“The best way to start a business is NOT by launching a product, but by creating a system to attract and build an audience.” – Joe Pulizzi
When I first began reading Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi, I was not sure what to expect. Well, if we’re being completely honest, I was expecting to be bored out of my mind reading through statistics and matter-of-fact-non-fiction-please-let-it-be-over-torture. I was wrong. This is one of the most enlightening educational books I have read in a long time. And it’s not because Pulizzi inserted cheesy motivational quotes where he saw fit – he did it by using valuable content.
Now, more than ever, businesses are investing in content marketing. What exactly is content marketing? “Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain an audience.”(Content Marketing Institute) You heard it here first: traditional marketing is on the outs, my friends. Think about this: when is the last time you clicked on a banner advertisement that interested you while you were scrolling on Facebook? You probably can’t even remember because you subconsciously avoid them at all costs. You even have a pop-up ad blocker on Google Chrome. Now, think about this: when is the last time you clicked on an article that interested you? This morning with your coffee or last night before going to sleep; am I right?
Content is what we want online, and marketing and advertising are what we avoid.
So, how can we, as content marketers, convince these knowledge-hungry consumers that our website contains the valuable and relevant content they don’t know they are looking for? By actually giving them valuable and relevant content. It sounds simple because it is.
Content Inc. System
The Content Inc. model below illustrates the 6-step content marketing strategy system Pulizzi recommends to use in order to run a successful business.
- Sweet Spot
- You must find the intersection of what you are knowledgeable or skilled in and an area to which you are passionate about. People can identify “sales-speak” from a mile away if you aren’t knowledgable on the subject you’re writing about. You must find the niche that audiences are looking for.
- Content tilt
- Once you find the sweet spot, you must find a differential factor. What separates your business from the 100’s of other businesses selling the same thing? For example, if you’re a web developer, what can you blog about that other web developers have not blogged about, yet? Give your content that twist that will grab your audience.
- Building the Base
- Once the sweet spot is found and the tilt occurs, a content base is constructed by consistently generating valuable content through one key channel. Whether it be a blog, YouTube channel, etc.
- Harvesting Audience
- After the content base is built, you must increase the audience and convert the ‘one-time’ readers into ongoing subscribers. This is when social media becomes key, but don’t just distribute the same content and spam it on all of your channels. Add a little twist to each post depending on which channel you’re using.
- Once you have built a loyal and growing audience, it is time to separate yourself from mainstream content. Avoid ‘sales speak’ people! Pulizzi found that when Content Marketing Institute created a piece of content that is solely about them, rather than for an educational purpose, it only garners 25% of the regular amount of page views and social shares. The more you talk about yourself, the less people will value your content.
- Now that you’ve got the subscribers and enough quantitive information about them, you have the opportunity to generate revenue. What subject on your blogs gets the most click-throughs? Keep writing about that!
To be the best in your industry, you must find the tilt factor that will make a difference in your business and in your customer’s lives. Don’t blog about the same thing you see other businesses in your industry blogging about. Separate yourself. Get to know your audience and find out what they want to read about.
What is the biggest struggle you have faced with content marketing? Comment or tweet at us with your thoughts!