The term “content marketing” has graduated from a trendy term to a tried and true method of growing a business. With the rise of content marketing has come the ability to look at what works and what doesn’t and develop a comprehensive strategy to help companies use content marketing more effectively than ever before.
Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi isn’t just for the full time marketer. It’s an incredible resource from the founder of an extremely successful online business for anyone that’s trying to start or grow a business. In his book, Pulizzi challenges the traditional strategy of starting a business: developing a compelling product that solves a problem. Some version of this method is used by most companies out there, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, most of them fail in the first 5 years.
Pulizzi claims to have discovered a safer method: build a loyal audience around compelling content and then use the insights and loyalty of that audience to launch a product.
The book offers marketers a step by step guide to build a company through content marketing that’s grounded in his experience starting Content Marketing Institute. He offers case studies from some of the most successful content marketers around and resources at the end of each chapter for further study.
Joe divides his content marketing strategy into eight easily digestible sections (24 chapters). The book maintains a conversational tone and succeeds in breaking down what the big content marketing deal is in a simple (but not overly simplistic) way.
Here are some of biggest insights I got out of the book:
You’ve Got to Have Passion
Chapter three is called “Knowledge or Skill + Passion.” Most of the case studies in the book are passion projects.
You can’t fake a passion project.
In order to make Content Inc. work for B2B, you have to have a passion for it. Many times B2B businesses are boring. You have to get creative to be passionate about something boring.
How Do You Get Passionate About a Boring job?
If you are in a boring job, you have to ask “why?” – why is this job important for humanity? Answering that question well is extremely important in finding passion. The more complex a job, the more knowledgeable you will have to be before you can answer that question.
If you can’t get yourself passionate about a job, refocus on solving your clients’ problems. Being your clients’ hero, no matter the task, is not boring.
Is It For Startups or Standing Companies?
Content Inc. looks at building companies from the ground up. Many of it’s strategies are great for the aspiring entrepreneur. Content Inc.‘s startup friendly nature makes it more difficult for companies with an existing product and customer base.
Does Content Inc. Apply to B2B?
No matter what kind of company you are, Pulizzi admits throughout the book that Content Inc. isn’t for everyone, and doesn’t guarantee success.
While there are some examples of B2B companies using a form of Content Inc.‘s strategy, many of the examples in Content Inc. are B2C.
But can this grass roots, audience first approach work for B2B companies? I think yes, but it will look different.
One B2B case study that Joe gives is a company called Indium Corporation, a global manufacturing company. Many of the employees in the company had an incredible amount of knowledge about soldering. The marketing team was able to funnel this know how into an incredibly successful blog. They were able to increase their leads with only 25% of their original marketing investment.
While building a company soully around content isn’t for everyone, Content Inc. has a lot of really good insights that b2b companies can use to grow.
Content Inc. challenges the traditional startup formula with ideas that are both revolutionary and documented. Joe Pulizzi isn’t just theorizing. His company and the companies in Content Inc. are a testimony that Content Inc. can work wonders at least some of the time. While Content Inc. looks at the process of building a business from an admittedly high level, it is grounded in reality, and is an eye opening read for anyone that’s looking for a better way to start or grow a business.