Content Inc by Joe Pulizzi offers a 6 step process to organise your marketing which can be undertaken before you even have a product or service to market, or a budget for that matter. Why? How? The processes help you define what your business and services should be as it will align with your passions. For existing businesses who think they know their product, the processes may change their minds about how their audience sees them. The key here is to build an audience, then (re)create your product rather than create your product, and then have to work very hard at building an audience to help market it.
It should also be made clear that the 6 steps are directed at people wanting to build a content platform “as” a business, not just marketing a business product and services (think Mamamia, The Roar, Lost At E Minor, and Techly for examples). However the steps are applicable to building an audience around your content being your story, your customer benefits, and your products and services by association.
Joe Pulizzi is probably one of the pioneers of content marketing, he is also one of the leading content marketing service providers via the Content Marketing Institute which now the industry benchmark. I was initially wary thinking this book was going to be either over-the-top or too “selly”. It turned out to be neither.
It is a very punchy book, the points it makes are clear and concise. There are a lot of practical tips and techniques that can be applied by a business marketer almost immediately.
The six stages of the process are:
- The Sweet Spot – The sweet spot is where your personal passion and your unique capabilities meet. While one can potentially have unique core competencies without the passion, it is the passion that drives effort into achieving goals for your marketing and your business. If you have an established business you can also consider a customer pain to develop your sweet spot. (You then need to find where the audience that your intersection between passion and competency lives and consumes media. There are a lot of clear examples and methods in the book.)
- The Content Tilt – This is a slightly extravagant way of describing your particular point of difference of your content, what sets your content apart from your competition. Think of your tilt, and your particular angle on your passion and expertise. Once you have found your tilt, you need to design a mission around it, a mission that focusses on your audience. The book has a few tools and techniques to help here.
- Building The Base – Here it is time to select your channels, the right channels, for your sweet spot and tilt. It recommends a blog strategy as a base, but it is also clear that it has to be the right platform you. This section also looks at content ideas, most of which come from within your business. Lots of practical ideas to adopt with resourcing and management suggestions.
- Harvesting Audience – Building and keeping an audience, is the focus of this step. Tools to do so include email marketing, the power of search, the use of Pay-Per-Click, the benefits of engaging an influencer, and an integrated Social Media approach. The key is to drive followers, sharers, and commenters to become subscribers to an email channel as EDM is still the most effective tool for distributing content.
- Diversification – Look for three pillars for your strategy, not necessary all digital or “new media”. For example, you may have an effective blog, but also a strong personal networking presence, and a hard-copy publication (such as a book). Diversification into three pillars will ensure a range of audience consumers are accommodated for and each can leverage the other. We see a lot of this in the recent rise and growth of podcasting. It suggests you can also buy a platform and make it your own, however it would be difficult to see this aligned with the original Sweet Spot requirement aside only but a few examples.
- Monetisation – what is the right revenue model? Is it advertising, paid subscription, leveraging into a book to sell, or syndicate content to other providers? Pulizzi recommends not being too wedded to just one as flexibility and multiple outlets can work nicely.
Overall, the book is a great resource and motivator, it provides real tools that can be accessed by any business owner, and techniques that are challenging but also achievable with the right resources and access to association expertise. I definitely recommend it and if anyone wants to see how the steps can be applied to your business, please get in touch and we can have a close look at your opportunities.