This is an actionable summary of Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi, for code-savvy entrepreneurs.
You're getting traffic to your social media account or website, but very few visitors become customers.
Create content to build an audience around a specific topic related to your product or service so they keep coming back to you as the expert on that topic.
Many in your audience not only subscribe to your offering, but they suggest it to their friends, family, coworkers, and whoever else might need it.
To create content that will position you as an expert in your niche, perform these steps:
Uncover a burning need in your niche that you can solve with helpful information.
Not all topics are created equal. For your audience, some topics will be as exciting as watching a sloth race in slow motion.
To ensure that your content doesn’t put your potential customers to sleep, identify what Pulizzi calls your sweet spot: the intersection between your knowledge and your audience’s pain points.
You want to make a splash in the sea of information that floods your audience daily.
To do this, you need a content tilt. Pulizzi defines this as a topic or angle that nobody else is talking about, which separates you from the pack.
While your sweet spot ensures you’re helping your audience with an actual problem, other businesses in your niche might be solving that same problem. Your content tilt takes care of that.
One way to find your content tilt, offered by Robert Rose, is to be “narrowly applicable to a broad audience or broadly applicable to a narrow audience”.
Having a content strategy you can refer to ensures you're always on track.
Trying to publish on multiple platforms from the start can be extremely time-consuming and will drain your resources, ultimately leading to slower growth and lower morale.
By narrowing your focus to a single platform, you can hone your skills, learning what works and what doesn’t faster than if you were to just blindly throw your content out into the internet abyss and hope for the best.
If your brain has to wrack itself every day for new and compelling content ideas, it won’t be long before you dread the task and procrastinate.
To prevent this, it’s essential to come up with ideas ahead of time.
One way to brainstorm ideas is to ask yourself, “What do my customers want to be five or ten years from now?”
By thinking about where your customers are headed, you can create content that helps them get there. For example, if you developed an app that helps people learn new skills, you might create content that focuses on the jobs of the future and what skills will be in demand.
If you rely on motivation alone to create content, you may end up publishing sporadically, which dulls your impact.
To overcome this challenge, create a content calendar that will help you stay consistent.
By revisiting your content goals, you can gain clarity on what type of content your audience prefers and how often they would like to receive it.
For example, would they prefer to receive long-form emails once a week, or short, punchy emails daily? Fill out your editorial calendar accordingly.
People who subscribe to your content are much more likely to purchase your product or service than people who don't hear from you regularly.
To solicit feedback, you could blast a tweet asking your followers, “What do you think about Feature X in my product?”
But are you really reaching the people who care most about your product?
The best way to concentrate your community into a ready feedback source is through exclusive access; give them something they can’t find anywhere else.
Pulizzi suggests creating an email offering and building an email list.
By deepening your relationship with people who care enough about your ideas that they want to hear from you, you cultivate a loyal fan base that will not only consume your content but also advocate for it.
If you’re relying on organic search to bring exposure to your email newsletter, you might as well be hiding it in a black hole.
(… or you have infinite patience.)
To help people discover your email offering, promote it on social media. Track follows, likes, and comments to see what topics and formats generate the most dopamine hits, then make more of them.
You’ll attract a wider audience and reach potential users who may not have found you through organic search.
Further, engaging on social media can help you refine your email offering to better meet the needs of your target audience.
You worked hard to create an amazing bond with your followers. It's time to harvest the benefits!
Finding the best way to monetize your content takes time.
Meanwhile, you need to pay the bills and invest in services like web hosting.
To stay afloat, explore creative ways to generate quick revenue from your content.
The revenue model you started with may not be the most profitable one you’re capable of building.
To grow your business, maximize profits, and create redundancy, explore multiple revenue streams.
Turn your hundred-hour work week into a ten-hour work week.
If you’re a small or one-person team, you may struggle with burnout, inefficiencies, and slow progress.
To scale production and automate your content creation process, identify the roles you need to fill in your team.
It’s common for teams to improvise when creating content, resulting in content that appears to be made by different people.
To ensure consistent, predictable content production, create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), step-by-step instructions for each stage of the content creation process.
You can then identify the most routine tasks and automate them with your coding skills.
As your reach grows, you may find that the demand for content creation by users and hungry algorithms outstrips the capacity of your team.
To take advantage of new monetization and distribution opportunities, outsource some of your production.
As AI tools improve, the best strategy is synergy. For example, have AI generate initial drafts of your content, then have your human content team focus on refining and personalizing the results.
With your technical background, you can develop automated content systems that seamlessly integrate with your existing content production processes. This will help you scale content in a streamlined way.