The Nitty Gritty with Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, sat down with us after awarding Pace Agency of the Year to dive in to what exactly his organization does and how the award looks to shape the content marketing industry. We wanted to know why the CMI exists and what our agency can strive for in the coming year as content marketing continues to evolve.

1.  What does the CMI organization stand for?

The Content Marketing Institute has a mission. That mission is to advance the practice of content marketing. We do that through in-person and online education and training for enterprise marketers around the art and science of content marketing (and we like to have a little fun along the way!).

2. What does the Agency of the Year award mean? How is it perceived in our industry?

For decades, we’ve had content marketing awards, honoring the best examples of content marketing. But there was never an award honoring the best agency in the world until two years ago. CMI created this program because, simply put, it’s important. There are so many agencies out there that create and distribute content—but just a handful are truly helping their clients make good, solid, strategic content marketing decisions.

The Content Marketing Agency of the Year award is important, not just for clients to see, but for the industry in general. We need to let the marketing industry know how critically important content marketing is to the entire organization. AOY is one way we can do that.

3. How have you seen content marketing evolve and how do you hope it evolves?

The art and science of content marketing is coming into its own now. Just creating good content and expecting results isn’t going to happen anymore. In order for marketers to really make this work, we are bumping into all kinds of complex issues, including change management, content management, translation and localization, real-time content creation, and internal training (just to name a few).

Content marketers are desperate to make these things work … and there is a bit of impatience because our customers EXPECT us to have all these things worked out.  The one thing I’ve learned from Content Marketing World … we’re just at the beginning of this ride. The Good to Great are being separated as we speak.

4. What do you look for in CMA entries? What stood out in this year’s selection?

This year’s AOY finalists had this in common—integrated content strategies for clients that were not campaign focused. Ongoing, truly impactful content that affects the lives and jobs of the people engaging in that content.

We looked for content strategies that were best of breed, not just for branded content, but for ANY content. I think that’s the biggest difference in this year’s selections—the content delivered by these agencies for their clients were the best in the category … including content coming from traditional media companies. That’s where we need to go. Brands are competing with ALL content out there, not just content coming from competitors. We have to think bigger, and that’s what these agencies are doing for their clients.

5. What do you look forward to for next year’s event and award entries?

I’m excited about what’s to come. Content marketing is the oldest industry around that’s still in early adoption phase; we’re just beginning this little adventure. Next year, I’m envisioning the role of the content marketing agency more as the agency of record for enterprise brands. The brand story is at the center of everything brands are doing today, and we need agencies that recognize this as a leadership role. The best has yet to come!

Keep reading in Strategy