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Ash RoyAug 9, 2021 12:22:28 AM67 min read

214. Joe Pulizzi on Content Marketing

Joe Pulizzi on Content Marketing


In 2008, Joe Pulizzi was pretty close to broke. He set himself an audacious goal.

He wrote that goal down.

The goal was stated in the past tense and it read something like this:


"It's 2015 and my wife and I have sold Content Marketing Institute
for >insert eight-figure sum here<."

(You'll have to watch our conversation to find out exactly what that eight-figure sum was)

Every single day Joe read that goal and asked himself one simple question:

"Will the next thing I'm going to do today, help me get to that goal I just read?"

Fast forward to 2016 and Joe achieved his goal. Admittedly, he missed it by six months but that was partly due to the red tape involved during the sale. 

Here's the thing: Joe's goal seemed unsurmountable at the time he first wrote it down.

He was broke.

But that didn't stop him from setting himself that audacious goal.

More importantly, he stayed focused on the goal by asking himself that one simple question.  

In this episode of the Productive Insights podcast, we welcome back our friend, Joe Pulizzi, as we discuss Content Marketing.


Click here to watch Joe share his story in his own words. 


Joe Pulizzi and Goal Setting

Joe firmly believes in goal setting. It's been an important part of his life and career. He sets himself 6 to 8 goals each morning and reviews them at the end of each day. 

This one habit enabled him to achieve what seemed like an impossible dream of selling Content Marketing Insitute for $15 million. He was broke at the time he set himself this goal.

Joe suggests you write down your goals and review them regularly. When you review them, ask yourself if your activities are helping you get closer to those goals. 

Over the years, Joe's taken inspiration from Brian Tracy when it comes to goal setting. (You can check out my conversation with Brian on goal-setting here.) 

Goal setting has been important to Joe's career. He writes down six to eight goals each day and reviews them, first thing in the morning before he gets started. 

And he asks himself a simple question:
"Will the next thing I'm going to do today, help me get to that goal I just read?"

And these questions don't have to relate just to business. They could (and should) cover other aspects of your life too. You might want to include financial goals, spiritual goals, mental goals, physical goals, and so on. 

Here are some more useful questions Joe asks himself (that you might want to consider asking yourself):

  • What do I need to do to have a great family life?
  • What do I need to do to become a great father (or parent)?
  • What do I need to do to live for another eighty years?
  • What do I need to do to be aligned with my deeper values and beliefs?
  • What do I need to do to ensure that I'm a happy and effective contributor to society?

Joe focuses on his goals for 15 minutes every day and he says it's probably the best 15 minutes you'll spend most days. 

Here are some useful ideas around setting and achieving your own goals:

1. Set yourself SMART goals

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That's an acronym for:

  • Specific: Avoid using generalities. Keep your goal specific and break down your big goals into smaller achievable chunks (ideally within a 90-day timeframe)
  • Measurable: Think about how you'll measure your success. How will you know you've achieved your goal?
  • Achievable: Set yourself big goals but make sure they're achievable. Have others achieved these goals successfully? If it's been done before then you're on the right track. 
  • Realistic: What's the purpose of the goal? How does it align with your greater mission and your values? Is this goal realistic?
  • Timely: When do you expect to have achieved the goal? Have you documented the deadline and shared it with someone else? 

2. Write down your goals on paper for 30 days

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In my conversation with Brian Tracy, he recommended I write my goals down every day.

Yes, you read that right. 

Write your goals down. 

Every. Single. Day.

I've been doing it for about 60 days now and I've noticed a dramatic difference in my output. I also have a greater sense of urgency and a stronger connection to my why. I can't recommend it highly enough. 

Brian explained that this practice helps to achieve three things:

  • It helps you refine your goals
  • It reorganizes your priorities (as circumstances change)
  • Embeds your goals into your subconscious mind

The goals you write down should be attainable within the next 12 months.

So try it.

Buy a notebook specifically to write your goals in each day.

Write down your goals each day on a new sheet of paper each day (don't look at the previous page) and keep going for 12 months. 

I know from my experience over the last couple of months it's made a big difference. I can't wait to see the impact I'll see over 12 months!

2. Don't multi-task. Focus on completing things and getting closure on your goals

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Multi-tasking is a misnomer. According to Dr. Srini Pillay — Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School — to whom I spoke in Episode 142, most of us aren't capable of multi-tasking.

A bunch of half-finished projects sitting around doesn't help anyone. You need to practice single-minded focusing. Single-tasking if you will. 

Context switching is the enemy of productivity. James Clear — the author of Atomic Habits — and I discussed this in Episode 175. 

It takes an average of 17 minutes to switch from one task to another. That's a lot of time lost when you're focusing on more than one activity at a time. 

Single-tasking also helps you increase your motivation.

You're better off using themed days. Pick a theme for each day (maybe 2 at most) and focus just on those things. 

3. Harness the power of effective reward structures

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A great way to develop a sense of urgency and momentum around tasks is to create a strong reward/incentive structure for yourself. 

You might say to yourself that after you finish this blog post, you'll treat yourself to a nice coffee.

Or maybe if you achieve your sales target for the quarter, you'll take your family on a nice holiday. 

The key here is to only reward yourself when you achieve a goal (and not otherwise). 

This creates a strong connection with the lizard brain and tends to change behavior permanently. 

Joe Pulizzi on Epic Content Marketing

Joe started off working with brands like Microsoft and Parker Hannifin. He helped them tell their stories a little differently. 

They'd do custom magazines, newsletters, and webinars in order to achieve marketing goals.

He loved the idea of sending out valuable content to customers.

But then as he launched his own business, (which became Content Marketing Institute), he started to look at different businesses like Brian Clark's and realized there could be something bigger here. 

So, Is it possible to build a successful business off of content marketing?

In short, yes. 

You do have to get a few things right though. 

Here are a few steps to get you started:

1. Build a loyal audience

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You've got to build a loyal audience where you're seen as the expert. You've got to become their go-to person. 

Your content needs to impact their lives or their jobs in some meaningful way. Most content doesn't do this. Most content is pedestrian. Doesn't warrant a second look. 

You've got to become the authority.

To do this you've got to have a point of differentiation. You've got to have what Joe calls a content tilt.

2. Figure out your content tilt

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What's your point of differentiation? Why is your content different to the rest of the information out there?

For example, Hubspot is known for helping their buyers move through the stages of the buyer's journey by offering specific and very helpful templates, cheat sheets, infographics that are related to the content topic and connect the buyer to the content in a way that's very useful to the buyer. 

3. Don't diversify too early (find your focus first)

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Once they've found their content tilt, businesses often make the mistake of diversifying too early. 

They try and target their audience via a podcast, a YouTube channel, Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook ads, Twitter, a magazine, and a newsletter.  

