I know I know. I used one of these link-bait titles. First, I used a number (which, to be honest, almost always works better than unnumbered messages). Second, I made a big promise – that content marketing dominance in an industry category is in fact possible.
Well, this article is all about what is possible.
But before detailing the six steps, let me take you back to 2014.
Get Content Get Clients was published in 2009. Managing Content Marketing was in 2011. Epic Content Marketing was published in 2013. So that means, you guessed it, it’s time to publish a book in 2015.
Selfishly, with this next book, I wanted to tell our CMI story. I wanted to talk about how we’ve made Content Marketing Institute one of the fastest growing training and media companies on the planet, and in doing so, help teach entrepre businesses, and even agents of change in large companies how to do content marketing. work with deep focus and a tight budget.
This was the initial idea for my 2015 book, Content Inc. (which will launch at Content Marketing World in September, but you can pre-order it here). But as Bahamas Phone Number we started the interview process for the book, a funny thing happened along the way.
Over the past year, we’ve had the opportunity to interview dozens of the fastest-growing companies run by entrepreneurs who used a “content-first” business model (more on that in a second). The more we interviewed, the more similarities we found between their business models. In fact, by analyzing the companies, we found that each followed the same six steps to build cutting-edge platforms. This is what we call the Content Inc model.
You can read the long story in the book. The little story is this: each company followed the exact same model and these same six steps.
The history of Copyblogger Media
Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger Media, shares his story both in Content Inc. ‘s foreword and throughout a case study. Brian, a recovering lawyer, had amazing ideas for how businesses should market online. Unfortunately (or maybe I should say fortunately), he had no product to sell.
For a year and seven months, Brian developed incredible content on a consistent basis for a targeted audience. He defined his ultimate mission:
To create media that depended on permission to contact my audience, not permission from a media custodian.
In short: become the expert resource that attracts the right audience without having to buy advertising on someone else’s platform.
And that’s exactly what Brian did. Today, Copyblogger Media is one of the fastest growing SaaS (software as a service) companies on the planet.
The Content Inc model
Whether you work at a large, complex company or are a “solopreneur,” one of the biggest mistakes businesses make with content marketing is trying to monetize content before building a loyal following. It takes a plan and patience to create an audience that is more likely to buy from you. Almost automatically, especially in large companies, we try to turn our audience into customers so early that we never let our content marketing programs breathe. When we do this, our content does not build a subscriber base and we will never see a change in behavior due to the constant influence of the content.
Looking at the book’s multiple case studies, the average time to monetize a content marketing program was between 15 and 17 months. For CMI, it took 15 months. For Copyblogger, it took 19 months. The pattern for success during this time includes the six essential steps.
Any business in any industry can see amazing results by following this model – if you consider time expectations and consistently deliver on your content promise.
First, discover a content area around which the business model will be based. To achieve this, we need to identify a sweet spot that will attract an audience over time. This place is the intersection of a set of knowledge or skills (something in which the company has competence) and an area of passion (something that the company believes is of great value to society or inherent value to the target audience).
For example, Andy Schneider built an entire company around his celebrity character, the Chicken Whisperer. Andy’s area of expertise is backyard poultry. To put it lightly, Andy knows more about raising chickens in a backyard than anyone else. At the same time, Andy has a passion for teaching. Andy loves helping his friends raise their backyard chickens whenever he can.