Is Joe Pulizzi Nuts?

I admire Joe Pulizzi, but his latest article about succeeding as a freelancer leaves me wondering if he’s lost his marbles.

In it, Joe says, “I don’t hire any freelancer that doesn’t blog.”


He goes on: “Understanding what it takes to create a successful blog, learn the value of social sharing, and be able to define ideas succinctly is a must have for any marketer.”

What about the ability to be persuasive, increase response rates, and generate more sales and revenues?

If you are a freelancer who doesn’t blog (or even if you do), do you agree with Joe that a freelancer who does not blog is out of touch?

If you hire freelancers (like I do for my online publishing business), do you insist that they have a blog? If not, what DO you look for?


601 thoughts on “Is Joe Pulizzi Nuts?

  • Hi Bob…first, the answer to the title of this post is, of course, yes.

    Second, here are my thoughts on what I emailed you…would love to hear more feedback from your readers.

    “Hi Bob…I see your point. Here’s mine. Any freelancer I hire needs to have a solid understanding of social media, the power of sharing content, comments that grow business, and social media integration. If you don’t have a blog, there is no way in my opinion that you can understand that.

    Also, since almost all content is repurposed on the web, any freelancer I hire must understand repackaging and usage of web content. Those that blog get that.”

    To your comment about – being persuasive and helping to generate more sales and revenues – well, that’s a given. If you can’t do that, I would try a new profession.


    Joe (nuts) Pulizzi

  • You’re both right, of course. Not about Joe being crazy, but about the need for anyone in marketing today to be comfortable publishing online content. Blogs are the big dog of social media.

    As for persuasiveness, all communication is a sharing of information and ideas in an effort to win the reader over to something. Because we live in an era of transparency, hyperbole or shading the truth to make a product or service appear better is not going to work. If the product or service can’t stand up to the competition, it should be fixed or shot. One of the marketing P’s is Product.

  • I blog for others but not for myself. I write more web content than anything else right now.

    Am I hirable?

  • Unless you’re hiring someone to write for a blog, I don’t see what difference it could possibly make.

    Even people who don’t blog themselves I’m sure have seen enough blogs so they know what the format for a blog is like.

    Also, writing for the web does not automatically mean writing a blog.

    Also Bob, you seem to be getting a lot of spam trackbacks…

  • It would depend on why you are hiring freelance writers. It seems that Joe is hiring people to write content marketing stuff that will be used on the internet. A blogger will have a solid understanding of what drives click-thru rates, comments, subscription numbers, etc. If you write blog posts for others but don’t have access to the statistics, you may not have as strong a grasp of what works and what doesn’t. Blogging encompasses both traditional copywriting skills and newer social media skills.

  • Since when have content marketers been certified nuts? Definitely crazy like a fox though haha!

    If Joe’s clients want a content delivery strategy that includes blogging and all the online community sharing that sometimes goes with it, then he’s right to pre-filter freelancers who’ve also ‘walked the talk’.

    OT: The best use of ‘Nuts’ I know of was from the 101st Airborne at Bastogne. Used to board wargame this one a lot.

  • As long as the person can fulfill the job description, I don’t see any logic why he/she needs to have his/her own blog. I mean, that has been the requirement of most sites, buyers, etc, but why don’t they just rely on the ability of the person. Give them a chance to prove themselves.

  • Writers are hired all the time to write about things they’ve never done, or used before.

    What this means, in relation to Joe’s argument, is that you’d probably not ever want to hire a copywriter for a product, any product, unless they’re a die-hard fan of said product.

    How else are they going understand what makes it great, or how to articulate its true value?

    It’s like saying, ‘I won’t hire a copywriter to write about my health product unless they’re a absolute health-nut.

    See, that argument just doesn’t work in a different context, does it?

    I believe one of the core skills of a good copywriter is their ability to quickly understand a problem, followed by understanding the value of the solution they’ll be writing about.

