Epic Content Marketing


Do you feel as if your marketing efforts have you shouting into a void, or throwing a bunch of ideas against a wall and hoping something sticks? Maybe that’s because you’re stuck in the OLD way of marketing! Stop trying to promote your products and services, and instead create content that will be so engaging your customers will want to keep coming back to your site regularly to consume it. Think about it – when you share something on social media yourself, is it usually an interesting or entertaining piece of content, or is it a sales pitch?

Epic Content Marketing walks you step-by-step through the process of creating content your customers will actually want to engage with. You will learn how to serve them by providing them with the information they need so that they turn into raving fans of your work, because they have come to trust you as THE go-to authority in your niche. Epic Content Marketing has options for everyone – even those of us who don’t enjoy writing, or those of us who are “too busy” to generate quality content. 

If you’re ready to re-think your marketing and inspire your audience to take action when you connect with them, Epic Content Marketing will show you how – sign up below to read along with us, or check back with this page every Thursday in June!

Watch the video to find out why I chose this book for the club:

You can find a copy of the book here on Amazon, or if you prefer an audiobook you’ll find it on Audible here. (Disclaimer: These are affiliate links! That means if you purchase the items using my link, I get a little bit of money back in order to help me finance this project. These links are to the regular items at their normal prices, so nothing fishy there!)

Here is the reading schedule* for Epic Content Marketing:

Week 1 (June 1, 2017): Introduction & Part 1 (Chapters 1-6)
Week 2 (June 8, 2017): Part 2 (Chapters 7-13)
Week 3 (June 15, 2017): Part 3 (Chapters 14-16)
Week 4 (June 22, 2017): Part 3 (Chapters 17-20)
Week 5 (June 29, 2017): Parts 4&5 (Chapters 21 – End)

*Note: The e-mails you will receive each week will assume you have already read the material by the date of the email! So you should start reading now in order to be prepared for Week 1’s email.



Epic Content Marketing, Week 1

This content covers the introduction and Part 1, through chapter 6.

Section Summary

Content is everywhere and we consume it all the time. Content marketing isn’t just writing a blog post or sending newsletter – it has to have a bigger vision. Those two forms of content are only the beginning – expand your definition of “content” and you’ll expand the reach of your business.

The “Big Ideas” in this section include:

  • Reframe your perspective. In the introduction, Pulizzi says, “your customers don’t care about you, your products, or your services. They care about themselves.” When you write sales pages all about how great your product is, or an About page that touts your talents & skills, you’re talking about yourself – and nobody sticks around long to hear someone talking about himself. Instead, make every piece of content you create about the customer – her wants, needs, pain points, and struggles. That’s where you’re going to hook her interest.
  • If you want to educate, you’ve got to entertain. From my years of teaching experience, I can tell you this is absolutely true: if you can’t hold someone’s attention, you can’t teach them anything. If your content isn’t entertaining – if it doesn’t hook your customers on an emotional or humorous level – then they’re not going to stick with it to the end. Granted: something that’s truly educational can be valuable enough in and of itself, but you’ve got to engage your customer’s interest if you want him to start consuming your content in the first place.
  • Cut through the clutter. According to Pulizzi, “your customers are exposed to over 5,000 marketing messages a day.” Is your content good enough to catch their attention – and keep it – among all those other messages? If not, think about what you can create that gives your customers something valuable, instead of just asking them to give you their money.

Ideas to Consider

Take some time this week to think through (or even better, write down!) your answers to these questions and explore these ideas through the lens of what will work best for YOUR business.

Content is King
Content is everywhere, and if you want to connect with your customers, it’s your content that will allow you to do that. With that in mind, answer the following questions:

  1. Which of the 4 choices (inform, entertain, self-promotional, advertise) do you use when creating content? Think about an example of each within your business.
  2. Are you just creating content, or are you using content marketing strategies? (The difference: content marketing drives behavior change in your customers and marketing prospects!)
  3. What are a few examples of content marketing that you consume on a regular basis? Why are you drawn to them consistently and how can you apply that to our own content?
  4. How can your content be TRULY valuable? How can the River Pools and Spas example (from chapter 6) be applied to your business?
  5. What type of content can you produce in order to be a media company (a go-to source of information and/or entertainment) in addition to a ______ company?

