Back in 2009, Joe Pulizzi was one week away from giving up his entrepreneurial dreams and going back to a job. It was a dark time, both personally and in the broader economic environment following the financial crisis in the United States.
Joe had fallen in love with a product idea for the then nascent content marketing industry, and built an audience to sell that product to. Unfortunately, the market did not share Joe’s enthusiasm.
While contemplating going back to the world of the employed, Pulizzi realized that he had the answer to his problem. His audience had been telling him what they wanted all along, but he was too preoccupied with the original product idea to notice.
This lead to the founding of Content Marketing Institute, the Chief Content Officer print magazine, and Content Marketing World conference the next year. In the summer of 2016, the entire enterprise was acquired by UBM for $17.6 million.
Quite the turnaround, right? That may well be the best lesson about building an audience first and listening to what they tell you they need and want.
More importantly, CMI made money in multiple ways after finding the right initial monetization path. In today’s episode, Joe shares the eight ways that startups can generate revenue from an online audience, and how to eventually implement all of them concurrently to grow your business.
Note: Due to a technical issue, my end of the interview has a wonky echo. I’m running it as is because Joe’s answers are the important thing. Apologies for the sound quality!