That doesn't work! 

You can't pick 27 different platforms and expect to succeed. 

You've got to pick a lane! You've got to choose. You have to learn to say "No" to most things (so you can say yes to the few things that matter).

Focus and provide the content on a platform where you can give the most value to your audience. 

Where does your audience hang out? Go there and deliver specific content (with a tilt) to them consistently. 

4. Deliver consistently and cultivate a minimum viable audience

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The formula is simple really.

Create unique content for a specific audience that establishes you as an authority and then deliver to them consistently over the long term.

Once you do that, you've created what Brian Clark calls a minimum viable audience. An audience that knows likes and trusts you. 

And that's what leads to a natural progression from someone who consumes your content (over time) to becoming a paying customer. 

As Bob Burg said:

"All things being equal, people will do business with and
refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.

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So there you have it. 

A clear strategy for goal setting and achievement, and a content-based business.

And now here's my question for you:

What audacious goal will you set for yourself? 

And more importantly, what questions will you ask yourself every day to keep yourself on track? 

Comment down below and let me know.

I'm curious. 

Oh and don't forget to check out the transcript below. 

Links Mentioned

  1. The Tilt: Business Newsletter
  2. Content Inc. Podcast
  3. Joe Pulizzi's website
  4. Joe Pulizzi's New Book: Content Inc.

Related Episodes

  1. 075. Joe Pulizzi on Content Marketing and the Buyer's Journey
  2. 207. Brian Tracy on Goal Setting
  3. 210. From Apple to Canva: Guy Kawasaki on Entrepreneurship
  4. 200. Seth Godin on Marketing - With Ash Roy
  5. How To Create Great SEO-Friendly Content
  6. 212. Neil Patel on SEO Strategies


Ash Roy and Joe Pulizzi Video Transcript (This transcript has been auto-generated. Artificial Intelligence is still in the process of perfecting itself. There may be some errors in transcription):


Intro  0:32  

Welcome to the Productive Insights Podcast, where you can learn how to systemize automate and scale your business via the Internet to access previous episodes and useful productivity tips go to WWW dot productive Now, here's your host, Ash Roy.


Ash Roy  0:53  

Welcome back to the Productive Insights Podcast. This is Ash Roy, the host of the productive insights podcast and the founder of, and this is episode 214 with Joe Pulizzi. Joe Pulizzi is the Amazon best selling author of Content Inc, killing marketing and Epic Content Marketing, which was named a must-read business book by Fortune Magazine, his novel The will to die Yes, he's a novelist to was awarded the best suspense book of 2020 by the National indie excellence awards. Joe's version of Content Inc will be released in May 2021. That's the latest version, which I'm very excited about. And I've already pre-ordered. He's founded four companies, including the Tilde and the Content Marketing Institute, which is what we talked about back in Episode 75. And you can access that at In 2014, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. He's also got an awesome podcast, which I've been listening to, and I recommend checking out. So I'm delighted to welcome back Joe Pulizzi, from, and And today we're going to talk about profitable content marketing strategies that will help you achieve sustainable business growth. So welcome back, Joe. It's awesome to have you, man.


Joe Pulizzi  2:07  

Ash, it's been a long time. I can't believe that you fit almost 150 episodes in between the first time we chatted, so I'm looking forward to chatting again and catching up.


Ash Roy  2:16  

Yeah, and check out all the things that have changed. Now Joe, I have a funny story to start off with. I met with Brian Clark when he was here in Sydney. He was doing a sabbatical in Australia. This was a couple of years ago. And I said to him, I haven't heard anything from Joe Polter. He seems to have fallen off a cliff. Is he still around? And Brian clocks at our man, he sold Content Marketing Institute for a very healthy summer. He's probably in the Bahamas somewhere. So I was like, oh, wow, that's, that's awesome. I was wondering, what did he sell it for? I'm curious. And then I was doing my research for this conversation. And I found that you spoke to our common friend Chris Ducker. And in that conversation, you said that somewhere in 2008, you had written down a goal that you were going to sell Content Marketing Institute for 15 million US dollars by 2015. And he wrote it in the past tense. Now you read that goal every day. And you ask yourself one question every day and in 2016, you sold Content Marketing Institute for $15 million US what was that question you asked every day, first of all,


Joe Pulizzi  3:25  

thank you for bringing that up. Because my goal setting is has been so important to my career, and writing things down and then making sure that I'm doing the right thing. So as I would read my goals, and I had usually six to eight goals that I would review it first thing in the morning before I got started, and then before the end of the day, and I want to ask myself, okay, am I doing the things during the day. So the next thing I'm going to do is help me get to that goal that I just read. And that's why I love doing that first thing in the morning because you get involved in emails you get in social media, you get in your phone, and you're very inefficient with your time you might be unproductive, you might do some things that's not going to get help you to reach that goal. Because as you know, I mean 2008 my wife and I were broke, we didn't have any money throwing out as silly goal. egotistical goal, like you know, $15 million in seven years is ridiculous when we had nothing at the time, but reviewing that in the morning and then before going to sleep at night was important because the brain does magical things when you sleep it whether you believe it or not. I believe that and so that I would wake up with all kinds of amazing ideas on how to review that goal, and I would make decisions so that we accomplish those goals. So yeah, I mean, it's so strange how that happened. I mean, it was we couldn't make the 2015 number ash because the timing was just that we just weren't there with the revenue and profit numbers then but we started the process in 2015. And then we had our you know the letter of intent in November 2015. And the deal went through in June of 2016. And so we were, we were one year out, we were six months off. But I tell everyone, record your desires, review your desires on a regular basis, and then remove all the things that are in your way that are not helping you achieve your goals.


Ash Roy  5:12  

Oh, congratulations, man. Because Thank you. I mean, that is such an amazing story. And that question that you asked yourself each day, which is what do I need to do, to get closer to that goal is so valuable. And after listening to that conversation with Chris, I was thinking like, man, I need to write down my goals. And then I remember this conversation I had in Episode 207, with Brian Tracy. And he said, he has this little hack where he said, You write down your goals every day for 30 days, and your goals by changing his day, but you write it down every day for 30 days. And I think the idea is to internalize your goals. And that makes you reconnect with them. And then he said in 30 days, your life will change. I have to confess I have wanted to do it. But I didn't do it. But running down one goal and then reading it every day and asking myself that question, what do I need to do to get closer to that goal? And is what I'm going to do today? I'm going to get closer to that goal is a great question to ask. Steve Jobs in his Stanford address, asked that question every day except not so much about the goal. He said, If today was the last day of my life, would I do what I'm about to do today? And if the answer was no, for too many days in a row, he knew he had to change what he was about to do. He was a pretty scary guy to work for, which is what Guy Kawasaki said in Episode 210. But I'll tell you what he achieved a lot in his life if you can take away the flaws of which I believe he had many, he did some great things.


