. So go deep and narrow. That’s what I would focus on.
Boy, as a promo, I would just say, boy, if you’re interested in anything we’ve got to say, go to contentmarketinginstitute.com. Our big event will be in 2013 in September. Content Marketing World will be in – oh, if anybody’s listening in Australia, we’ll be in Australia, March 4th, 5th and 6th in Sidney for Content Marketing World, Sydney. My latest book is “Managing Content Marketing.” So if you really dig this stuff and you’re trying to do it for yourself, Managing Content Marketing will help you get there.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome stuff, Joe. Thank you so much for taking the time to join Fire Nation, sharing your wisdom. We salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.