Two powerhouse content marketers –– Joe Pulizzi and Jason Miller ––join host Justin Gray in this episode of “Driven: How Did I Get Here?” podcast. Joe Pulizzi is the founder of Content Marketing Institute, author of Content Inc, and a speaker and entrepreneur. Jason Miller is the global content marketing leader for Linkedin, best selling author, and rock and roll photographer.
What did you want to be when you grew up and how did that lead you here today?
Joe: I wanted to be a farmer actually. I loved growing things, and I actually tried my hand at farming, and nothing grew, so I said “I’m not very good at this farming thing.” I better try something else. I grew up around entrepreneurs. Regardless of what I was doing, I knew that I wanted to be my own boss, and it took me a while to figure out what my tilt would be.
Jason: I wanted to be a rock n’ roll bass player. At no point did I say I wanted to be a good marketer, I can tell you that for sure.
What about being an entrepreneur was attractive to you?
Joe: Honestly, I liked the idea of doing something different every day, and being in all aspects of the business. You’re in control of your own destiny from a day-to-day standpoint.
What advice would you give to your younger self if you had all the experience you have today? Jason: When I was in the music business, I probably stopped learning for those 12 years, so never stop learning. Learn a foreign language, and get really good at it, and never stop writing. I feel like I’m constantly trying to catch up and be a better person, a better marketer, a better writer, a better father. I love writing, I love helping people and solving problems and taking very complex situations. I just wish I had started earlier. So, never stop learning, keep progressing, and keep that determination going.
How important is writing for anyone’s success these days? Can you be a successful entrepreneur and not write?
Joe: I know you can, there’s no one formula to getting there. If you look at any of the entrepreneurial books, it’s done a million different ways, but maybe the easiest way to do it today is to write or create content and build an audience consistently over time. Once you have an audience that knows, likes, and trusts you, over time you can monetize that. I don’t care what industry you’re in, you can monetize it. There’s never been a greater time for entrepreneurs than right now. You just have to cut through the clutter.
Jason: In the early days of Marketo, they wrote their first blog before they wrote their first line of code. They built that leadership, then they built a product, and I think it speaks for itself where John and Phil took that company. Good writing is hard, and I think that pushes people away in this era of short attention spans. If you have the passion, and you can write well, in marketing, the rest of the stuff will just be learned.
What is your favorite interview question?
Joe: “Do you know what your goals are? When you get up in the morning, what are you trying to accomplish?” I’m looking for career goals, individual goals, family goals. Are they written down? If you want to see what successful people look like, they wake up in the morning and have a mission. Really understand what you want, and first thing in the morning, decide what you are going to do so you won’t get distracted.
Jason: I ask, “Are you a writer?” Maybe it’s not writing long form content, but you are a copywriter or you are writing social media updates. The second part of that is, “Who do you look up to? Who are your mentors? Who is your inspiration?” If you would’ve asked me that five years ago, many of them would be the same answers they are today. If you don’t have a mentor, or somebody that inspires you that’s in the business that you want to be in, then I’m a little bit hesitant to carry on that conversation.
For more about how Joe and Jason have developed themselves as entrepreneurs and used
content marketing as their gateway, tune in to the podcast. Connect with Joe and Jason on Twitter at @JoePulizzi and @JasonMillerCA.
Meet Justin Gray
Justin is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of LeadMD, the world’s largest revenue operations agency having implemented over half of the Marketo user base. Justin has made a career of launching successful companies and scaling them, with successful exits of over 200MM+ in the last decade. Justin’s latest endeavor launched in 2016 when he co-founded Six Bricks an online learning startup designed to combat employee and customer churn through experience-based education. Over the past 10 years, Justin has emerged as a strong voice for entrepreneurship, marketing and culture. As a recognized speaker, Justin has been published over 350 times in industry publications and holds his own column, Tribal Knowledge in Inc., while writing for Entrepreneur, Tech Crunch and others. Justin and his wife Jennifer met over marketing and three years later welcomed their son, Grayson, into the world in April of 2017.