Joe Pulizzi  6:43  

Well, you just named three of the greatest leaders of our of our time. I mean, when I, when I first started in sales, I read I listened to Brian Tracy tapes in the car. I mean, he was the first business thought leader that I listened to. And I would listen to them over and over again, the stuff that you know, that's why I do what I do today. And just trying to you know, with Stephen Covey, and Napoleon Hill, and looking at all and bringing that together with my own philosophy. I mean, my philosophy is stolen from all the people that you've just talked about, but you make it your own. I mean, are there any original ideas? I mean, you just adapt, right? You steal and you adapt. I totally believe that. If you just do the simple things. I mean, if you just spent a percent of your day, I mean, you're talking about 15 minutes of your day, it doesn't take very much. Can you spend 15 minutes of your day, planning out what you want to be for the rest of your life? I don't think it's too much to ask five minutes, seven minutes in the morning, five minutes, seven minutes at the end of the day, change will happen. And I guess the one thing I was going to add to that is an after this after I read TEDx rule by Grant Cardone, and of course Stephen Covey's whole idea, beginning with the end in mind, I would not just focus on business goals, Ash, it was really important for me to separate those goals into multiple categories. So I would say, Okay, what are my financial goals? And I would pick one or two of my spiritual goals, what are my philanthropic goals? What are my mental goals? What are my family goals? What are my physical goals, so six areas, because what I found when I was starting in business 2007 2008, when I started, what became Content Marketing Institute, I was so focused on the business side, I sort of lost touch, as you were saying, with the personal side of this, there's more than just business, there's more than just money. So you have to kind of say, Okay, well, what do I need to do to have a great family life? What do I need to do to be a great father? What do I need to do so that I can live for another 80 years, you know, those types of things, and you meld those together, you have six or eight goals that you're reviewing, your life will change.


Ash Roy  8:44  

I agree completely. It is such an important point. Because if you are myopically obsessed with business goals, you'll probably end up doing it at the expense of other goals. So that's right, such a great point. And I gotta say, Man, I had a dream of having people like you on the podcast, everyone gets inspired by other people. And by the way, for those who were just listening, because this has been published to YouTube, as well as on the podcast, but if you just listen to the podcast, I held up a book just 10 called steal like an artist by awesome play on when Joe mentioned that ultimately, we all steal. And I want to touch on that a little bit later in the conversation actually, about original vs quote, unquote, stolen content. And I just want to really explain that properly, because I'm not promoting plagiarism in any way here. Ultimately, it comes down to hard work, dedication, persistence, there's a lot of I'll make you a millionaire overnight bs going on out there. And I don't believe that for one second, the hard work has to be in there somewhere. And that is so enjoyable Anyway when you really put work into something and you get the results from it. That is so enjoyable. Absolutely. So Joe, in your book, Epic Content Marketing, you talk about building a profitable business. off the back of a content marketing strategy. Now that is something that I had quite a lot of difficulty getting my head around for some time, and probably a lot of our listeners and viewers may have some challenges trying to get their head around. So could you share a framework around how this works? How do you build a successful business? As a content entrepreneur, as you call it,


Joe Pulizzi  10:25  

I started in publishing, and I was lucky enough to start working with big brands like Microsoft, like Parker Hannifin and help them tell stories a little bit differently. And they would do no custom magazines, newsletter webinars in order to achieve marketing goals, and there was fine, it was great, right? I love the idea of, oh, we're gonna send out valuable content in order to not necessarily create an audience, but send in a group of customers. And if we do this the right way, their behavior will change our marketing, and then we can hit our goals and everybody's happy. So that's how I started in the business. But then as I launched my own business with became Content Marketing Institute, or as I started to look at different businesses like Brian Clark's, or like, Chris Ducker in what he's doing it you printer, I said, there's something bigger here, it can just be a marketing thing. That's okay. You don't you don't have to change the world necessarily, you could just market better. And I think it is a better way to market. But let's just say you want this to be your business. So the first thing is admin, as we talked about this in the new book content, Inc. First of all, you have to actually build a loyal audience where you become the leading informational expert in something where most people go wrong. Ash is they have no what we call a content tilt, there's no differentiation, you have to start with a hook, you have to figure out well, why are they going to pay attention to my content? How is it helping them live a better life or get a better job? So that's the first part of if you just look at basic content marketing, you have to be delivering something unique, and something that's going to make an impact on that audiences, jobs or life in some way. Most content doesn't do that. Most content is terrible. Most content is a waste of time. So if you figure that Okay, good, let's say you have a differentiation area, then you go on to the most important part is what most companies do is when they fail in content marketing is they diversify too quickly, they'll say, oh, okay, we've got our differentiation area, we got a hook. And now we're going to target this audience. And we're going to do a podcast. And we're going to do a YouTube series. And we're going to be on tik tok. And we're going to be on Twitter, and we're going to do Twitch, and we're going to do magazine, and God knows what else a blog newsletter everything. I've been in way too many companies ash, and I've done way too many content audits, to find out that's what's being done most of the time, and they never work. You diversify too quickly, you become a jack of all trades, master of none, and you never create anything great. You never create anything indispensable. So what's the formula, the formula is, you've got to choose, that strategy is all about choosing, you have to say no to some things, you have to say no to the podcast. So you can be great at the email newsletter, you have to say no to the YouTube series. So you can be great at the podcast, depending on whatever you choose. So it's unbelievable if you just look at is a very, very simple model. What's my hook? What's my differentiation? That's my content till and then what's my home base, what's my platform, you deliver consistently, over a long period of time you build what Brian Clark says himself is a minimum viable audience. And then what you do once you do that, and you have an audience that knows likes, and trusts you guess what, they will pretty much buy, not only will they buy whatever you offer, they will tell you what they will buy, which is what happened with our situation with Content Marketing Institute, when we started, we built an audience at about 10,000 opt-in email subscribers, we were driving a really good audience with our blog. But the products that we were launching, were not working very well. But then I started to look at the blog comments, and I started looking at the email comments. And what I found out was, Oh, my gosh, they're saying, Joe, can you offer training Joe? Is there a physical event that you could offer? There's no big content marketing events. And I'm like, oh, my goodness, they're telling us exactly what to offer. We built the audience we had that they know, they knew they liked us, they trust us. And then we went and launched, you know, what became, you know, what we sold for in 2016. The content marketing world wasn't even our idea. It was our subscriber's idea. And in three years from that time, it was a $5 million US event. So it's just those types of things. And the problem is as besides what we just talked about, most organizations that are creating content, they stop, they don't go through the tough times of six months to 18 months, where it's barren, where it's tough to build an audience. Audience building. If you want to really build a sustainable business, it takes time. This is a marathon and is not a sprint. You know, you're in episode one. We 215 you I mean, you have to do this consistently every week and that's why you're getting Guy Kawasaki and that's why you're getting Brian Tracy on your podcast. That's why they want to be Because you've built an audience, and they want to get in front of that audience, and you can now monetize that any way you choose what you're going to be do so with respect to your audience. So it's not rocket science, anyone can do this. But the problem is, is most people just they don't have the patience, they don't have the grit and they can't get to like what we did. You know, it took us 22 months, 22 months of delivering a blog blog post every day, to get to what we felt was an audience we could really monetize. And then once we did that, the revenue and profit just shot through the roof. But again, the first 22 months, you know, we were struggling, I didn't think we were I thought I was a big failure. I didn't think we were gonna make it. That's how we do it. There is a formula is and we talked about it in content in the book, it's a seven-step formula, anyone can do it, you wonder why there are not more of these businesses out there. Because they can't make it through the first 1218 months. They just can't do it. They don't do it. Once you make it through that, then you're like, Oh, my gosh, it's wonderful. There's bright lights out here. There are people giving me money. But