Take Action

Get out a sheet of paper and a pen or open a document. Now – write down every possible question you can think of that your prospective customer is trying to answer. (If this is too difficult, narrow it down to just one topic, or one of your products that they might have questions about before they buy.) Now – put these questions into a content calendar, and plan to create one piece of content to answer every single question.

Then come to the Facebook group to tell us what you’re up to and share your responses to the questions!

For Next Time

Read Part 2 (chapters 7-13).

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Epic Content Marketing, Week 2

This content covers Part 2: chapters 7-13

Section Summary

Content marketing is all about the marketing nature of good content. When it is treated like a mission critical part of your business (marketing), it starts looking and feeling different than when it is just another activity to check off the task list. The way to bring content marketing into your high-priority business task list is to focus on creating a content niche, and a strategy for serving that niche.

The “Big Ideas” in this section include:

  • Before you begin to form a content strategy, you need to identify your place in the Content Maturity Model. There is no “wrong” place to be – this isn’t about aspiration, it’s about awareness. Find where you are, and implement the strategies that will not only work best in your current stage but also help you transition to the next one. (See chapter 7 for details.)
  • Focus on subscribers. A subscriber is someone who has regularly signed up to get updates from you – they have given you permission to send them content on a regular basis. Leverage this by learning how to engage them with the right type of content at the right time, in order to move them from someone who has heard of you to someone who raves about you to everyone they meet.
  • Narrow your niche. You can’t be everything to everyone – in trying to do so, you’re missing out on a whole lot of sales. Instead, focus your niche on just one person (or type of person) – be everything to that one person, and you’ll make them into a raving fan. Use your mission statement as a way to always keep this person’s needs in mind as you create content for your company.

Ideas to Consider

Take some time this week to think through (or even better, write down!) your answers to these questions and explore these ideas through the lens of what will work best for YOUR business.

From Scattered to Strategy
If you’ve been randomly adding blog posts or content pages to your website when you think of it, or when you’ve got something to sell, stop doing that. Take some time to outline a content marketing strategy: focus on who your customer is (be specific!), how your content will serve that customer, and how you will consistently deliver that content so that they can come to rely on you for information and entertainment.

  1. Be honest: Why is content marketing not working for you? (See pages 75 – 77 in the hardback edition.)
  2. How well do you follow the Six Principles of Epic Content Marketing? (Note: if one or two of these stick out as lacking in your business, make a plan to improve those areas!)
  3. If your content is supposed to be part of your marketing, how much are you investing in it?
  4. Who is interested in your content? Are they actually your customer? How does your content tie into their buying cycle?
  5. Do you have niche or are you trying to be all things to all people? How does your mission match your niche?

Take Action

This week, create a series of audience personas. See chapter 10 for help in doing this. Once you have created your personas, think of them as the “end user” of every piece of content you create – and create that content JUST for them.

Then, come to the Facebook group to tell us what you’re up to and share your responses to the questions!

For Next Time

Read the first half of Part 3 (chapters 14-16).

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Epic Content Marketing, Week 3

This content covers the first half of Part 3: chapters 14-16.

Section Summary

For content marketing to be effective, it cannot be an afterthought. It requires a plan, resources, and effort – just like any other valuable function within your business. By creating an established process that surrounds your content marketing efforts, not only will the content improve, it will also be easier to execute.

The “Big Ideas” in this section include:

  • Create an Editorial Calendar. Taking the time to plan out your content in advance helps ensure that you’re posting content that meets your audience where they are and helps them take action along the buying cycle. If you’ve been taking the time to plan a social media posting strategy, use that time instead to build an editorial calendar.
  • Hire – and manage – a team. If you’re not a writer by trade, you need to hire someone who is, to produce the content that will connect with your customers. If it would take you more than an hour to write a blog post, you can probably hire someone else to do it in half the time, and better. You need a team of qualified people, hired for their specific skills, and a set of parameters and guidelines to regulate the work you do together.
  • Content comes in many forms. Take a look at chapter 16 – I bet there’s at least a few examples in there that you hadn’t thought of this whole time we’ve been talking about content, am I right? Think about the type of content you can create well (or hire someone to create well for you), and also the type of content that is most appealing to your target audience.

