Joe Pulizzi and the Heart of Content Marketing

Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy

Creator and Co-founder

Content Hacker spotlight on Joe Pulizzi

If you don’t know who Joe Pulizzi is… Well, let’s fix that today.

He’s widely referred to as the “Godfather” of content marketing. And Joe has earned it.

He was integral in defining the term, advocating for it, and pushing marketers to think of themselves as publishers. He’s the founder of the world-renowned Content Marketing Institute and its eponymous Content Marketing World conference, not to mention a key leader, innovator, and influencer in the industry.

We’re big fans of Joe. It’s common for Julia to attend Content Marketing World and try to out-orange Joe (orange is the CMWorld, and Joe’s, theme color). Julia also live-tweets almost everything he says at CMWorld, and it tends to get widely re-shared by content marketers.

In Julia’s video entitled What Is Content Marketing?, Joe’s story was a big reference. We even made an “internet meme” that depicts Joe as an actual Godfather. 🕴

He truly is.

You can’t talk about content marketing without mentioning Joe Pulizzi.

That’s why we’re beyond thrilled to feature him in our Content Hacker Spotlight. (Speaking of thrilled: He recently wrote a thriller, The Will to Die!)

In our Q&A, Joe shares some insights, wise words, and great resources for marketers. Lean in and listen up!


Content Hacker Spotlight - Joe Pulizzi

Content Hacker Spotlight Interview: with Joe Pulizzi

1. When did you get started in marketing, and why?

A: It was the year 2000. Why? Real answer? I needed a job. And it wasn’t in marketing, it was publishing. I was lucky to fall into a media position that focused on custom publishing (now called content marketing). I fell in love with it immediately. Just the idea of creating value for customers as the core of marketing instead of distraction. Who knew that the best of marketing in the future would be publishing?

Joe Pulizzi quote on beginnings

2. What’s your favorite part of what you do today?

A: I left the industry in 2018 for my year-long sabbatical. In 2019, I dabbled my way back into the industry. This may sound corny, but I just like helping marketers. Getting them to think more simply about how they want to communicate with customers. I started an e-newsletter (called “The Random”) and still do some keynotes here and there. My favorite part is being able to be a part of the industry without having to care about working a job.

3. What’s one of the biggest challenges you have overcome in your work as a marketer?

A: Patience. Building an asset, like we try to do with content marketing, takes time and consistency, two things that most marketers struggle with (including myself). I almost gave up after two years of publishing content. Luckily I didn’t. In year three, the business took off. Time and consistency.

Joe Pulizzi's content marketing challenges

4. How has the industry landscape changed since you started?

A: The model hasn’t changed. What works best is creating something of key value in one way on one platform. The problem (how it has changed) is that marketers are publishing crap content everywhere and making absolutely no impact. More content in more platforms almost always fails.

free content marketer skills cheat sheet

5. What does the future of marketing look like to you?

A: Marketing models and media models merge into one. You won’t be able to tell a media company from a product and service brand. Actually, it’s already happening (Microsoft, Amazon, Arrow Electronics, etc.).

6. What key traits or skills does it take to be a marketing leader?

A: Have a vision. Communicate it clearly and often. Have beliefs and a philosophy that’s not easily shaken.

Joe Pulizzi on what it takes to be a marketing leader

7. What are some of your favorite tools or hacks for marketers?

A: Old school. Read one non-business book per month. Most of my best content ideas come from reading fiction.

Joe Pulizzi on generating content ideas

8. Do you have any daily habits, hobbies, or rituals you couldn’t survive without?

A: Wake up and read your life goals. Every day.

9. Coffee or tea?

A: Coffee. Lots of it.

10. What are some great blogs we should be reading or people we should be following on social media?

A: I love James Altucher’s podcast. BoSacks email newsletter (the oldest e-newsletter on the planet). Conan O’Brien’s podcast. Read any book by Don Schultz.

Follow Joe Pulizzi on Twitter + Check Out His Books & Podcast

Thank you, Joe Pulizzi, for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions!

For more from Joe, be sure you’re following him on Twitter @JoePulizzi. He also has a newsletter, The Random, you should sign up for. Finally, check out his published books and podcast (“This Old Marketing” with Robert Rose) on his website.

Have you checked out our other Spotlights yet? We’ve interviewed names like Madalyn Sklar, Sujan Patel, Josh Steimle, and many more. Take a look!

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