Content Marketing: Start w/ ‘Tilt’

By Joe Pulizzi

I’ve been out on the road presenting the Content Inc. concept to live audiences.

On one recent occasion, I explained that the other speakers gave amazing insights into different parts of the content creation and distribution process for smaller businesses—but, I felt a “system” or “methodology” was lacking and sorely needed.

So off I went and presented the Content Inc. model (you can download our guide that outlines the steps).

I spent a good chunk of time on the “content tilt,” because I feel it’s the most important concept and where most businesses go wrong. (For those of you new to Content Inc., the content tilt is where we look at our “sweet spot,” the intersection between our passion point and knowledge/skill area, and tilt our content niche just enough so that we can actually become the leading informational expert in that particular area.)

The third step of the model is “building the base.” I literally stopped presenting as I put the slide on the screen, which simply said:


Yes, this is the unbelievably complex model for building the base that positions you as the clear leader in your space. Let’s review these:

One content type
Is it text, audio, video? What’s the main content type that you deliver on a regular basis?

One main platform
What’s your home base for the content? Is it your website/blog, iTunes, YouTube, Medium? You can read about the pros and cons of different platforms.

Consistent delivery
If you do a podcast, do you deliver it consistently, every day or week, at the same time? If you blog every day, do you deliver the content at the same time every day? How about your e-newsletter?

Over time
Over time, you start to see results. In almost every one of our Content Inc. examples, it takes more than 12 months to really get traction. Most businesses and individuals give up way before that.

In my case, if I would have looked at my performance at six months, I would have said that I had failed. Less than six months after that we were starting to build an audience. But really, it took about 18 months to truly see traction.

You need to focus on these four things. It really is that simple.

A note about staying focused

As you work through this plan, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leverage social media or try some audio on the side. But at this early stage, you need to build the base and gain credibility with your audience by providing some consistency. So many businesses spew out content all over the place in the hope that some sticks. This is a flawed strategy.

Rocket science, right? This is something anyone, anywhere with patience and persistence can do.

Ask yourself

Are you struggling to build the base? If so, which of these four things do you need to focus on? (It could be more than one.)

Is good content creation hard? No, even a 7-year-old can do it!

Every morning when I’m not traveling for another speaking event, I listen to Mike & Mike in the morning on ESPN Radio. A few weeks ago, they started talking about some young kid named EvanTube and how he made $1.3 million dollars last year by creating videos on YouTube. Immediately, I was intrigued.

Back at my desk, I started doing research on EvanTube and dug up a Newsweek article from 2013. At that time, Evan was just 7 years old (yes, you heard that right). In two years, Evan saw over 250 million views on YouTube, almost exactly the same number up to that point for Katy Perry (who, by the way, is great in concert).

Fast forward two years and, at the ripe old age of 9, Evan has well over 1 million subscribers to his YouTube channel and 1 billion views on YouTube. What does Evan actually do to become a millionaire before the age of 10? Every month, he reviews his favorite toys and video games. While he does the reviewing, his father, Jared, affectionately called DaddyTube, records and edits the final video.

The origin of EvanTube

How did this start? Basically, Evan and his dad started playing with Angry Birds characters and doing stop-motion videos out of clay characters. It was a fun project that created some quality bonding time. They recorded about one video per month. DaddyTube wasn’t even aware of the opportunities until they noticed their first stop-motion video garnered over 1 million views.

According to the Newsweek article, Evan was getting requests to talk about toys. Jared states: “By doing toy reviews that are a bit ‘out of the box,’ we try to provide information about the product as well as have that creative flare.”

Jared found Evan’s content tilt—toy reviews from a cute kid, passionate about toys, with no profanity. And the profanity issue is important. I’ve found with my boys that the majority of so-called “kid’s” videos on YouTube use very inappropriate language.

Ask yourself

I’m sharing this case study for a simple reason: If Evan can create monthly videos about something he’s passionate about at age 7, with little to no resources, why can’t you? Evan took his passion and turned it into a business, with a little help from his parents. With focus, couldn’t you do the same—or even more?

I believe you can.

Joe Pulizzi is founder of Content Marketing Institute, an education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World.  His new book, Content Inc., will be released September 2015.

Pulizzi was a keynote speaker, Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, at the ABA Bank Marketing Conference, Denver. His topic was, “Five Key Essentials to Epic Content Marketing.”