How To Build A Startup Around Content

There are many ways to build a business but there isn’t one sure-fire way. Joe Pulizzi, the founder of Content Marketing Institute, which provides education and training around content marketing, believes one of the least risky ways is content marketing. He’s launched a new platform on the Content Marketing site–Content Inc.–geared toward startups and entrepreneurs. Pulizzi interviewed more than fifty entrepreneurs and small business owners who built multi-million dollar businesses around content to find and develop a new entrepreneurial model. The steps to starting a content-focused business are detailed on Content Inc. (and there are other resources for entrepreneurs as well).

“The idea is that if you build your audience first, you’ll be able to sell them almost anything,” says Pulizzi.  “Instead of starting up the traditional way, we think there’s a better way to do it.”

Pulizzi started CMI in 2007 based on the premise that if he created useful content and attracted an audience interested in it, he could build a business around it. CMI provides information about, essentially, that very same thing—content marketing. His revenue has gone from $4.3 million in 2013 to more than $10 million today. “I wanted to share how that worked for me,” he says, so put that information into a book (his fourth), which will be released in September, Content Inc. It details the process of building a business using his content-and-audience-first model.

Most people start a business with a product or service and then build a plan to monetize it, says Pulizzi. His model has entrepreneurs building a content business, and then the product and services around that. “You build the content first, then monetize it. You find a content niche where you can be the leading expert in the world—no matter how small. It’s not the size of the audience it’s the focus on a need for information that’s going unmet.”

To read more of Joe Pulizzi’s advice, visit