Talking Content Marketing – Interview With Mitch Joel
Mitch is the president of digital marketing agency Twist Image and author of Six Pixels of Separation and Ctrl Alt Delete (my personal favourite book from 2013).
Rather than going down a strictly content route, here we discuss two areas related to the abundance of being in business in the mid-part of this decade and how we stay (and remain) inspired.
Why do businesses need to change their mindset and not shoehorn old practices into new systems?
On a macro level businesses ask themselves ‘how do we sell to people in the digital channels’ (from blogs to the social web). The thing to realise is that every channel has its own type of culture with an unwritten role of engagement and connection. Most brands go into channels to sell from them instead of learning to become part of the culture.
Brands look at channels as an engine for advertising rather than an engine for marketing. If we look at a true marketing approach this is defined as solving a problem by providing digital solutions using the layers of communication as paid, earned, owned and rented. Most businesses hone in on the paid in the hope that they can earn on it.
Are direct relationships based on understanding our audiences and to provide them true value?
Never before in the history of marketing and communications can brands have a truly profound and powerfully scaled direct relationship with an audience.
If we wanted to speak to people we used to have to pay for it, now we have the tools and entitlement to have the ability to build a direct relationship with people by capturing data and engaging with an audience to build new depths of relationships. I love the saying, “everything is with, not instead of,” we can now create a truly healthy marketing mix.
Brands can leverage media in a way to access new audiences but have a priority to build a direct relationship. The challenge for businesses now is not competing with an industry competitor, but all the people in the value chain.
Is reading linked to consistency of content?
Yes…although I think the main angle here is how do we stay inspired to create relevant and valuable content. I recently wrote a blog on this topic called ‘How To Be Inspired At Work.’
Being inspired is not a destination, but you need to get inspired and proactively look to become energised. I read a lot of books and to everyone reading is always accessible, from the library to any major news site, there are many places to become exhilarated. No matter how niche your business is, there are always opportunities. One thing to remember is that being inspired is different from having the time, effort, energy and desire to publish thinking around a particular thought, otherwise you stare at a blank screen and the screen stares blankly back.
This is what I’d suggest, go for a walk and figure out the challenges around your business and find one or two ideas that can be captured (on your phone or noted down). On a personal level, early in the morning is a release valve for me. Remember that the way to communicate is for no other reason than for yourself.
The best content comes when I have a semblance of anger and then add my own twist to it (such as a degree of humour, incorporate data or deliver a question for my audience), to take the edge off. The last thing I want to be is the ‘get off my lawn’ kind of guy.
A good example is James Altucher, he is a powerful writer and a lot of what he writes comes from frustration, not anger. It’s so deeply personal, so deeply human.
Why do you podcast?
I publish seven times a week and I originally thought that it would be easier to talk than to write, I was wrong! After over 400 episodes it is 100% psychotherapy where I look at the world and corner people who have built businesses and created books so I can push and prod them to make me better at what I do. I then publish so everyone can hear it. It is by far one of the most selfish acts of investment I have made.
Tomorrow morning if I had to take away your podcast or your blog, which one would you give to me?
I would get rid of my podcast, the easiest way to express myself is the written word.
I originally found my passion as a music journalist. Having conversations with musicians and artists for a decade was a very fun thing to do, but I found that getting the most enjoyment was the actual writing of the article. When it comes to podcast and creating blog posts, I care so much about writing, but then again what can we write about if we don’t have conversations with people?
Can you give us a sneak peak into your talk for September’s Inbound event?
I like to capture stories (and I do this as data or case studies) and then build a slide right away, albeit in a very raw state. I now have over 30,000 slides and every quarter I share what is going on. I find that people are really interested with what is happening in the world right now.
The focus for my talk is how brands need to connect and engage in this age of efficiency. In a world of wearable technology, connected devices and building direct relationships, we, as a society require less ownership ie. how we use Spotify without downloading files, we can now book a holiday by borrowing someone’s house/apartment/room. The impact is massive, but the question to ask is if we require less, what does this mean for business?
Thanks to Mitch for letting us into his world. To find out more about and tune into the weekly podcast and also get deeper with Mitch’s blog, why not have a look:
Mitch on Twitter: click here
Six Pixels Of Separation Podcast: click here
Ctrl Alt Delete: buy here