The majority of start-ups around the world begin their journey in exactly the same way as every other company. Why do companies continue to make the same mistakes over and over? The formula for business must change. Have you thought about building a following through content? Whether you are a solo start-up or an innovative group within a large enterprise, the Content Inc. strategy can and will work with patience and the right content plan.
Content Inc., by Joe Pulizzi, discusses a new way on how to build a business and brand. First, build an audience. Then, create the product. Traditionally, businesses have tried to do the opposite, and the track record speaks for itself: 90% of start-ups fail. With the Content Inc. strategy, you will instead be first building an audience and following through a platform of your choice, listening to your customers and audience, and then monetizing your products.
In the rest of this post, I give you a brief overview of Content Inc., my takeaways and action steps for myself, and my recommendation for you.
“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” – David Brinkley
Summary of Content Inc.
Content Inc. breaks down the business startup process into six steps, making it simple for your to visualize, launch and monetize your own business. These steps are:
- The Sweet Spot
- Identify the intersection of your unique competency and your personal passion
- Content Tilt
- Determine how you can “tilt” your sweet spot to find a place where little or no competition exists
- Building the Base
- Establish your number one channel for disseminating content (blog, podcast, YouTube, etc.)
- Harvesting Audience
- Use social media and SEO to convert onetime visitors into long-term subscribers
- Grow your business by expanding into multiple delivery channels
- Now that your expertise is established, you can begin charging money for your products or services
The Sweet Spot
“The sweet spot is a place where a combination of factors results in a maximum response for a given amount of effort.” – Wikipedia
The Content Inc. strategy begins with a sweet spot, the intersection of your knowledge or skill area and your passion. While it’s possible to develop a sweet spot without a passion point, it’s the passion that gives us our drive to continue until we employ a successful Content Inc. strategy.
“Everything under the sun has been said… you have to find a new way to say it.” – Henry Winkler
The majority of content developed every day is just like everything else out there. It does nothing for the reader or the producer. It doesn’t matter the frequency or delivery or the channel you deliver the content through; if the content doesn’t tell a different story, it will most likely be ignored.
Building the Base
“It is not the beauty of a building you look at; it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.” – David Allan Coe
Choose an appropriate platform for your audience. Are you comfortable making videos? YouTube might be your best bet. Do you enjoy writing? Start a blog! Maybe you enjoy taking pictures? Instagram is the way to go! Just be aware, you give up control when you move to certain platforms. If YouTube changes their algorithm, you might be out of luck. With a blog or mailing list, you are in complete control of who you can reach with your content.
“You can only build something massive by starting with something small to effectively close the distance.” – Danny Iny
Without an audience, your Content Inc. strategy will not work. If there is no one looking at your website, blog, YouTube Channel, how will you make any sales? There are a number of ways to build an audience, but not all subscribers are created equal. If you have a choice, go for email first. Web traffic and social media shares are great, but if you are not building an audience, those may be meaningless metric. Focus on the metrics that help you build an opt-in audience.
“Career diversification ain’t a bad thing.” – Vin Diesel
As you diversify your platform, be sure to look beyond digital for hidden opportunities. The greatest media brands in the world leverage not only digital, but in-person and print components as well. The most successful Content Inc. entrepreneurs focus on a blog, a book, and public speaking. All three of these in combination will help take your Content Inc. strategy to the next level.
“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein
There are many ways to make money from your content and subscribers. It’s important to explore many different revenue generation sources because your audience may be receptive to other products. Some of the best Content Inc. models employ multiple ways to make money from their audiences.
With all books I read, I look to have a few takeaways and action steps to apply in my life.
After reading Content Inc., I now have knowledge of a legitimate framework for growing my online presence. With The Mastermind Within, we have found our “Sweet Spot” (personal finance, self-development, entrepreneurship), and our “Content Tilt” (Non-traditional ways to build wealth and reading books for success). One thing I do worry about is if our sweet spot is not small enough and we have diversified too quickly. What are your thoughts readers?
Right now, we are at the “Harvesting Audience” stage. This is our 5th month and we just reached 100 email subscribers. Shout out to all our subscribers and a big thank you for reading! 🙂
The next few months will be continuing to focus on creating a strong base. We want to help you by providing tremendous value and freebies.
Eventually, I’d love to have a The Mastermind Within book. That’s probably a year out for me, but I’m wondering if I can get the other gentlemen I work with to get one out 😉 I’m very excited to keep this train going – let’s get it done!
“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” – Henry David Thoreau
Content Inc. is for marketing executives and managers looking to increase the number of leads coming to their business. Content Inc. is well written and has very actionable advice, but for the average person, I wouldn’t recommend it. I plan to take what I learned in Content Inc. and apply it to The Mastermind Within. We are still in the “Harvesting Audience” part of the Content Inc. model. Going forward, providing tremendous value for free and making the user’s experience on this site fun and informative are our goals.
Are you interested in using content to build an audience and business? What steps are you taking to build your email list? Which channel (blog, video channel, social media, etc.) interests you most? Is The Mastermind Within too spread out with it’s content?