Joe Pulizzi represents a sort of backwards way to start a business. Rather than launching with a product or a service, he spent his time growing an audience first, and then later defined what products and services he would sell. Pulizzi created six ways to show how this type of marketing—content marketing, can grow your business.
1. The Sweet Spot
The first thing to do is to uncover a content area that you can base your business model on. This is called the sweet spot, it’s the intersection of knowledge or skill, and something you are incredibly passionate about. It's the passion that will make it work. If you don’t have the passion required to put in the hard work when the going gets tough, you won’t make it.
2. The Content Tilt
Thing you need to ensure that your idea is different and better than what’s already out on the market.
3. Building the Base
Now, in order to create content you’ll need to figure out where your ideas and stories are going to live. Will it be through writing, video, audio, or in person? Pulizzi tells us that the vast majority of content marketing success stories fall into one of the following categories:
- Articles or blogs
- E-newsletter programs
In deciding which medium to go with, you need to ask yourself two important questions. First, determine which medium offers you the best opportunity to reach your audience. Some networks have a built in audience, like YouTube for example. Others, like WordPress, require you to build an audience from scratch. Second, you need to determine which medium gives you the most control over presenting your content and building your audience. For example, with WordPress, you’ll get complete creative control and you control the relationship with your subscribers. You’ll have to manage the intersection between these two questions to determine which medium to use.
4. Harvesting Audience
Now you need to figure out how to start building your audience. In Pulizzi’s opinion, the most important number to you is the number of loyal subscribers you have. There is a hierarchy to which ways have the most value in terms of building an audience. Among them, email remains the most important. It provides you with the most control, and it still provides massive returns. Print subscribers are next, followed by LinkedIn and then Twitter, then at the bottom is Facebook. You can utilize these places to build an audience, but you can also use other methods such as optimizing your content for search engines and connecting with influencers.
One of the most common paths that successful content creators over the past few years have taken is to branch out from their blog, then to a book, then to a speaking career. Most of you will be using content marketing to grow your existing business, not to start a new one. However, this is still an important strategy that some may choose to utilize.
One important way to make money with content marketing is converting traffic from your content into customers of your current business. To do this you should be setting up calls-to-action in each of your content properties that link back to becoming a customer. You can also generate new products and services to sell your audience. Some examples of these include live events that you charge for or online training that you can charge for.
If you can build content that is good enough, you can build a business that makes millions of dollars. You simply have to put in the hard work to provide value to your audience. If you do that, you’ll be well on your way to creating business utilizing content marketing.