Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute and author of Epic Content Marketing, is regarded as one of the industry’s earliest evangelists.  We welcomed the chance to get his take on the future of the industry, and we share his determination to help brands realize that content should be an important asset of every organization.

1. What content marketing trends should we expect to see in 2015?

Even though content marketing, as a practice, is hundreds of years old, this is pretty new for most organizations. In the next 12 months, I expect to see the continued evolution of the marketing department. It will begin to look and feel more like a publishing operation. The vast majority of journalists, editors, storytellers and producers will be hired by brands. With that, you'll see a number of brands make content marketing "bets" and experiment in the area.

2. In your experience, what are companies' biggest challenges when it comes to content marketing?

Measurement. According to our research, about one in five are successful at measuring their content marketing. After that, it's creating engaging content and developing consistency in their delivery and not looking at content as a campaign only.

3. What advice can you offer to companies struggling to effectively measure the results of their content marketing efforts? How should we (publishers, brands and agencies alike) be measuring success?

There are two critical differentiators that separate the most effective content marketers. First, effective content marketers document their content marketing strategy. Second, they constantly refer to that strategy and share it with their team. These two things may seem like small things, but these are the two building blocks that can most predict success with content marketing.

4. What advice can you offer a company considering outsourcing some or all of their content marketing needs?

There is no one way to set up your content marketing practice, but most companies do outsource some portion of their content marketing. The most important thing is to not outsource the strategy. The actual execution can be outsourced to a number of different agencies and freelancers, depending on what kind of content is needed.

5. Mediaplanet creates awareness campaigns in partnership with organizations, associations, industry leaders, celebrities and brands. We create content that aligns with our clients' initiatives while educating our readers about the issue at hand. Any advice we can take back with us?

That sounds great. I would focus those initiatives on continuing to build on your growing audience. In addition, from a social-sharing standpoint, I would add relevant content from those influencers and partners into your normal sharing calendar.  

6. How large a role does social media play in content marketing? (Or perhaps we should reverse the question: what role does content marketing play in social?)

Social media offers up a number of new channels to distribute content. But social media, like email marketing or direct marketing, is only as good as the content served up. Content marketing must come first for social to be effective, unless we are using social as a response communication vehicle only. Most brands start with the channel, which is a huge mistake. It's amazing how many brands don't really understand the business or content objective behind a channel such as Facebook.

7. In addition to CMI, what are your must-read/follow resources for content marketing news?

Copyblogger, Convince and Convert, Digiday and The New York Times.

8. What is your best tip for launching an effective, long-term content marketing strategy?

Focus on an informational niche to a targeted customer or prospect where you can actually be the leading provider in that niche. So many companies try to go broad with their content. To be successful, it's better to go big in a smaller topic. You can always go broad once you start to get traction.

Second, don't mistake activity for audience building. Put all your energy into building a long-term relationship with a subscriber. Email subscribers are more critical than ever.