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Spring 2016


But when I started to discover so many multi-

million dollar, fast-growing companies that started with no products and services at all, it was worth a deeper look. Those entities focused on a particular audience and delivered amazing information to that audience consistently over time. Those subscribers came to know, like, and trust those organizations, so much so that whatever products and services they launched were purchased. In most cases, the products created were incredibly needed because the audience was so well understood. In many case studies, the audience actually “asked” the company to produce them. What resulted was an organization that never, if they chose not to, marketed in traditional ways. Why? Because they already had access to and a relationship with those people. This model would have been extremely challenging a few years back. Today, it’s possible because there are no barriers to entry for publishing and unlimited access to content for consumers.

Q: Your book outlines a six-step model

to follow. At the base of all this is the core knowledge and passion, but there is also a need to generate content, of course, which might not be a skill set all entrepreneurs believe they are blessed with. Any advice for those people?

JP: Of course. Many entrepreneurs aren’t good at accounting, either. Or legal issues. When they need to print something, they don’t go out and buy an industrial printer. Those things are outsourced. Like any good business, we keep in-house what


Content marketing moves quickly. Joe Pulizzi offers some insight for small- and medium- sized businesses going forward.

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LESS IS MORE More and more businesses are realizing

this, so there is a movement away from quantity of content to quality.


We are seeing video lengths in all forms, from short, 15-second videos to 20-minute (and even longer) series. YouTube incentivizes longer watch time, so many YouTubers are creating longer and longer videos.



Consistently delivering quality content to a particular audience over time might be the greatest challenge going forward. In our Content Inc. case studies, the average time to monetization with content for small- and medium-sized business is 15–17 months, which means if you aren’t patient, it simply won’t work. This is also why small- and medium-sized businesses have an opportunity over large companies, because they often have the luxury of being more patient.

we are good at and passionate about. Everything else, we outsource or find talent. To someone in publishing, this makes perfect sense. For someone not in publishing, it seems daunting, but, in reality, it’s like everything else we have to accomplish as a business.

Q: Content Inc. also addresses “change agents” at larger companies—the people who might be struggling to convert their colleagues from the old ways of marketing into believers in content marketing. Can you give us a snippet of how the book addresses this challenge that many marketers encounter today?

JP: The Content Inc. model—or the idea of building an audience first and then monetizing it— can work for any-size company. For larger enterprises targeting a particular niche, especially a new area or audience base, the model works well to build a relationship with that audience first, get intelligence, and then launch the product. Oftentimes this model can serve like a pilot program—instead of launching the product offering, we can launch a content initiative, which is much less risky. In company cultures that are hard to change, which is just about all large companies, content pilots work best, targeting one audience around one niche. Once we can gain some success in the pilot, then we can go after increasing the budget. In many large companies, they won’t significantly invest in content marketing until they see some kind of success.

Q: So many companies are desperate to create

content around their brand these days that they end up creating content that is not useful, almost noisy. Is it better to post better quality less frequently, or does volume matter? And how often should people be posting?

JP: Your goal, any organization’s goal, is to create the minimum amount of content with the maximum amount of results. No one should actually want to create more content. But when you do create, it must be consistent, whether that’s every day, three times per week, weekly, or monthly. I’ve seen all of these frequencies be successful.

Most content marketing programs fail simply because they stop. Consistent publishing is where organizations fall down. They exercise too much campaign- centric thinking.

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