How to Turn Your Book into a Million-Dollar Content Business: Insights from Joe Pulizzi

Book Writing

A few weeks ago we had Joe Pulizzi, the “Godfather of Content Marketing”, as a webinar guest. I interviewed Joe for my upcoming book (thanks to those of you who helped me choose the best book cover design yesterday). His insights are a key part of the premise of the book: you can write a book that invents a new industry category.

In his presentation (you can watch the replay here), Joe laid out the steps to turn your book into a million-dollar creator business.


As an author, you pour your heart and soul into crafting a book that shares your unique expertise and insights with the world. But what if your book could be more than just a one-time publication? What if it could become the foundation for a thriving, million-dollar content business? In my recent interview with content marketing legend Joe Pulizzi, he revealed his proven model for doing just that.

Start with Your Sweet Spot

The Sweet Spot. Source: Joe Pulizzi

According to Joe, the key to building a successful content business starts with identifying your sweet spot – the intersection of your unique expertise and your target audience’s desires and pain points. “What’s the thing that you know or do that’s a little bit better than everyone else?” Joe asks. Once you’ve zeroed in on your sweet spot, you can craft a book that addresses your audience’s most pressing challenges and establishes you as the go-to expert in your niche.

Develop Your Content Tilt

The Content Tilt. Source: Joe Pulizzi

But just writing a book on your sweet spot isn’t enough. To really stand out in today’s crowded content landscape, you need what Joe calls a “content tilt” – a unique angle or approach that sets your content apart. “You need to have an area of differentiation where you can break through all that content clutter and actually have a chance to build an audience,” he explains. Whether it’s your personality, your content format, or your specific niche, find a way to make your book and content unmistakably you.

Build Your Base

Source: Joe Pulizzi

With your book as your core content asset, the next step is to build your audience “base.” For Joe, that meant starting the Content Marketing Institute blog and focusing relentlessly on growing his email subscriber list. “Your show, wherever that’s at – YouTube, TikTok, a podcast, a newsletter – building audience through your email newsletter is the other thing that you’re doing,” Joe advises. Don’t try to be everywhere at once – pick one main platform and pour your energy into making it amazing.

Expand Your Revenue Streams

As your audience grows, you can start to diversify your revenue streams beyond just book sales. Joe breaks down the options:

  • Advertising/sponsorships
  • Events
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Product sales
  • Subscriptions/memberships
  • Consulting services

“Once you build a loyal audience, you ultimately have 10 ways that you can drive revenue,” Joe shares. The key is to focus on one or two additional streams to start, rather than trying to juggle too many at once.

Keep the End in Mind

Perhaps the most inspiring takeaway from my talk with Joe was the importance of beginning with the end in mind. Back in 2008, Joe wrote in his journal: “I sold my company for 15 million in 2015.” At the time, it seemed like an audacious goal. But by staying focused on that long-term vision, Joe was able to grow Content Marketing Institute into a media empire that he successfully exited in 2016. “What do you ultimately want?” Joe encourages us to ask. “Figure out what your perfect day is. And then that’s how you’re going to get there.”

Ready to Turn Your Book into a Business?

If you’re feeling inspired to take your author journey to the next level, I highly recommend diving deeper into Joe’s content tilt model. His book Content Inc. lays out the complete roadmap in detail. You can also connect with Joe and other content entrepreneurs at his annual Content Entrepreneur Expo (use code JP100 to save $100 on your ticket).

The key is to get started now. “Focus and determination are really, really big,” Joe emphasizes. “It takes time. This is difficult. You’ve got to make this risk and do it…I really believe in this model. I believe it’s the best business to get into.”

With your book as your launchpad, you too can build the content business of your dreams. You’ve got this!