APRIL 16, 2024

Welcome to The Tilt, a twice-weekly newsletter for content entrepreneurs.

full tilt

The Group Project That Worked

On the back cover of The Content Entrepreneur, 32 names appear. They are the co-authors who came together with author Joe Pulizzi almost a year ago to pen the book published earlier this month by the newly launched Tilt Publishing.

To some, having almost three dozen people collaborate on a content asset might sound like the ultimate group project in school – notorious for a few people doing the work and everybody getting the credit.

However, for this and similar endeavors, collaboration among people who are interested in the project and its mission can work well when you share a similar vision and goal. You also have the marketing power of 33, not just a single author.

“The No. 1 thing to do on any kind of collaborative content-related project is to make sure the people on it care about the outcome, not what they’re going to get from the outcome,” says Rebecca Achen, who authored two chapters of The Content Entrepreneur, is the entrepreneur behind The Engaged Professor, and works as a visiting assistant professor at the University of the Pacific.

“If you don’t care about the product itself more than you care about what you will get from it as an individual, it will not work. And if everybody on the team is not seeing the same vision at the start, it will not work,” Rebecca says. “It’s just going to be a disaster if everybody’s not on the same page.”

Money isn’t the object of The Content Entrepreneur – any profit from the book, as all the authors learned in the beginning, will go to the nonprofit, The Orange Effect Foundation.

As Joe Pulizzi has explained, the book came about as an endeavor by the people who purchased the Never-Ending Ticket for the Creator Economy Expo (now called Content Entrepreneur Expo – CEX).

“It’s not just an event but a community, and that’s so important these days,” says Brian Stout, co-author of The Content Entrepreneur, director of growth at Ayokay, and creator of Cracking ALZ.

A community, he says, allows the audience to raise their hands and say, “Yes, I want to do that.”

Brian volunteered to write a chapter because he wanted to contribute to what CEX has created. “It was an easy decision for me,” he says. “It wasn’t just Brian’s chapter. It was Brian’s original ideas, and then others came in afterward and made it better. That’s what you want from a community.”

Editors also went through the book so it flowed and sounded like it came from 33 voices singing together, not 33 single songs. (Brian and Becky give kudos to Marc Maxhimer and Angela Long for coordinating all the moving pieces.)

Brian believes strongly in the power of group collaboration in a community. He volunteers as a co-host of the podcast Ultimate Fancast: The Battle Bunnies with Phil Matson and Luke Graham. He was introduced to The Battle Bunnies brand, which includes a fantasy game, digital collectibles, and trading cards, by John Briggs, whom he met at CEX.

The power of community also extends to the marketing of the project. With a typical book or podcast, you have a creator or two promoting it. But in the broader collaboration, you have many more creators as well as the others in the community. “The success of The Content Entrepreneur will depend on our reach and interest in the book. You’ve got Joe as the main draw, but then you’ve got 33 other community members,” Brian explains.

Becky, too, believes the collaboration worked well because each person was committed. She says, “I always felt like the community that we built is a bunch of people who authentically care about what each other is doing.”

– Ann Gynn

Meet these and other successful entrepreneurs at CEX May 5 to 7 in Cleveland, Ohio. Register today!

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we stan Ben Thompson

Entrepreneur: Ben Thompson

Biz: Stratechery

Tilt: Analysis of strategy and business of tech and media

Scene: Newsletter (44K), podcasts, X (238.7K)

Snack Bites:

  • Ben launched the newsletter in 2013 and a paid version in 2014, which allowed him to quit his traditional job.
  • In 2017, the founders of Substack cited Ben’s business as the inspiration for the online platform that helps writers publish, sell, and manage their newsletters.
  • Fortune cited Ben as No. 3 on its inaugural Creator 25 list, estimating the newsletter brought in over $3M in revenue in 2020. The 2023 estimate has risen to over $5M a year.

Why We Stan: We are impressed by Ben’s commitment to his ethics, which he outlines in detail. It’s a strong indicator of how much he respects his audience and the trust they place in him.

Read the Ben Thompson story.

Know a content creator who’s going full tilt? DM us. Or email [email protected].

things to know

  • Short boost: An analysis of YouTube creator revenue for Shorts finds that, like the videos themselves, the payouts are smaller, too. One creator says they get 12 cents per 1K views on Shorts compared to $4.30 per 1K for longer videos. [The Information]
    Tilt Take: That’s a big difference for a popular format designed to get viewers and creators to lessen their interest in TikTok.
  • Test buy: Puck acquired Artelligence, a Substack newsletter about the global art market. It paid for the 32K email list, but it can’t transport the paid subscriber relationship. It’s the first time Puck’s acquired an existing newsletter instead of hiring an author to build a new one. [Axios]
    Tilt Take: Email addresses are the most valuable asset for many creators.
  • Hit the spot: Substack podcast creators can take their content to Spotify. The Spotify Open Access API lets creators offer premium subscriptions to the Spotify audience. [For the Record; h/t Sounds Profitable]
    Tilt Take: It could be a good deal if you’re willing to do the marketing to attract Spotify listeners.
  • Get together: LinkedIn’s adding a “contribute your expertise” to its post composter. Tap on it to see a list of collaborative articles where LinkedIn thinks you could share your expertise. [Matt Navarra]
    Tilt Take: Great research tool. Just make sure to let your new audience know where they can find your owned content.
Tech and Tools
  • No control: Soon, X won’t let its paid subscribers hide their verified checkmark. [xDaily]
    Tilt Take: Once a prized icon, the checkmark has become a potential pariah signal, indicating the user is willing to pay X and its owner Elon Musk.
  • AI replacement: Influencers, beware. TikTok is working on an option so brands could create virtual influencers to sell their products. [Social Media Today]
    Tilt Take: Influencing is already a finicky business. Expect it to get worse.
And Finally
  • More interest: The National Association of Broadcasters Show added a Creator Lab this year to help traditional broadcasters and new creators learn how to operate in the creator economy. [TV Tech]
    Tilt Take: Another good sign of the expected growth and opportunities in this arena.
  • Link pay: California may pass a bill requiring online platforms like Google to pay news publishers for linking to their content. Google’s response? It plans to reduce access to California news sites for some users in the state. [Search Engine Journal]
    Tilt Take: Interesting twist to the usual goal of sites eager to get onto the top of the rankings.

the business of content

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