APRIL 9, 2024

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

full tilt

33 People Write a Book and Avoid Amazon

Today is the launch day for The Content Entrepreneur.

It was quite a journey getting to this point.

First, the TL;DR: I wrote the book with 32 members of my VIP group. A lot of very smart people put their time and talent to the test, and here we are. It’s a great resource for content creators ready to take the next step and become content entrepreneurs.

But I digress. The journey.

The origin story of The Content Entrepreneur: About six months after The Tilt’s launch, we announced a new event – the Creator Economy Expo, now known as Content Entrepreneur Expo (CEX).

As part of the CEX launch, we developed a special forever ticket called the Never-Ending Ticket (NET). Seventy-five incredible individuals who had faith in me and The Tilt purchased one of these CEX NETs. As long as CEX was a thing, they would get a ticket. They’ll return for their third CEX on May 5.

But I didn’t think a forever ticket to CEX was enough. So, the group gathered bimonthly over Zoom, hearing from special guests like Jay Clouse and Lexi Grant (both speakers at CEX). And then, at last year’s CEX, about 30 NET holders met in a room and committed to publishing a book together.

The book would not be about content creation (although there is a lot of that in the book). It would be about the strategy behind being a content creator – the goals, the planning, and the decisions to go from content creators to successful entrepreneurs.

Now, 11 months after that meeting, The Content Entrepreneur, the book, is born.

Now, it wasn’t easy.

Talk to any of the 33 authors, and they will tell you that creating content with 33 points of view is challenging, to say the least. But we did it, and we created something special.

Now, a bit more on the strategy.

New strategy for book publishing: The Content Entrepreneur is one of the first books from Tilt Publishing. The imprint is designed for content creators in the non-fiction space who want to publish a book.

The core mission of Tilt Publishing is not just to help professionally edit and design something that looks and reads like a book. The mission also focuses on the book’s distribution.

As you probably know, almost every author in the world creates a book and sells it through places like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc. While the wide distribution of a book can be a good thing, the economics are generally bad for authors.

These third parties take a large chunk of the revenue, and, worse yet, the author doesn’t get any of the customer data (that’s really bad). It is the equivalent of publishing on rented land. You get the distribution, but you lose most of your rights.

At Tilt Publishing, we want to change that.

If you, the content creator, build your fan base, why should you send them to Amazon to buy? Why not send them directly to YOUR website, where you can interact with the customers and take your fair share of the revenue?

So that’s what we are doing, and that’s what we have done with The Content Entrepreneur book. It is only available via our websites on CEX or JoePulizzi.com. I believe this is the right decision for professional content creators, and I believe that fans want to support creators who make this kind of business decision.

Author revolution: I’ve attended a few author events in the past six months, and I see the tide turning toward direct sales. This scenario has been playing out on social media for a few years as more creators learn that third-party social connections are fleeting — you might get blocked, the algorithms change, tech narcissists take over social media properties, etc. They realize email subscriptions are where the data and distribution control lie.

After being discouraged for years about how creators put too much faith in social and tech platforms, I’m now excited publishing options exist where you can actually control your own business model.

So, buy the book (all proceeds go to charity) and come meet the authors at CEX in May.

Thanks for all your support and being such a valuable member of this community.

– Joe Pulizzi

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

Content Entrepreneur Spotlight

Entrepreneur: Michelle Martello

Biz: Minima Designs

Tilt: Teaching how to ideate and launch an online presence and offerings

Primary Channel: Newsletter (5K)

Other Channels: Website, blog, Instagram (4.7K), Facebook (2.3K), Pinterest (2.2K), YouTube (700)

Time to First Dollar: 2 months

Rev Streams: Consulting, courses, affiliate marketing

Our Favorite Actionable Advice

  • Use what you have: Her first and second content products were ebooks of the materials she used for her consulting and design clients.
  • Challenge yourself: Michelle challenged herself to produce her first online course in a week. She did and earned $10K in revenue in the first week.
  • Find your people: Gather with people who can be your sounding board. Find five or six people you can ask for advice or help with something you are struggling with, and they will get back to you quickly and honestly. Find an SEO expert, business expert, and/or people running a business like yours.

Make your opportunities: Don’t wait for things to come to you. You have to ask for the opportunity. Ask to be on the podcast or to speak at an event. It doesn’t have to be some formal request, but you have to make the ask.

– Marc Maxhimer

Read Michelle’s story and why $10K seems to be her product launch sweet spot.

Join Michelle Martello at CEX May 5 to 7, and she’ll teach you how to create a “non-skeezy” affiliate marketing plan.

things to know

  • Not all good: Though sponsored content spending is expected to rise to $8.1B this year (14% increase over 2023), some creators are experiencing deal droughts. That maturing of the creator economy means creators are diversifying their revenue streams. [Tubefilter]
    Tilt Take: It’s never good to build a business on a single revenue source.
  • Layoff impact: In January, YouTube laid off about 100 Creator Partnerships team members. Now, some creators say platform glitches have led to significant revenue losses. [Jumpstart Magazine]
    Tilt Take: Human assistance can be a way to stand out in a reduced staffing and increasingly AI world.
  • Please help: Creators on Patreon can now invite community members to serve as moderators. [The Verge]
    Tilt Take: It’s a good way to give your core fans a starring role (as long as they follow the guidelines and act appropriately as your representative).
  • See this: LinkedIn engagement is increasing, and posts with multiple images are leading the engaging content types. [Socialinsider]
    Tilt Take: Think about how to tell your story in a series of images; don’t just go for a static image to represent the topic.
Tech and Tools
  • Forget Google: Forbes, the Financial Times, Snopes, and other major web destinations are creating their own AI chatbots to search the sites for users. [Digiday]
    Tilt Take: Always makes sense to keep visitors on your site and make the experience an easy one.
  • Stay connected: Instagram’s adding a Notify sticker. Prompt your audience to use it to set reminders so they see your upcoming posts. [Social Media Today]
    Tilt Take: If your audience uses it, the tool will help ensure your content gets seen.
And Finally
  • Quick call: The Guardian’s Reclaim Your Brain newsletter garnered 100,000 subscribers in its first week and almost 140K in the first five weeks. The pitch? “You have one life. Do you really want to spend it looking at your phone?” [Nieman Lab]
    Tilt Take: Wonder how many read the newsletter on their phone?
  • Good stuff: Get all the technical aspects right, and your website still might not show up in Google. That’s because, as Google’s search team engineer recently said, quality is the final step in the indexing process. [Search Engine Journal]
    Tilt Take: Before you devote time to the tech aspects of SEO, do the content quality thing.

the business of content

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