    It’s all about being able to quickly adapt their skill for the task at-hand.

    If copywriter knows how to understand a problem/solution at an emotional level, and then write about it, it doesn’t matter if they write books, have a blog, or teach kindergarten.

    That’s my 2-cents. 🙂


  • I personally would prefer to hire one that does blog, but then again would say that you can evaluate it on a case by case basis as if their other skills are at a sufficiently high level then they can always learn blogging as and where necessary.

  • Sorry Bob, I really couldn’t tell you. I’ve heard there are tools to take care of them, but I’m not sure what the details are. I think it depends on what type of blog software you’re running. Might want to ask the person in charge of overseeing your web site.

  • I am, and have always been, much better at marketing others, than I am at marketing myself. Writing, managing campaigns, directing creative … any part of it.

    Just getting into blogging now, I am finding that the most important thing is to isolate that fairly narrow string of my interests/life that will be my general style and content. The fact is, I might not be able to identify that for myself.

    But for a client, I have the objectivity to see the strongest value propositions of their product/message usually better than they do.

    I’ve been on the agency side and corporate side of the equation. I’m now on the corporate side, and not only would I hire a writer (for social media) who doesn’t have a blog, but I probably wouldn’t even ask them if they have one. I just want to see measurable results of what they’ve done for clients.

  • Hi, Bob-

    Hmm, Joe’s perspective is an interesting one.

    Perhaps I’m being overly critical of the statement, but just because someone *blogs* doesn’t mean that they know how to *write.*

    I’ve seen bloggers do stupid things like say something is “fact” – and they got their information by talking to – at best – a tertiary source. Was their “fact” correct? No. An experienced journalist would never do that. But some bloggers may.

    (As a side note, one of the bloggers who often sends out incorrect information is a well-known, highly-paid blogger. People hire this person because of their name. But I wouldn’t trust a word they write.)

    It’s true that social media is “out there” – and content is being repurposed all the time. But again, just because you can blog doesn’t mean that you understand direct response principals. It doesn’t mean that you understand customer personas (I would guess that the majority of bloggers don’t know what a persona is.) It doesn’t mean that they can write in an ever-changing voice depending on the target audience. It means they can blog (which granted, is a skill set of it’s own. But it’s not THE skill set.)

    I can understand why Joe would hire bloggers – that makes sense for his business model. But as a blanket statement of “you must blog in order to be taken seriously as a freelancer” doesn’t ring true for me.

    As a side note, I know many highly-paid copywriters who don’t have a blog. They don’t have time. 🙂

  • Just went back and read Joe’s article again – I had given it a quick read previously when I received his newsletter.

    Do successful freelancers need to blog? I don’t think so…yet, but maybe in the future. We didn’t used to need a web site, but now to be without one would just be wierd, although there are probably still a select few heavy-hitting freelance copywriters who don’t have web sites.

    Do people who work for Joe Pulizzi need to blog? Absolutely. It wouldn’t make sense for them not to.


  • “In it, Joe says, “I don’t hire any freelancer that doesn’t blog.”


    He goes on: “Understanding what it takes to create a successful blog, learn the value of social sharing, and be able to define ideas succinctly is a must have for any marketer.”

    What about the ability to be persuasive, increase response rates, and generate more sales and revenues?”

    What about them?

    Just because Joe thinks that understanding how social media and content sharing works is vital to a marketer’s success (he’s right, it is), doesn’t mean that he’s saying that any of the ‘old school’ tenants of successful marketing no longer apply.

    I find it fascinating that you seemed to conclude that he was.

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  • I leave a reply when I enjoy reading an article on a website or if I have a little something of worth to add regarding the debate. And on this document I was genuinely moved enough to leave a comment 😉 I do have a small amount of questions for you if it’s allright?. Could it be simply me or do some of these comments come across as coming from brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are posting on additional sites, I would like to keep up with anything fresh you have to post. Could you list every one of your community pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile? Thanks!

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