Jordan Ogren

January 12, 2022

Content Inc. <> Book Review 02

Every Wednesday (as of now), I will share an in-depth review of a recent book I've read. Last year alone (2021), I read 48 books, so I have plenty to share.

Before I share today's review, I have two requests of you:
  1. Share constructive feedback on how I can make this the most valuable book review you read
  2. Share great books that you believe I should read (related to the book I reviewed or not)

Now, onto today's review.
Content Inc. Book review.jpg

The book: Content Inc. Version 2 by Joe Pulizzi

Why you should read: To create content people care about or build a content-first business that you can profit from.

TL;DR: Content Inc. is a 7 step model that helps marketers and entrepreneurs make content that leads to profit. By creating content that builds an audience, you will improve your business (more leads and retention) and eventually be able to sell your content-first business (if that's what you wish to do).

The main points:

Point 1: The 7 step Content Inc. Model
  1. The sweet spot: Finding your content area you will build upon that is at the intersection of your knowledge or skill and a specific audience desire
  2. The content tilt: The differentiation factor for the content you will produce
  3. The base: The platform where you will build your content 
  4. Audience building: Here you go from getting attention to keeping attention
  5. Revenue: Once you're content engine is roaring, it's time to monetize
  6. Diversify: Now that you have a profitable base, it's time to extend into other areas of content
  7. Sell or go big: You can keep your content asset and let it keep growing or sell and do something new 

Point 2: The content tilt is crucial to content success
If your content isn't different or brings something new to the table, it will struggle to grow an audience. We live in a world of content overload. If your content is like the rest, it will be challenging to get attention.

What's inherent in the tilt is that your content actually covers something your audience cares about (Step 1). 

"Countless businesses fail with their Content Inc. Model because they focus on what they are good at communicating and not on the specific audience and what it needs." (Pg. 44).

Point 3: The who is almost more important than the what
Whom you create content for is almost more important than what content you create. You could have the most excellent tilt and content idea, but it will flop if you position it for the wrong person.

"It's the "who" that gives the content the context it needs to be successful." (Pg. 45)

A simple way to think about the WHO and the WHAT is the XYZ method from Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media:

“Our company is where [audience X] finds [content Y] for [benefit Z].” (Pg. 83)

Point 4: You should only focus on one channel to start
It's vital to gain traction­–and build your base–on one channel before branching into multiple channels. This looks like dominating podcasts and using Facebook for distribution.

"In the beginning, it's important to focus on creating amazing and relevant content with mostly one content channel." (Pg. 101)

Point 5: Social media is the last place you want for your base
When deciding on your content base, you want to choose something you own. Email, podcast, or even a video series on your website is better than building on social media (someone else's property).

How should you use social media in your Content Inc. Model?

"Social media is most essential during two key content marketing processes:
  1. Listening to your audience to understand what they care about, so you can create content that they will find engaging and relevant. 
  2. Distributing content from your business, as well as from others" (Pg. 192)

The main quotes:

"The underlying concept for Content Inc.: By focusing on building an audience first and defining products and services second, a person can change the rules of the game and significantly increase the odds of financial and personal success."

"I believe the best way to start and grow a business today is not by launching or pushing products, but by creating a system to attract, build, and retain an audience."

"Great content marketers do two things differently from the rest:
  1. They document their content marketing strategy in some way
  2. They review and refer to the plan on a regular basis"

"I find that the best Content Inc. programs revolve around aspirations more than needs. To get to the heart of your customers aspirations, you have to focus on what they want to be and help them get where they really want to go."

"To become that one resource that cuts through the clutter, the people in your audience need to believe that your content can change their lives."

"Our goal should always be to create the minimum amount of content with the maximum amount of results." – Robert Rose.

"Ripples are the unexpected benefits that come from a content Inc approach, like in invitation to speak at an event, someone spreading the word about your expertise, or other unanticipated benefits of becoming a leading expert in your field." (From Doug Kessler, Cofounder of Velocity Partners)

The main question:

What is your content tilt? Why would I engage with your content over Joe's down the road?


Read this book if you want to improve your content marketing skills. Whether you follow the steps and build a Content Inc. Model, this book will sharpen your content skills.

Joe Pulizzi is one of the Godfathers of Content Marketing, and I would highly recommend understanding his POV and applying bits to your marketing.

I guarantee your content will improve after reading this.

🧠 + ❤️ // JO