By Corrie Benfield
Developing a content-first business strategy is more important than ever these days, although it has become much more complicated with the explosion of marketing channels. Whereas marketers in the past only had to choose among TV, radio, print, and display advertising, there are now thousands of ways to get your message out.
Recently, content marketing expert Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, discussed how to build a content-first business strategy during an AMA Tampa Bay event at the University of Tampa.
Pulizzi noted that, increasingly, instead of trying to use someone else’s channel, marketers are creating and distributing content through their own channels (corporate newsrooms, blogs, newsletters, etc.)
He also shared a six-step process for building an audience and figuring out how to monetize your content:
- Find the sweet spot: This is the intersection of your knowledge/skills you’re your audience’s passion/pain point.
- Tilt your content: Don’t stop at the sweet spot; you have to tilt the content. Find an area of little-to-no competition online where you can break through the clutter, differentiate your content, and make your brand stand out. (If everyone is writing about a topic, it is unlikely your similar content will gain traction.)
- Build your base: The formula is: Choose a content type (such as text or video) + a main platform (blog or newsletter) + consistent delivery + long period of time = the base. It is OK to use other ways to promote your content, but stick to one format to build your base. For example: Don’t offer a podcast one week, a blog post the next week, a video a month later, etc.
- Harvest the audience: Beware of building audiences on platforms you can’t control, such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc., where the platform may start charging you to reach your audience. Make the most use out of the platforms you can control, such as your email list. Try to push your audience from platforms you can’t control to join the platforms you can.
- Diversify: Once you have your base content channel and audience down, launch other channels of content geared to other personas. (You cannot market to a diverse audience through one single channel.)
- Monetize: When you have your audience and content marketing model down, look for opportunities to monetize, making money beyond selling your own product or services. For example, offer advertising and sponsorship for your newsletters and webinars, host events, sell premium customized content, or look for ways to expand your services.
Ultimately, Pulizzi advised, you should look at your marketing business as a separate revenue generator, still selling your initial product or service, but also offering an opportunity to create a stand-alone, revenue-generating media outlet.