Ash Roy  16:00  

you got to get there first, some great ideas, and I wanted to draw on a few of those. But before I do, I just want to mention, there's a great episode that Rand Fishkin did in Episode 38, where he talked about content and how that relates to SEO, and you can access that at In fact, any episode number I'm trying out there, you just go productive insights, comm forward slash the episode number, we'll take you there. And this episode will be I talked to Seth Godin, and Episode 200, absolute honor, his view on SEO was don't try and write for the search engines, but rather just kind of write for yourself. Because ultimately, if you just write for the search engines, you get kind of commoditized. And then I've touched on that again with Neil Patel. He was on episode 212. And we touched on that issue as well. So that was an interesting conversation. My question to you is one, where do you see Seo? Playing its role in content creation? How much should it dictate your content? To? How do you differentiate your content? I remember you telling me in Episode 75, the question to ask is, Will anybody miss your content? If it's gone? How do you differentiate it? Do you differentiate based on topic? do you differentiate based on angle? And the last question I have? Sorry, I'm piling them in here. With your blog post that you wrote every day. How long were they with a 200 word blog post with a 2000? word blog post,


Joe Pulizzi  17:35  

let's talk about SEO, you always write for the audience. And the more defined your audience is the better. So if you have even a person in mind and Hanley, who is a rock star,


Ash Roy  17:47  

want to get on the podcast? Yeah.


Joe Pulizzi  17:48  

And you probably will, Chief Content Officer marketing profs. She always has a person in mind, one of the audience members she has, whether that's Jill, or whether that's Joe, or whether it's ash, she has that person's needs in mind. And she writes to that. So that for SEO, you, that's not even a thing yet, right? You're talking to your audience, then once you produce it, you should have your editorial team look at it to make sure it's fine, double. And that's what SEO is. So you put in the links, you put in the keywords that make sense. And you make sure whatever you do, you don't hurt that message in any way. But again, if you're creating content, and it's not fundable, what are you wasting your time for? It has to be fundable. And SEO makes it fundable. We just did an interview with seven or eight interviews for the content Inc book. And every one of them is getting 40 to 50 to 60% of their total traffic from search engines, from Google, from YouTube, from Pinterest, where at whatever it is, they're getting their traffic there. It's really, really important. So that's one SEO, you're always right, for the human, you're waiting for the person, but you have to do the things to make sure it's fundable. You know,


Ash Roy  18:53  

that's exactly what Neil Patel said, as well, in Episode 212.


Joe Pulizzi  18:57  

And Neil knows as Neil knows this stuff, I would tell it because Neil is a superstar getting found because you type into any keyword and marketing ads that Neil pops up. So he absolutely knows his stuff. Second question, you were talking about differentiation, you can differentiate a lot of different ways. For us as Content Marketing Institute, we just reposition the story. Content Marketing is a very old discipline, we just gave it a new look and a new spin. Nobody was calling it content marketing. They called it custom publishing custom content, custom media. We didn't feel that was an appropriate term for what was going on with social media and search. And we said I think it's content marketing that will resonate with marketers publishing is moving to marketing. So Oh, content marketing. I know a lot of people don't like that term, but it resonates really, really well with marketers, and that was our audience. So that's how we did HubSpot. Marketing Automation company did the same thing with inbound marketing, as you remember. Well, so that's a positioning standpoint. So let's say then you could also do it by the audience. Let's say that you were targeting a group of plant managers in manufacturing, all right, well, how can you be the leading expert in the world to a group of plant managers can be very, very hard to do no matter what you're talking about. So maybe you say, Okay, well, we're talking to plant managers in companies that have more than 10,000 employees. Okay, that's something plant managers, more than 10,000 employees who outsource their goods to India and China. Oh, okay. Well, that's another one. And then just keep moving down. So you can use your audience a little bit more. So you could do it by audience, you could do the same thing by topic. If you did content marketing today, and you launched a Content Marketing blog, you would never get found. It's almost impossible. It's too cluttered. So you'd have to say, Who am I targeting? And you have to mix that up and mash it up and say, okay, maybe I'm talking about financial derivatives, content marketing for b2b? Well, good. That's maybe something you could be the leading expert in the world at, take it down, ask the simple questions and go down with your topic and your audience. And then when you mash those together, we call that the sweet spot. When you mash those together, then ask yourself if we do the work, as you said, you got to do the work. If you did the work. And you looked at that, could you be the leading informational experts in your niche after 18 to 24 months? And if the answer's no, something's wrong. You're there's too much competition there Google, go to a deer friendly search engine and type in cloud computing and see what comes up. What what will come up is posts from Amazon, and Oracle, and Salesforce, and IBM, and you know, what they look feel sound all the same. There's no differentiation there. They're all talking about it the same way. I wish somebody would have looked and said, How can we be different in cloud computing and not just sound like it's coming from Wikipedia every time? Yeah, so those are very, very important. Okay, that got your first two, what was your third one? ash?


Ash Roy  21:49  

Ever. So you're piling


Joe Pulizzi  21:52  

on questions. So anyway, those are the things that you've got to remember that you can do the work upfront. And this is why we have strategy. This is why you take time upfront, and you don't just go start creating things. Because you have to take the time to figure out why should anyone care? And then you have to figure out okay, well, if we get someone to care, what are we going to do about it? How do we end up monetizing it? What's the business plan around it? Those things should be worked out in the first couple of months before you do one blog post one podcast episode or what YouTube series?


Ash Roy  22:22  

I'll tell you what, I can't remember that other question. But if you are listening or watching, and you remind us of the question in the comments, maybe we'll come back and talk about it. Right? Yeah, absolutely. We'll get them on the backend. So we'll do that. There's so many things that are coming up that I'm gonna talk about, but I don't want to interrupt you because you're dropping so much incredible value. Oh, yes. I remember that other question. Oh, fantastic. You blogged every day. Oh, how long was it? How many words was with a blog?


