Most entrepreneurs don’t think of content marketing when they’re starting their business. In fact, they’re thinking of their business plans and funding. Those are both important, but without an audience and demand for their products, the business is doomed to fail. And according to Joe Pulizzi’s latest book, released today, September 8, 2015, there’s a better way to build a business and give your startup a better chance of succeeding.
Pulizzi’s fourth book, Content Inc., gives up the secret to ensuring entrepreneurial success, and it flips traditional startup logic on its head. What really makes a business venture succeed, according to Pulizzi, is content: develop valuable, useful content, find an audience for the content, and then create and launch a product or service for the audience. It’s different from any business logic taught in entrepreneurship courses or business school, and it flies in the face of what small business incubators will advise. But it makes sense: it removes the risk from starting a business by already ensuring there’s a market for the product or service.
Even better, Pulizzi offers a six-step process for building the content required to attract an audience for your product – and also shows how the process has been successful for a variety of entrepreneurs. The steps are:
- Identify the “sweet spot.” This is where your unique talents and passion collide.
- Figure out how to “tilt” your sweet spot to discover where there aren’t any competitors.
- Build your base, which is your top channel for pushing out content.
- Harvest your audience. Learn how to use social media and SEO to bring in visitors and convert them into long-term subscribers to your content.
- Diversify. At this point, you’ll add new channels to deliver your content.
- Monetize. Only after you’ve established yourself as an expert can you start charging for products or services.
It seems backward, but it’s worked for large media brands like ESPN and Pulizzi’s own Content Marketing Institute.
Content Inc. is full of practical advice for entrepreneurs, small businesses, startups, and even marketing departments nestled in large companies. The book is well-written and beautifully organized, with themes, action steps and resources at the end of each chapter so you don’t need to dig around in the back of the book.
Overall, it’s an excellent addition to any marketer’s or entrepreneur’s bookshelf.