Content Inc. Book Summary

Content Inc

Do you have a content based business, or want to build a following through content marketing?

The majority of start-ups around the world begin their journey in exactly the same way as every other company. Product first, and then build a following.

Why do companies continue to make the same mistakes over and over? The formula for business must change.

Have you thought about building a following through content?

Whether you are a solo start-up or an innovative group within a large enterprise, the Content Inc. strategy can and will work with patience and the right content plan. Content Inc, by Joe Pulizzi, discusses a new way on how to build a business and brand.

First, build an audience. Then, create the product.

Traditionally, businesses have tried to do the opposite, and the track record speaks for itself: 90% of start-ups fail.

With the Content Inc. strategy, you will instead be first building an audience and following through a platform of your choice, listening to your customers and audience, and then monetizing your products.

The rest of this post includes a summary of Content Inc., takeaways from Content Inc., and a reading recommendation for you.

“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” – David Brinkley

Book Summary of Content Inc.

Content Inc. breaks down the business startup process into six steps, making it simple for your to visualize, launch and monetize your own business. These steps are:

  • The Sweet Spot
    • Identify the intersection of your unique competency and your personal passion
  • Content Tilt
    • Determine how you can “tilt” your sweet spot to find a place where little or no competition exists
  • Building the Base
    • Establish your number one channel for disseminating content (blog, podcast, YouTube, etc.)
  • Harvesting Audience
    • Use social media and SEO to convert onetime visitors into long-term subscribers
  • Diversification
    • Grow your business by expanding into multiple delivery channels
  • Monetization
    • Now that your expertise is established, you can begin charging money for your products or services

The Sweet Spot

“The sweet spot is a place where a combination of factors results in a maximum response for a given amount of effort.” – Wikipedia

The Content Inc. strategy begins with a sweet spot, the intersection of your knowledge or skill area and your passion.

While it’s possible to develop a sweet spot without a passion point, it’s the passion that gives us our drive to continue until we employ a successful Content Inc. strategy.

What do you love, are passionate about, and know? That is your sweet spot for content marketing.

Content Tilt

“Everything under the sun has been said… you have to find a new way to say it.” – Henry Winkler

The majority of content developed every day is just like everything else out there. It does nothing for the reader or the producer.

It doesn’t matter the frequency or delivery or the channel you deliver the content through: if the content doesn’t tell a different story, it will most likely be ignored.

Be unique and original! No one wants to hear the same thing they always here.

Building the Base

“It is not the beauty of a building you look at; it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.” – David Allan Coe

Choose an appropriate platform for your audience.

  • Are you comfortable making videos?
    • YouTube might be your best bet.
  • Do you enjoy writing?
  • Maybe you enjoy taking pictures?
    • Instagram is the way to go!

Just be aware, you give up control when you move to certain platforms. If YouTube changes their algorithm, you might be out of luck.

With a blog or mailing list, you are in complete control of who you can reach with your content.

Harvesting Audience

“You can only build something massive by starting with something small to effectively close the distance.” – Danny Iny

Without an audience, your Content Inc. strategy will not work. If there is no one looking at your website, blog, YouTube Channel, how will you make any sales?

There are a number of ways to build an audience, but not all subscribers are created equal.

If you have a choice, go for email first. Web traffic and social media shares are great, but if you are not building an audience, those may be meaningless metric.

Focus on the metrics that help you build an opt-in audience.


“Career diversification ain’t a bad thing.” – Vin Diesel

As you diversify your platform, be sure to look beyond digital for hidden opportunities. The greatest media brands in the world leverage not only digital, but in-person and print components as well.

The most successful Content Inc. entrepreneurs focus on a blog, a book, and public speaking.

All three of these in combination will help take your Content Inc. strategy to the next level.


“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein

There are many ways to make money from your content and subscribers:

  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Paid Products
    • eBooks
    • Courses
    • Physical Products
    • Premium Content
    • Coaching
  • Advertisting

It’s important to explore many different revenue generation sources because your audience may be receptive to other products.

Some of the best Content Inc. models employ multiple ways to make money from their audiences. (Just like financial investing, it’s important to diversify!)

Takeaways from Content Inc.

With every book you read, it is a must to have takeaways and actionable items to implement in life.

The main takeaway from Content Inc. is how people in the 21st century are crushing it by writing articles, producing videos, and publishing podcasts.

Content Inc. is very inspiring to me as a content creator on this blog. It also was very informative as it provides detailed steps to start, grow and monetize content based businesses.

By following the six steps discussed above to set-up a content based business, you’ll be on your way to success as a blogger, YouTuber, or podcaster.

“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” – Henry David Thoreau

Our Recommendation for Content Inc

For writers, business owners, and marketers, understanding how to create content to connect with readers is so critical for success online.

Content Inc. is a fantastic read for marketing executives and managers looking to increase the number of leads coming to their business.

If you are looking to start or build a content based business, I’d highly recommend Content Inc.

Are you interested in using content to build an audience and business? What steps are you taking to build your email list? Which channel (blog, video channel, social media, etc.) interests you most?