Joe Pulizzi  22:50  

When we start, we started blogging in 2007. Actually, April 26 2007, was my first blog post. It was why content marketing. So we started with that whole thing. And before then, if you look at 2000, to 2005 2006, everyone said 250. Word blog posts are where it's at. Yeah, just get found in Google. And you could trick your trick enough, it didn't have to be that valuable. You get found in Google, there wasn't a lot of competition. When we started, our blog posts were probably between 800 words and 1200 words. Today, a Content Marketing Institute, an average blog post is 2000 words or more, you need long. And I know people don't believe in this because everyone's talking about snackable content and 15 second videos or whatever. But that's not the world I live in the world I live in is long-form content wins on all channels, except for your, you know, tik tok, or Snapchat. But even when you look at YouTube, Matthew Patrick is an amazing YouTuber, he runs a great channel called game theory, the game theorist channel, he's got 13 million subscribers and his audience, his peak audience attention time is between 12 and 15 minutes in the video. YouTube is not for short videos, YouTube is for long, long-form video. So that's how it works out. So and I look at that in everything, we just launched our E-newsletter, the tilt, calm, our average e-newsletter is about 2000 words. So again, it's got to be great. It's got to be focused, it's got to be amazing. It's got to be indispensable. But if it is, your audience will allow you to then then you can take them on the journey. And they will be like they don't feel like it's long. Like for example, we're going to talk for about an hour. If it wasn't interesting, after two minutes, they would go do something else. But hopefully, they're still listening to this. And they're saying, Oh, this is great. And they'll listen for the whole hour. Don't think that you've got to Oh, we've got to have the 15 second thing and we got to be on Tick tock, you know, if you're trying to do that, you're probably trying to game the system. It's all about delivering valuable information over a long period of time. Most of that's longer form.


Ash Roy  24:49  

So something that Neil mentioned was he often goes back and update old content, right and this is something that is quite often overlooked by bloggers. Now I have an interesting idea or a question for you, I have difficulty sitting down and churning out 2000 word blog posts every day, I just don't have the time. But I came up with this idea of incremental blogging. And I want to try and grab the URL, actually. So the idea is that I write something about a topic. I remember Seth Godin once said to me, you know, you should write every day. And I said, Yeah, but what am I going to write about? I can't write 2000 words every day. And he said, just right. And so I began, and I wrote every day in November, and I wrote small blog posts, just, you know, snackable content, it wasn't getting much traction. But I'm thinking now that a lot of those have seeds in them, a lot of them are really valuable seed ideas. Because when you write everyday, even if you write a few sentences, there's a forcing mechanism, it forces you to think about things a little bit more deeply. What do you think about incremental blogging, going back, and then updating the content incrementally as you get more ideas and for more connections?


Joe Pulizzi  25:58  

First of all, updating old content, if you have a blog, is maybe the most important thing that you could do, because you already are indexed into the search engine. And then Google sees you're updating that site, and you're probably making the links work and all that stuff. It is amazing how many people do not do this. You're smart. If you look at Andy crestodina, if you look at I just talked with Kristen Boer from barefoot theory, great outdoors, website, adventure website, that's the number one thing they do is update old content. So I think you have absolutely have that as a business strategy. If you look at your idea of incremental blogging, I think that's absolutely something that you could do. But I'm going to challenge you with this as you're already doing long-form content. Right? You do a podcast, this podcast is an hour-long. If you do the transcription of this podcast, what do you have 3000 words? So you already are doing your long-form content in the pocket now, by the way, you could absolutely go right if that's what you want to do. And that's a good diversification strategy for you, but you already have your your platform, you already have your base, and you can do that so and by Seth Godin has his daily blog. He's been blogging what since 2000 2001, he's never missed a day. That's incredible. That's his thing. So yeah, if you wanted to do that, when I wrote the mystery thriller, The will to die, it took me about four weeks of daily writing to find a rhythm, it's much easier for me to write nonfiction, and to write instructional blogging, than to make up a story and all that it defines and find the inciting incident and everything that goes along with, with writing mystery novels. So you have to get into a rhythm, it's this, it would be the same thing for you in writing, I would imagine, if you did it incrementally, or you did it, you would probably say by day seven or nine, you're like something changed, because you're doing it every day. And that's the thing, right? You became a great podcaster. Probably after 100 podcasts, I became a great, I don't ever say I would be It was great. But I became a good writer, a good blog post writer, probably after 200 blog posts. So it takes time to build your proficiency. And along the way, you're gonna break lots of things and go do it. Go break things, find your voice, find your audience, you do those things, why it takes two, three years to really build an audience. And if that they'll follow you on that journey,


Ash Roy  28:16  

going back and updating your blogs every I think even Darren Rouse had mentioned this actually, at one point, that's a good practice. And the way you would do it is you would go and not just change the subheads, and so on. But you will also read the content and see if it's still relevant and make changes based on that. And I certainly need to do a lot of that on my blog. You touched on something very interesting earlier on, which was audience building. And this is a question that I was going to ask you later, but I'm going to push it forward. Now. The audience first versus product first business strategies. Which do you recommend? And why? It's not a trick question. It's


Joe Pulizzi  28:51  

one of my favorite questions that people ask me, well, first of all, product, lead or service, lead businesses are 99.5% of businesses out there, right, you get an idea of your wonderful product that you want to launch. And you go through the product development process, and you figure out how you're going to go through that how you're going to marketing everything, so that that's what most companies do it all. But all you have to do actually is look at the statistics, in most entrepreneurs after three to five years fail for a business for a product lead strategy. If you look at first time entrepreneurs, if you look at Y Combinator statistics, it's about one in 10. So if I'm starting as an entrepreneur like I did in 2007, and I'm leading product first, I've got a 10% chance of success. Now I'm not saying the product lead is bad. I'm just saying it's a high failure rate. There has to be a better way to go. And that's why I like content first or audience first models because they're less capital intensive. They don't take as much money and they just take more time. They just make more patients so if you build that audience, you don't you're not leading with a product. You're not leading with Robin Do you have a plan for that? And there are eight 910 different ways you can monetize an audience. And we can go through some of those later if you want to. But if you look at all that, why would I want to leave product first and have all my money go down, you know, that product development hole, when there is a better way to launch a business, who's that audience you're going to target that you would sell that product to, you can keep the idea for the product, but build the audience first, do all you're doing all the marketing upfront, so that when you're ready to launch that product, boom, you're building a pre customer list, it's right there, then they'll tell you whether or not they want to buy it. But better yet, I would wait on the product development and see whether or not they're going to buy it as Brian Clark did with Copyblogger. They wanted all kinds of SEO tools and WordPress themes and whatever. He just saw that okay, I better do that. And then he created a multimillion-dollar business out of it from a blog. It just seems a better way to go, especially for small businesses that don't have a lot of money. If you want to be a unicorn. If you want to be a multi-billion dollar company, the content first audience first is not for you. Absolutely not, it is not going to get a billion-dollar valuation. But if you'd like to sell your company for 2030 $50 million dollars, content first is fantastic. I can live on that, right.


