Four examples of companies that built their fortunes on content

Audience first, product second is the latest advice being given to America’s up and coming entrepreneurs. In a new wave of business thinking – it’s your audience, not your product or service, that will help make you millions. In his latest book Content Inc Joe Pulizzi speaks to dozens of entrepreneurs that have built their empires using content. Here we’ve picked out four of our favourite examples to give you inspiration on how you can start building your content empire too.

Digital Photography School: is now one of the leading sources information for novice photographers in America. Its author, Darren Rowse, gives advice on how to maximise a wannabe photographer’s picture taking skills. Rather than blog on just ‘photography’ Rowse initially concentrated his content efforts on ‘beginner’s photography’. He grew a niche audience for two years before expanding the information he gave out to cover intermediate photography tips too. During this period his subscriber rate went through the million mark. He managed to monetise his audience and generate three income streams. He writes and creates his own eBooks (of which he’s published 15); he sells direct ads on his site and creates affiliate promotions (on the internet giant Amazon) of other people’s photography products too.

Lauren Luke: The British amateur make-up artist became an early internet sensation when she began vlogging about make-up tips from her bedroom to promote the products she’d been selling on eBay in 2007. The Georgie lass quickly won the hearts of the nation as she demonstrated how to get the latest celebrity make-up look. Her first tutorial was the smokey eyed look which amassed a quarter of a million views. Within five years she’d grown an audience of 135 million which outstripped the global make-up super brand Estée Lauder. She’s gone on to write a weekly column for a British newspaper, appeared on daytime TV giving make-up tutorials and launched her own make-up line as well as a penning a series of teen books.

River Pools and Spas: Marcus Sheridan became the worldwide leader in information about fibre glass pools for homeowners interested in buying a pool. He turned his near failing business in Virginia and Maryland in the US around using a content-led strategy. In early 2009 he cut his usual $250,000 a year spend on TV & radio advertising as well as pay per click by a tenth. Instead he started to create blog posts and informational videos which went on to propel his company’s name to the top of Google’s search rankings. It all began by him answering the most commonly asked questions in his blog posts. In an interview he gave to the New York Times he said he can attribute $1.7 million in sales to one particular blog post. He has since sold the majority of his Pools & Spa business and is concentrating his efforts on sharing his marketing and sales wisdom in

How to cook that: Australia’s best loved stay at home cook, Ann Reardon, has now way exceeded one million subscribers to her YouTube channel and has become YouTube millionaire. It all started after the birth of her third son when she launched her own website where she wrote and posted one recipe a week during her baby’s night feeds. She expanded to uploading the occasional video for more complicated recipes. But over time her audience wanted more and the tutorials became more frequent. In a recent interview she said of her success: “My subscribers say they like the channel because it’s creative, unique, educational and varied. It is not a copy or things you’ve seen before. If it is a simple recipe like donuts then we make it more fun by throwing in giant explosions and firemen.”

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