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How the Content Marketing Institute Became the Powerhouse They Are Today

December 26, 2022

If you have ever searched for anything related to content marketing, you’ve come across the Content Marketing Institute. And for good reason, they’ve created hundreds of blogs, emails, and social media posts on the topic.



Naturally, you’d expect a content marketing company to be excellent at content.



But of course, they weren’t always as huge as they are today.



So, in this blog, we’re looking at how they implemented their own content marketing strategy to become the iconic brand we all know now.



What Is The Content Marketing Institute?



The Content Marketing Institute, or CMI, is a Cleveland-based marketing organization. The institute publishes studies and opinions about content marketing and organizes the largest content marketing event in the world. 



Founded in 2011 by Joe Pulizzi, it was later acquired by Informa, a digital marketing company in 2016. It currently has a core staff of a few dozen people and 200,000+ members in its Slack community. 



The community behind the institute makes it the largest authority on content marketing in the world. Their largest community is entrepreneurs and digital marketers, ranging from small businesses to large enterprises like FedEx.



And now their mission is to find the best way to produce content marketing and convert prospects into loyal business customers. 



What Does The Content Marketing Institute Do?


The Content Marketing Institute conducts a number of different activities. So many we probably can’t even list them all for you here, to be honest. But here are some of their key ones worth noting: 


  • Publish daily articles about content marketing that help marketers with their objectives. 
  • Publish e-books and research papers about the state of content marketing and the latest trends in the industry.
  • CMWorld – the largest content marketing networking event in the world, featuring thousands of attendees and hundreds of speakers annually. 
  • Consulting services for individual marketing agencies, providing them with unique insights about their business and how they can reach out to their customers in a better way. 
  • Host content marketing workshops educating marketers about the different methods and techniques that are effective. 
  • Personal audience and customer relations management, helping businesses map out their ideal customer and the kind of content they would need to produce to cater to that customer. 
  • Content audits, making changes to a brand strategy and helping them achieve the most out of their marketing. 
  • Coaching services in which members of a marketing team are personally trained to the highest content marketing standards. 
  • Research projects that include studies and analysis in different marketing strategies, where they take action with the intention of discovering new data and share the results with their audience. 


Who Made The Content Marketing Institute Successful? 


The founder Joe Pulizzi, played a huge role in CMI’s success story. Joe started CMI as a passion project, posting his ideas & insights about content marketing since 2011. The new web and search engine optimization was at its peak back then and people were looking for ways to optimize their websites to get maximum reach from search and social media. 



This was around the time when people on the internet started becoming ad-blind from seeing millions of ads and installing ad blockers, prompting marketers to look for alternatives to the “pushy” approach that was popular so far. 



Marketers needed a way to reach out organically and convert them without strong-arming customers. 



And the answer was content marketing.



Joe realized the potential of content marketing back then and authorized the book “The Old Marketing”, generating over 150 million downloads from almost every country in the world. This book alone brought tens of thousands of readers to the institute and it started growing like wildfire. 



He hired his first full-time employees and they started a small community with daily and weekly updates in the content marketing space. Then, they started a real-life workshop and community event where they taught marketers about all the latest techniques in the industry. 



Over the span of a decade, this led to immense growth and established them as the authority on content marketing. These days, they rank first for keywords related to content marketing and their studies have been seen millions of times.



Businesses that need access to information about content marketing such as articles, videos, social media, copywriting, search, and other core aspects of marketing can look up information on CMI and find what they need.



Now, they even host Content Marketing World, a huge event that attracts a global audience.



What Is The Content Marketing World Event?


Content Marketing World, or CMWorld, is the largest real-life content marketer networking event in the world. It is attended by thousands of the world’s best marketers and features hundreds of keynotes where new marketers can get trained and receive the knowledge they need to start a successful brand online. 



Companies such as Google, Salesforce, eBay, Linkedin, Walmart, Whirlpool, etc, send representatives and attend the event each year. This presents numerous networking opportunities for like-minded individuals who want to connect and learn new things. 



The 2022 CMworld event was open to 2,000 people and had 150 individual speakers, lasting an entire week. The speakers shared their newest insights about what works and what doesn’t, helping attendees improve their marketing strategy.



Now, this event has been steadily growing for half a decade and has little competition, cementing CMI’s spot as the premier content marketing research and networking institute.



Key Takeaways


The Content Marketing Institute is an international organization of content marketing veterans who have been at the forefront of the industry for more than a decade. Even still, their core mission is to remain at the forefront of content marketing and help marketers around the world improve their strategy and conduct marketing. 



The institute’s network is sizable with hundreds of thousands of marketers contributing ideas and taking part in research for the greater good. This helps them produce the best reports which they give away for free and they organize yearly events where thousands of marketers network and share their best ideas. 



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