Ash Roy  31:16  

By the way, it was such an honor to have a beer with Brian Clark. That was like a dream come true for me, because john Morrow taught me how to ride he was trained by Brian Clark. So I was so honored to catch up with Brian in person. I mean, that was a big day for me. He's a fantastic person. Absolutely. Yeah. Question about the transcripts, you mentioned that I could be transcribing the podcast, which we do. But what about the user experience, wouldn't it mean to actually create some good quality subheads in the transcripts to make it a little bit easier to read.


Joe Pulizzi  31:45  

So basically, we've got two podcasts, this little marketing podcast, which is our weekly news, podcasts and marketing. And then we've got a five-minute podcast, which is the continent podcast, which is motivational. I just do show notes for those, we promote those out through the newsletter. That's how we get findability, if I was just going to look at what's the best way if ons as a standalone, I probably would create an article out of the posts separately, or maybe multiple ones. Right. So I'll give you a really good example, I was on an interview, I brought up Kristen board from barefoot theory. So outdoor adventure site, we just talked to her, we're on a clubhouse call for an hour, which we're recording. And that will become a podcast, we're thinking I just talking with a GYN who's our editor, we're thinking there are three to four to five articles in that you could cut it up, you know, you could just produce the podcast like you are. But from that you might have three or four different articles, because she talked all about how you should update your old content. There's there was like 750 to 1000 words just in that we can take some of her transcripts out of that, and or some of her quotes out of that. But then give here's the bullet points. And here's how to do it do a nice image and done. So the thing is, is that, you know, let's hope after you and I have this discussion, there's some value here. You might say, here's a blog post on how to start a content verse business. Here's the thing on how to get found in search engines, updating your old content. Here's the thing on how to set goals and find meaning in your life, you know, you we've got all kinds of blog posts here. So the thing is, you just have to build a strategy, and follow up on that. And you don't have to do it all yourself. And of course, if you're a content entrepreneur, I would say, let's hire some people, let's hire some freelancers to help you do all that for you so that you could do what you're good at what you love to do. And you don't have to do all that other stuff. That


Ash Roy  33:29  

brings up another very important question. One of the biggest challenges I have, and this is probably because I'm a bit of a perfectionist is getting people to write in my voice. I can hire people to write for me, but I always end up feeling like, that doesn't sound like me, and I need to rewrite it. Sometimes I could go back and look at my own stuff and go oh, that doesn't sound like me. So how do you find a writer that can write in your voice?


Joe Pulizzi 33:54  

Do you want them to ghostwrite it for you? Or is there a certain voice for your brand?


Ash Roy  33:59  

That's a good point, actually, yeah, I


Joe Pulizzi  34:00  

suppose you could have guest posts, if there's two different things, right? Let's say I'm the tilta comm that's our site, and I want to write a blog post, I write that blog post. And I know, here's the tone, here's the things that are important to the tiller, here's who we're targeting. So I have that all in front of me. And I'm writing that I'm writing as me. But I also know, here's kind of our attitude about the whole thing. If we have a Guest writer, right, they have that in front of them too. And now I don't want them to write like me. I want them to write like the tilt. I want them to write a little bit sarcastic, have a little bit of fun, not taking everything seriously. So if you're going to do that, and you're going to hire somebody, you need to give them a style guide. You should absolutely have a style guide up. Here's what we stand for. Here's what we are. Here's how we talk. We use these words and not these words, were gender-inclusive, or, you know, whatever the case is. Yeah. And make sure that they know that. And then honestly, it's still not perfect. I mean, you and I both worked a lot with a lot of contractors and freelancers you do try out periods. Do one-month trial periods, those work really well, you know, after a month and a couple of articles, whether they're gonna get it or not, some get it, some don't. But the ones that get it, they're the ones that stay on with you forever, and you keep your staff minimal. And you're good to go. That would be my recommendation. And again, it's different if they're ghostwriting, and it has to be you versus This is Ash Roy, his brand, or productive insights, productive insights is different than Ash Roy. Yes. So yeah, yeah. So that's what I would say if you're writing for Productive Insights, you have the style guide for that you don't care that they sound like you, you sound like you


Ash Roy  35:34  

something, if we have time for I want to touch on, is a pillar and cluster strategy and how SEO is moving from keyword-based to topic-based. But before we do that, I wanted to talk about something that's very interesting bit of an apple fanboy. And I've been following Apple, not just their products, but as a business model. And I've invested in Apple, Apple has made some very clear moves towards the content Game Over the last couple of years, particularly after Steve Jobs' passing, I don't see them as a product-driven company anymore. I'm not saying they don't do of course, they do products. But we've seen the rise of Apple Music and Apple TV plus and the apple exercise thing, whatever it's called, just a couple of days ago, they announced spatial audio and lossless audio. And they have announced some game-changing stuff in the music space, which is delivered by a combination of software and hardware I would imagine, and which is very hard for the competitors like Spotify to follow. So in my mind, Apple is hedging their bets and moving towards a content-driven strategy and moving towards a bit of a membership model as well. I'm interested to know your thoughts on that. And what do you think about the fact that we are having such an absolute explosion of content? We've got Netflix, we got free content, we got paid content, we're getting smashed messages. We don't know where to turn, where does it go from here? How much content can a human being consumed? Well,