Ideas to Consider

Take some time this week to think through (or even better, write down!) your answers to these questions and explore these ideas through the lens of what will work best for YOUR business.

Systematize your business
There is success in systems – they keep your business running like a well-oiled machine. When you know what type of content you’re creating, who you’re creating it for, and which members of your team are responsible for specific tasks on specific deadlines, you don’t have to worry about scrambling to come up with something to post.

  1. Do you have an editorial calendar? Do you update it regularly? Do you refer to it or share it with your content creators?
  2. Who is responsible in your company for content creation? Could some aspects be outsourced?
  3. What types of content do you currently create? Which are most effective?
  4. What is one type of content you might consider utilizing possibly as a replacement to something you are currently doing?
  5. Looking at your customer personas, what type of content would appeal most to them? Are you currently producing that type of content? (Hint: if not, start doing it!)

Pro Tip: This book club is an example of content marketing! My mission is to help small business owners find their own success, and helping them apply lessons from small business books is one way for me to demonstrate my talents to them in a format that is valuable to the consumer.
However – I’m not doing it alone! I’ve got a team that helps me manage this content (and the rest of the content for my business). Jess is my Content Manager; she sends me questions about the books we read and I answer them via e-mail, and then she fleshes it out into the study guide you’re reading right now. My assistant, Holly, then takes that content and makes sure that it gets distributed in all the right places on the right timeline. This isn’t a one-woman show, it’s a three-woman show!

Take Action

Take some time this week to create an editorial calendar, using the outline in chapter 14 to guide you.

Then, come to the Facebook group to tell us what you’re up to and share your responses to the questions!

For Next Time

Read the rest of Part 3: chapters 17-20.

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Epic Content Marketing, Week 4

This content covers the second half of Part 3: chapters 17-20.

Section Summary

More content is available than we often realize. Not all content has to come from a single source, but it is important to focus on the content you create on a platform you own. Then use other platforms, such as social media outlets, to reach your customers where they already hang out and bring them back to your own home base.

The “Big Ideas” in this section include:

  • Content creation doesn’t have to be one person’s job. You own this business – if you don’t like to write, you don’t have to write! Hire someone else to write, and communicate with that person in a format that’s easier for you. (This is what I do with Jess! We have a Skype call and I outline my ideas for her verbally and she turns those notes into written content. It’s much more efficient that way.) If you have other employees who interact with your customers, get them to participate in creating content for those customers. Who else knows the needs of your customers better than your customer service representatives?
  • Don’t build on rented land. Create your best work on a platform you own (such as your own website), and then translate that content to formats that work well for existing channels (such as YouTube or Facebook).
  • Make a plan. Your prospective customers aren’t in the habit of visiting your website to consume great content – yet. In order to get them to do that, you’ve got to go where they hang out! This is where you make a plan for interacting with customers and presenting your content on existing social media channels.

Ideas to Consider

Take some time this week to think through (or even better, write down!) your answers to these questions and explore these ideas through the lens of what will work best for YOUR business.

Build your platform
Make a habit of creating valuable content for your own platform, and then figure out the best methods to distribute that content on other people’s platforms.

  1. How much content do you have available that is just “collecting dust”?
  2. Do you know which of your existing content pieces get the most engagement, interactions, likes and shares?
  3. Who else can you leverage (or hire) to assist in creating quality content?
  4. Which platforms do your existing and potential customers currently utilize? How are you leveraging them to share your content?
  5. What is your content plan?

Take Action

This week, I’ve got two jobs for you:

  1. Create a content audit spreadsheet (see chapter 17). Work on filling this spreadsheet with details about the existing content you’ve already created. (Hint: this can be outsourced!)
  2. Add other platforms to your content marketing plan – how will you share the content you create on other channels? (Hint: it’s not necessary to be on every platform! Start by picking one and using it well!)

Then, come to the Facebook group to tell us what you’re up to and share your responses to the questions!

For Next Time

Read Parts 4 & 5 (chapters 21-25)

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If you have joined the book club after the first Thursday of the month, you can find all the previous information right here on this page. Just scroll down to find the content of our book study, sorted by week.

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