Joe Pulizzi – Founder, Content Marketing Institute

Joe Pulizzi is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, podcaster, father and lover of all things orange. He’s the founder of multiple startups, including the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), the leading content marketing educational resource for enterprise brands, that has been recognized as the fastest-growing business media company by Inc. Magazine in 2014. CMI is responsible for producing Content Marketing World, the largest content marketing event in the world (held every September in Cleveland, Ohio), as well as the leading content marketing magazine, Chief Content Officer. He began using the term “content marketing” back in 2001. CMI also offers advisory services for innovative organizations such as HP, AT&T, Petco, LinkedIn, SAP, the Gates Foundation and many others.

Joe is the winner of the 2014 “John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Content Council. Joe’s third book, Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less was named one of “Five Must-Read Business Books of the Year” by Fortune. His fourth book, Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses, was released in September 2015. Joe has also co-authored two other books, Get Content Get Customers: Turn Prospects into Buyers with Content Marketing and Managing Content Marketing: The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand. He has spoken at more than 400 locations in 14 countries advancing the practice of content marketing. He’s delivered keynote speeches for events and organizations including SXSW, NAMM, Fortune’s Leadership Summit, Oracle Eloqua, DuPont, SAP, HP, and Dell.

1. How do you define success?
Making a positive difference in the lives of others.

2. What is the key to success?
Setting career and personal goals, reviewing those goals consistently, and striving every minute of every day to reach and exceed those goals.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
There were times when I honestly wasn’t sure. There were some low points that made the prospects unimaginable, but I always believed deep down that I could make a difference. Maybe that’s what kept me going.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
“Without struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglas. I think about that often. Adversity is a natural part of success.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
If you have tried something and failed, you are vastly better off than if you had tried nothing and succeeded.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Spending time with my family and two boys. I love to read, golf, run and keep active. In addition to the business, we run a nonprofit called Orange Effect Foundation to help children with speech disorders.

7. What makes a great leader?
Lead by doing. Treat others with respect. Listen before speaking.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Don’t think about the job or career you want. Just do what you want, now. There are no barriers to entering literally any field today, and there is no need to wait for opportunities to open up. Make your own opportunities.

This interview is an excerpt from Never Give Up by Jason Navallo.