Joe Pulizzi  37:03  

you can consume 24 hours of content every day, right, theoretically. And it's been the same for the last many, many years, as far as I can remember, since the printing press was developed. And that's what I always talk about, we've always had too much content. It feels like a lot more because of the devices. It feels like a lot more because everyone can create content today. But we can only handle so much 24 hours, what is the average human being consumed average adult consumed per day in content, it's anywhere between three and seven hours of content depending on where they're coming from. That's not changing. It's just the mixture changing. So how are we making a decision on what's good? And what's bad? That's the question that you're asking. How do you cut through all the bad content? And we've talked about that is who's the audience? How do you differentiate apples done a great job of differentiating, they have a wonderful user base. And that's maybe the best thing they've ever done. Their technology, it's not superior in any way to some of the stuff coming out of Samsung. Yeah, but what is superior the relationships they have with their audience, and they've done a really good job. I remember for years, this is years ago, when we went to the Apple Store, first of all, Apple Store, great concept, right? You go into the Apple Store, what are they doing? They're doing tutorials, they're teaching people how to use the equipment. Yeah, they're really, they're really nice about it when they do it. And they let you fiddle with everything. They want you to have a great experience. But I think the most important thing that you're saying yet you said the word experiences. This is what we've learned about content. And if you look at any content research, you're looking at anyone that says I've hit my KPIs or not for content marketing, what do we know, if somebody engages in more of our content over a long period of time, they buy more things. That's it. I want to know who went to  content marketing world was our big in-person event every year in Cleveland, Ohio. And I want to say, who's our most valuable customers at Content Marketing Institute. And so I said, let's do the research and figure it out. So we took us a while we put in all the data, we looked at it and what we found out was our best customers are those that subscribe to at least three offerings we had it didn't matter which three had to be three, three was the number. Did they go to content marketing world? Did they subscribe to our E-newsletter? Did they subscribe to our blog? Do they listen to our podcasts? Do they download our white paper series? Whatever, right? Doesn't matter. Yeah, it was just three. Apple knows this. The more you engage with Apple content on Apple devices, the more you'll buy Apple services and Apple products. That's why everybody's getting into this game. And it's almost like they just learned it. So that's what I love about Apple's not stupid. They're moving forward. Spotify is trying to figure out how they can keep up. You've got Netflix that absolutely knows this. And by the way, let's not be ignorant about this Netflix is going to launch a lot more than just Netflix. Netflix is going to be a huge brand doing a lot of different things because they already have the hardest part, the engagement part, they've got it down. It'll be an exciting five years of these big tech companies passionate. I don't think anybody's bought a peloton yet, but somebody will. Because of that, that experience, right? There's everyone either trying to organically create or buy experiences. And that's the game-changer. And content is a huge part of that.


Ash Roy  40:20  

But I got to say, the apples shows, I can't put my finger on. But they, the ones at least the ones that I've watched, do have some slightly different thing to them. I don't know what it is like, the morning show was a very topical thing. But they handled it in a very different way to a lot of content I've seen or I've watched quite a few of the things I wasn't big fan of that show see. But most of that content is slightly different and really good. There was another show called Little America, I absolutely loved it because it was didn't seem to follow the traditional Hollywood three-act. You know, guy conquers the world kind of woman conquers the world kind


Joe Pulizzi  41:01  

of situation. It was just, I don't know how to describe it, they were just different. And that's the thing. They're not they don't have the sheer numbers at Amazon that Netflix have or who has, but they've got really amazing quality. I think the best situation comedy on all of the web is Ted lasso. I don't go to Apple TV all that often, because they don't have the number of shows yet which they will. But what they have on there is great quality morning show exceptional series fantastic. Ted, last, oh, all kinds of awards. I'm not even like an apple guy. But I know what's going on with Apple. And I still love apple. So it's interesting to see what they're doing. And they're all coming together. Everyone's in the same competitive industry, right? They're all trying to create amazing shows amazing theater will be very interesting to see how things evolve in the future. And I think you've got a great point, the next two to three years, we're


Ash Roy  41:54  

gonna see some very interesting things happen. Man, we've talked about so many things, let's talk about the biggest challenges you've seen people face when it comes to building a content-driven business. One, of course, is having the patience and the grit and not expecting results overnight. Any other challenges you've seen people face and how best to overcome them. Over the years that you've been teaching this?


Joe Pulizzi 42:17  

Well, we talked a little bit about it, if I was to make a recommendation to anyone listening to this, and they're probably saying, oh, we're struggling, we're not building an audience, or we're doing all these things, you probably first need to do a content audit and figure out what you're really doing. Because you're probably not even aware of all the things that you're doing, and all the different departments that you have. So go ahead and list all the things you're doing all the blogs, you're doing the podcast, everything listed, you're probably doing too much, you're probably spreading yourself too thin. I've had the opportunity to do about 50 content strategies, audits in very large companies over the last 15 years. And not in any one of them. Have I ever gone in and recommend that they create more content, I always say, Alright, you got 72 different social media channels right now. You're pumping content through all of them. You're really no strategy involved in that. You've got a podcast, you've got a mini-magazine, you got an internal and an external magazine, you got three newsletters, you got a sales newsletter, I mean, you've got when you go through when you really count ash, it's ridiculous how much content and for putting out that much information and spending that much time it's amazing that we don't actually keep tabs on it like accountants to, if it was dollars floating out the window, we would absolutely know what's going on with content, they don't we just create it and think, Oh, we got to do more of it. So that's the number one thing I would go in and I would take a sledgehammer to your content marketing strategy. And I would and then I would start going at it and saying, alright, look at the research, Content Marketing Institute marketing profit research says the average enterprise delivers content 14 to 16 different ways. That's probably 10 ways too many. A you, you have to start using nip to say you know what, what are we? What are we doing on Instagram? We're wasting our time there. They use that as a listening channel. We're not creating content for that one anymore. What are we doing on Twitter? What do we do on Facebook? What do we do on clubhouse? What are we doing on Twitter spaces? How many facebook groups LinkedIn groups go on and on and on? Pinterest? They've got they've they're creating content and every one of those channels is working for No. Okay, let's get rid of all that. And let's let's focus on one or two, one or two, that you can be exceptional at one or two that you can change your customer's lives with. And I could say what are the top three things. One, two, and three stop producing so much content. Let's get realistic. Focus on how you can make an impact on your customers lives in some way with a regular communication vehicle and commit to that for at least nine to 12 months and then come back and talk to me that's


Ash Roy  44:52  

very helpful, the nine to 12 months framework that you've just offered and also wanted to channel that gives People have a clear idea as to what they should focus on. So I'm just going to see if I can do a quick overview of all the things we've talked about. And we'll talk action steps and how people can get a hold of your book. Oh, one more thing before I forget that pillar and cluster strategy. Something I really like about what HubSpot teaches is the idea of having a pillar piece of content and then building cluster bits of content that I like satellite content around that pillar piece. And it kind of is akin to the incremental blogging idea where you build your authority in a particular topic gradually, eventually, one of the clusters could also become a pillar piece, and so on and so forth. And this is driven by the idea that we seem to be seeing a shift from keyword-driven SEO to topic-driven SEO, probably because we're talking to our devices more these days versus typing it in and more AI and semantic search and searcher intent, etc. I just quickly want to get your thoughts on the pillar and cluster strategy.


