There are two critical differentiators for content marketing success, whether in a large or small company – and for entrepreneurs. At the Content Marketing Master Class held at the Grand Central Hyatt in New York today, Nov. 10, Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, laid them out to kick off the day-long workshop for content marketers.

“I’m going to get a little personal here, if you don’t mind,” Pulizzi said, then showing a picture of kittens to introduce his story, correlating content marketing with his own journey through corporate life to the Content Marketing Institute.

Pulizzi, a communications major in college, earned his masters – and still wasn’t sure what to do and began temping, a common place for college graduates to land. But through reading some key books, he gathered the tools he needed to get his goals in order:

From those two books, Pulizzi got his goals in order, then seized upon the second habit, starting with the end in mind. He took an orange notebook and wrote down his goals, and in the meantime, he took a job at Penton Media. When Penton was purchased by Prism on Mar. 31, 2007, the new corporate structure meant that Pulizzi’s job wasn’t aligning with his goals anymore. He left, forming Junta42, the “eHarmony for content marketing,” he said.

Junta42 reached critical mass on September 3, 2009. It was the best of times – and the worst of times – when the company delivered a multimillion dollar client to an agency, but the agency didn’t re-up its subscription to Junta42. It was the end of the company, and Pulizzi picked up another book: The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone. The lesson there was that while written goals are great, they still need to be categorized:

  • financial
  • family
  • spiritual
  • mental
  • physical
  • philanthropic

But writing down goals isn’t enough; Pulizzi also reviews his regularly. “I review them every day, first thing in the morning,” he said. It helps him stay on point for the rest of the day.

And there lie the two differences between successful and unsuccessful content marketers (and entrepreneurs): they write down their goals, and they review them regularly. For Pulizzi, that means he gets to hang out with Kevin Spacey at Content Marketing World, CMI’s annual conference.