💻🎤 📚 Platform. Speaking. Book.

Book Writing, Marketing

Joe Pulizzi is another one of the expert interviews for my upcoming book. You know Joe: the founder of The Tilt, the Creator Economy Expo, The Content Marketing Institute.

Well, the big news is that today Joe Announced he sold his new company, The Tilt, a company he barely launched back in April 2021, just two years ago, to Lulu, an online self-publishing book company.

This is Joe’s 3rd sale of a company, after selling Social Tract in 2010, and The Content Marketing Institute, the company that launched the content marketing category.

The Role of Books in Joe’s Success Streak

Joe believes in a very simple formula: Platform. Speaking. Book.

I’ll be sharing part of the transcript of my interview with Joe below, but I wanted to drill down into what he said in the blog post announcing the sale of The Tilt about the role of books in becoming a successful content creator:

When we launched The Tilt two years ago, much of our education was built around the “three legs of the stool” for content entrepreneurs. The first is building a platform and a regular audience. The second is expanding audience growth opportunities through in-person and digital speaking opportunities. The third is becoming the leading expert in your particular niche through a published book.

Let me get into the three elements Joe mentions in his quote:

1. Building a Platform and a Regular Audience

Through all of his books, including his most recent book, Content, Inc., originally published in 2015 and re-published in 2021, Joe emphasizes the importance of publishing content on one platform, and building an audience there.

Preferably a platform you own, like a newsletter or your blog, and one social platform that drives traffic to your owned platform.

By audience, Joe has always emphasized the importance of having subscribers to your mailing list. As the saying goes, “The money is in the list….”

2. Expanding audience growth opportunities through in-person and digital speaking opportunities

Joe Pulizzi speaking at Content Marketing World. Source: JoePulizzi.com

The growth of the Content Marketing Institute, as well as The Tilt, couldn’t have happened without Joe’s ambitious speaking schedule. Joe’s magnetic personality comes through during his speeches, and he creates a bond with audiences whenever he speaks.

At the same time, he has built two successful conferences: Content Marketing World, and The Creator Economy Expo.

He recommends all creators do this (and it’s a strategy I’m starting to implement with StartupBook. Check out my meetup: The Marketing Automation and AI Meetup, here in Austin, TX).

3. Become the Leading Expert In Your Niche by Publishing a Book

Finally (and you’ll see this in the interview transcript below), you need to publish a book…or six.

Hopefully the sale of Joe’s 3rd company has inspired you, and by reading the following transcript you’ll find out how important the role of books are to Joe’s success and his own personal philosophy.

Joe Pulizzi Interview for StartupBook

Book authorship has always held immense importance for me. I believe it sets you apart, even more so than running a popular podcast or YouTube channel. Writing a book can pave the way to speaking engagements and various other opportunities.

A book is a powerful tool for positioning yourself. It tells the world, “This is what I stand for.” It quickly enables someone to understand your values and mission. I think every content entrepreneur should turn their mission statement into a book. Having a physical book not only cultivates super fans but also serves as a tangible mission statement for your company. As your mission statement evolves, you can update your book to reflect those changes.

My first book on content marketing (“Get Content, Get Customers,” co-written with Newt Barret) came about because I believed that if you’re going to launch a business, you need a mission statement in a print format. The idea was to use the book as the best business card on the planet. I ended up co-authoring the book with Newt Barrett. We self-published in 2008.

While working on the book, we also created an eBook for marketing purposes. The eBook went viral in the business-to-business sector and caught the attention of McGraw Hill. The eBook essentially condensed the entire book into a 10-page report. It served as a lead magnet to grow our email list.

Marketing is Publishing

When I wrote “Get Content, Get Customers” with Newt, we talked a lot about what we believed. The general premise was that marketing is publishing. At that time, we could only find two case studies of companies doing it. But that didn’t deter us. Today, the premise remains the same. The business model of media companies like The New York Times is the same as tech companies like Nvidia, Google, or Apple. They’re all building an audience, but they monetize it differently.

Speaking, Another Key Marketing Activity

When building the Content Marketing Institute, I knew that I needed to get out there and speak. Early on, a lot of my consulting business came from speaking at events, which was fortunate because we had no other revenues coming in at the time. So, I saw blogging, writing books, and speaking as a triumvirate strategy.

I used to write blog posts and then reconstruct them into a book. The books and blog would then lead to speaking opportunities, and this created a sort of flywheel. Initially, the speaking engagements were free, but eventually, I started getting paid.

Don’t Just Publish One Book

For running a full-time business, I felt the need to set a goal of publishing a book every two years. So, the progression was like this: “Get Content, Get Customers” came out in 2009, followed by “Managing Content Marketing” in 2011, “Epic Content Marketing” in 2013, “Content Inc.” in 2015, “Killing Marketing” in 2017, my novel “The Will to Die” in 2019, the second version of “Content Inc.” in 2021, and the second version of “Epic Content Marketing” in 2023.

Commitment is Better Than Talent

I believe that this model works very well because it involves commitment, which many people lack. They can manage podcasts, blog posts, and newsletters, but a book requires another level of commitment. All these books are, in essence, mission statements; they all flow together, all delivering value to an audience outside the products and services you sell.

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