Joe Pulizzi 46:00  

I mean, it absolutely works for marketing. I mean, the thing is, I like that strategy with the fact that if you look at if you say pillar, I would say that's building a base or building a platform, they could talk about it as a content product, it doesn't matter. But I like that strategy with Okay, well, there's the base, there's the pillar, and then how are we going to market and get people to that, you break that into little bits, and you do that on, let's say, two social channels, and let's say your business to business, I would say, Okay, we have the E-newsletter, or the blog or the podcast is our pillar piece of content. And then we've got regular, you know, eight or 10 pieces a day that is going on on Twitter, and you've got two pieces a day they're going on, on LinkedIn that are absolutely connected to that. So you're focusing on the one pillar, that's what you're doing. That's what you're great at. That's where you're building your audience. But then you're going to say, okay, we're going to build followings on these other two channels. And we're going to break up that into clusters. Absolutely. That's just smart marketing. That's how you get the word out. You're not just going now, you could also say, Oh, I don't want to do that. I want to do an influencer strategy as well. You could do that. But what if you did both? If you did both, it could be pretty powerful.


Ash Roy  47:04  

Okay, that's very helpful. You know, I was approached by HubSpot, they asked me if I'm interested in being a partner, and I love the product so much that I have agreed. So I'm actually a HubSpot solutions partner. Full disclosure, I think that CMS pro product is so good because it actually helps you to do that. It helps you to craft your content, even hints at what you could be writing about. So it reduces the amount of work you need to do in terms of topic and keyword research. We've talked about some very different things in this conversation.


Joe Pulizzi 47:33  

Just we have we've started with strategic goals that we're moving to through marketing.


Ash Roy  47:38  

Yeah, absolutely. It's been so much fun, though. And man, you have been so generous, like you were last time and I'm so grateful to you for that. We talked about the audience first versus the product. First, we talked about stealing like an artist, we didn't get a chance to touch on that in great depth. I recommend the book by awesome play on steal like an artist. It is not about plagiarism, but it's about using other people's work to inspire your own. We talked about how long your blog post should be the idea of incremental blogging, the importance of going back and updating your old content, whether you should go for long-form or short-form content and why long-form is probably a better option. The importance of user experience when it comes to creating content and having the user in mind and running for humans rather than search engines. We talked about how to monetize an audience and the importance of a content audit, which is probably the best action step I think listeners can take right now, which is to do a content audit on their business. Do you have any recommendations in terms of action steps, something that can take away and lock in a quick win from listening to this conversation? And


Joe Pulizzi  48:43  

My one action step that we really didn't cover is when we're talking to businesses of all sizes, they keep their homes on social media, for the most part, their platforms. We're on Twitter, we're on Facebook, we're on LinkedIn, we're on tik tok. And that's By the way, that's fine. But as you know, that's rented land, on rented land. That's right, you can't control your connections there, they can knock you off the platform at any time, they can decide even YouTube can decide even if somebody subscribes to a YouTube channel, they don't have to show it in their feed. So you have no rights. And by the way, I'm not putting those companies down, they keep their private companies, they can do whatever they want. So you as a content marketer, as a business person, you have to take control that and know. So what do you do? So I've talked about in the book, the contact book, we talked about moving it up to subscriber chain hierarchy chain. So when we start we're like, okay, we're building an audience on Facebook or YouTube. Well, we don't have any control there. How do we go up we go up in the middle, you've got podcasts, you get a little bit more control over what you can do and distributed. Then you go to the top, you've got print, and then you've got email. And I know a lot of people will shake their heads. They're like Joe, where are we? This is the year 1995. And we're talking about print and email. We're talking about print Don't care if you don't want to do print, that's fine. People will give up a lot of their data in order to get a quality print publication and there's no competition in print right now. But that's fine. We'll put that off to the side we're talking digital email is where we have the most control. And as far as I can tell, newsletters like morning brew newsletters, like the hustle which HubSpot just purchased with New York Times turnaround strategy, with BuzzFeed turnaround strategy, you know what it's working for him, targeted email targeted sub-segmented email, that you have control, you have a direct relationship with that audience, they've double opted into that you can send them messages, whenever that makes sense, they can send messages back to you long story short, if you believe in this audience building strategy, at the end of the day, in order to drive revenue, you have to have some kind of opt in email newsletter. And it has to be amazing. It has to be indispensable. So that's what I would tell people if you had built your your content houses on rented land, that's fine, you can be forgiven. A lot of people do it. But once you do it and once you build an audience, you've got to figure out a way to move that audience to some kind of an email product


Ash Roy  51:02  

and how frequently Is it okay to email your audience without being a pain?


Joe Pulizzi  51:07  

Well, again, it depends on the quality if you're morning brew, they email every day, if you're the hustle, they email every day. If you are like the till we email twice a week. If you are a regular business, once a week, is generally what we see fortnightly, which is you know, every other week, and Hamleys great e-newsletter anarchy, she sends it every other Sunday, makes a decision that makes sense with the resources you have so that you can be exceptional. I always say that you can do a daily newsletter if it's amazing. If your customers open and I get up in the morning, and they open up morning brew, and it's fantastic every day, you know what they're gonna do the next day, they're gonna open up the next day to you, you can't email him too much when it's great. So that's the thing is you can never throw too much cat bat at somebody if it's amazing. So they got to remember that it's not really a frequency thing. But if you're talking about our resources thing, oh, weekly newsletters are pretty good. When does the new book come out? Or I should say that latest iteration? And how can readers get a hold of it? So content, Inc, it's a seven-step model on how you go from content creator to content entrepreneur, or if you're a larger mid-size, small business mid-sized business, how do you actually create an audience and then sell that audience products and generate revenue from it? So the book is out. Now, probably as soon as you distribute this thing the book is available, you can go to content dashing, calm and get it hot off the bookshelves, all the audiobook should be ready any day as well. So if you want to do audiobook,


Ash Roy  52:32  

and then I really enjoy, you've got a great voice. I love listening to your podcast, and I look forward to listening to the audiobook. Have you narrated it yourself?


Joe Pulizzi  52:40  

I absolutely I did not narrate the mystery thriller that I wrote the will to die. Because I felt now that should not be me. I can't do voices. But every business book I have done the audio. Oh man, that's wonderful. So And then if you want information on the tilt, which is our newsletter for content creators, that is And you can sign up there every Tuesday and Friday, you'll get a newsletter.


Ash Roy  53:08  

I was about to ask about that next, actually. So we're going to link to all those things in the show notes which you can get access to at Thank you so much for being on the podcast, Joe. It's been such an honor. I really, really appreciate you coming back.


Joe Pulizzi  53:24  

Well, Ash maybe next time, we won't wait 140 episodes in between and we'll actually get together sooner. But thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.


Ash Roy  53:31  

You're welcome.


Transcribed by



Ash Roy

Ash Roy has spent over 15 years working in the corporate world as a financial and strategic analyst and advisor to large multinational banks and telecommunications companies. He suffered through a CPA in 1997 and completed it despite not liking it at all because he believed it was a valuable skill to have. He sacrificed his personality in the process. In 2004 he finished his MBA (Masters In Business Administration) from the Australian Graduate School of Management and loved it! He scored a distinction (average) and got his personality back too!