You may look at big brands with envy. After all, they have bigger budgets, staff, and almost every tool they could need. But brands definitely look at you – the content entrepreneur – with green envy. After all, you have and can do a lot that they can’t do or at least can’t do as easily.

Last week, I spoke to mostly brand-based marketers at Content Marketing World; the event started by me, my wife, and an amazing team in 2011. (We sold it in 2016 to Informa, a global events company.)

My keynote was about what content marketers can learn from what content entrepreneurs are doing. Frankly, because content entrepreneurs have no politics or red tape, you can make decisions faster, almost immediately, which is a huge advantage over what larger enterprises can do. 

Content entrepreneurs have it better than content marketers. They can make decisions faster, says @JoePulizzi. #contentmarketing Share on X

The next great media models are coming from small players like us, no doubt, and here are 10 of the reasons why.

  1. Content entrepreneurs heavily rely on owned channels. So many times, the public thinks of content creators as Insta stars, YouTubers, TikTokers, etc. Well, according to our findings of 1.4K content creators, the content entrepreneurs killing it focus their revenue activities in two key places: No. 1 is their email newsletter and No. 2 is their blog. My advice to the content marketers was to have a plan to move their audiences from rented or social platforms to more controlled properties.
  2. Content entrepreneurs are focused on multiple revenue sources. Looking at the same research, successful content entrepreneurs have at least four paths to revenue. The more revenue channels, the more resilient the business (or, in the case of enterprise brands, their content marketing programs.)
  3. Content entrepreneurs prepare for the marathon. Frankly, most brand content marketers expect success too quickly. The research tells us that it takes nine months before a content entrepreneur sees their first dollar and 26 months until they can support a business with at least one employee. That’s why successful entrepreneurs set up their content business for lean times until you build an audience you can monetize.
  4. Content entrepreneurs selectively publish on social. Frankly, you can’t be online everywhere your audience is and be amazing on every channel. With limited resources, pick your spots. Strategy is about not saying yes to every channel.
  5. Content entrepreneurs create world-altering mission statements. For example, we at The Tilt work to get 1M content creators to financial stability. Crypto-media company Bankless strives to prepare for a world without banks. We need to look at our mission statements and do better.
  6. Content entrepreneurs don’t hire through traditional job postings. They observe their community and recruit.  Back to Bankless, through their online community on Discord, they recruited a developer, a designer, and a project manager. They observed who was doing the work and who had the skills, which made the decision-making easier. That’s why building a community, not just an audience, is so critical.
  7. Content entrepreneurs are diving into creator coins and social tokens. In spring 2021, our research found 4% of small content creators were looking at tokens and 25% considering them. Those are huge numbers. No one on the corporate side is looking at these new content models. Content entrepreneurs are leading the way. Obviously, since we have our own token ($TILT coin), we agree there is a place for creator coins in the content entrepreneur’s toolkit.
  8. Content entrepreneurs are bullish on NFTs. Look at what Gary Vaynerchuck is doing with VeeFriends and NFTs. Long-term, I see NFTs as being, maybe, the best form of opt-in subscription ever created. But, when I took a survey of the 800 or so in the Content Marketing World audience, only 10 people indicated they even owned an NFT. But, we are early, so there is much opportunity.
  9. Content entrepreneurs are buying content brands. One content entrepreneur just purchased a 20-year-old website with thousands of pieces of content and great domain authority on Google for less than $30K. A complete steal. These types of deals are out there. Have your list ready now so when the opportunity comes, you are ready to purchase these sites and other creator properties.
  10. Content entrepreneurs are building the next great media models. I believe DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) have a huge role to play in the future. A content entrepreneur can decide to go it alone or be part of a DAO, a collective that self-governs and pays in tokens through investment or work product. When the project succeeds, everybody wins. It’s possible that Web 3.0 means that content entrepreneurs, as well as their audiences, can benefit financially within the same content project.
Content entrepreneurs are the next great media models, says @JoePulizzi. #creatoreconomy #Web3.0 Share on X

Want to see Joe’s Content Marketing World presentation in slide form? Head to LinkedIn.

About the author

Joe Pulizzi is the founder of The Tilt, author of seven books including Content Inc. and co-founder of speech-therapy fundraiser, The Orange Effect Foundation.