3 Killer Content Strategies (plus my 2024 travel tips)

Are You Willing to Give?

Are you or someone you know looking for an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children who struggle with communication?

The Orange Effect Foundation (OEF) may be the place for you. OEF provides $100,000+ annually in grants for children who need speech therapy or a device to aid with their communication. We need an additional board member to join our team. The board meets quarterly in the Cleveland area, but zoom is certainly acceptable. Please consider applying or nominating here.

Travel Tips for 2024

The year 2020 was supposed to be our year of travel. My wife and I were truly excited about it.

Well, that didn’t work out.

Now, it looks like 2024 might be our chance. We already have trips planned to Iceland (fingers crossed) and Italy…plus, spring training with my youngest and a spring break vacation with the entire family. Woo hoo!

If you talk to my wife, nothing gets me more jazzed than planning a trip. I’m obsessive about it.

I’ve also learned a lot over the years. Here’s a few tips.

Always Take the Direct Flight

I know quite a few of you who are loyal to a certain airline. I get it. The whole “loyalty points” thing is strong with some. But, in many cases, it’s foolish.

I always choose the direct flight, even if the price is higher. First, any additional legs means a higher likelihood for delays or problems. Second, I value my time.

Even adding one additional flight to your trip adds three hours minimum. That’s a lot of value you are giving up for the extra leg. I look at it like this. My time is valued at (say) $150 per hour. So three extra hours is $450. If the direct flight isn’t more than $450 more, it’s a no brainer.

If you don’t value your time, take the stop in Nevada.

Take the Aisle Seat

I used to always take the window seat on an airplane. That way if people were getting up during a flight, I wouldn’t be disturbed.

Enter my fifties.

Today there is a very good chance that I’ll have to go to the restroom. There is nothing worse than waking someone up and then crawling over them to get to the bathroom. So…choose the aisle seat.

Never Check a Bag

Unless you can totally avoid it. Retrieving a checked bag adds anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour extra time to your trip. Also, regardless of airline technology, bags are misplaced all the time. Why add the additional hassle?

It also teaches you to minimize your packing. Less is more people.

Room Size Is Overrated on a Cruise

I love cruising. I’ve learned many things about the art of cruising, and the first is that the room doesn’t matter. You are barely in your room at all (or shouldn’t be). It’s simply there to sleep and shower.

My advice: spend almost nothing on an interior room and get the drink package instead.

At Hotels, Ask for Club Access

If you are staying multiple days at the same hotel, sometimes the hotel is willing to give you added benefits.

Recently we stayed at a hotel in Raleigh for three days. After being super nice to the person that checked us in, I asked if we could get club access as well. Guess what? She gave it to us.

If the hotel doesn’t have a maximum amount of club users, sometimes you’ll get lucky with the upgrade. And that means free breakfast 😊. But you’ll never get it if you don’t ask.​

What do you think? Do you agree? What other tips would you share?

Are You Award Worthy?

This year I’m super excited to partner with the Webby Awards.

Enter The Webby Awards by their Extended Entry Deadline – Friday, February 9th

Whether for you or for your clients, The Webby Awards recognizes innovation from brands, agencies, studios, media, tech companies, creators, and more. This season, The Webbys in partnership with LinkedIn, celebrate smart, creative ways B2B Marketers promote products and services with dedicated B2B honors in Advertising, Media & PR, Social, Video, and Podcasts. Join past Webby Winners like Shopify, Square, Canva, Microsoft, and Googleenter the 28th Annual Webby Awards by the Extended Entry Deadline on February 9th, 2024

Three Killer Content Creation Strategies

Ah…January. The start of a new year. For me, it’s the start of the spring speaking season.

I’ve been a professional public speaker for almost 20 years. For the most part, each year has two seasons. The spring season runs from February to early May while the Fall season runs from September to early November.

This year I’ll do 10 to 15 in-person presentations. This is where I want to be. I used to do 30 to 40 keynotes/presentations a year…but never again. While those speeches helped us build the business (in ways that are hard to express), I only want to travel that much for leisure at this point in my life.

This spring I have a number of presentations around building a content business. It’s probably my favorite topic these days. While preparing my latest, here are a few key ideas that I think will be helpful if you are actively creating content to build an audience.

Defining Your Content Tilt

I introduced the concept of “content tilt” in 2012 as part of my book Content Inc. In short, a content tilt is an under-served content area where the creator can truly differentiate their message and break through all the content clutter.

Over the years, I’ve found that content creators struggle when they fail to do two things. The first is to deliver their content consistently over a long period of time. The second is actually having a content tilt.

Sadly, most creators are developing content that is pretty similar to hundreds, if not thousands of other individual creators, brands and media companies. Simply put, without some kind of tilt, breaking through and building an audience is nearly impossible.

I’ve always loved Ann Reardon’s content tilt for her brand, How to Cook That.

Ann is an accomplished food scientist and her audience wants step-by-step food recipes. While most creators stop there, Ann went the extra mile to differentiate, adding the content tilt of focusing on “impossible dessert recipes.” For example, check out this Picasso guitar chocolate sculpture.

When she started a decade ago, that was a wide open content area. Ann quickly grew an audience, dominated an area, and became a super-successful YouTuber because of it. Once she built her audience only then could she broaden her content approach.

When I work with content entrepreneurs, most (at first) believe they have a true content tilt. 95 percent do not. Sadly, you probably don’t either.

Now is a great time to find yours. Remember, there is no such thing as being too niche with your content.

Introducing New Voices Into Your Content

One of the big differences between being a solo creator and a robust media company is the inclusion of other voices. When a content business model includes other voices on a consistent basis, it is on its way to building a true asset.

When my wife and I started Content Marketing Institute, it was just me doing all the creating. We knew that, over time, we’d need to introduce other people into the content to show prospective buyers that the brand could live without the “Joe Show.”

This meant that all the blog posts were not written by me. The webinar hosting couldn’t always be me. The research couldn’t always be bylined by me.

In approximately three years, we were able to take me out of the business without hurting the CMI brand.

I believe that if a content creator wants to build a real asset for the long-term, they need to start including other experts into their content mix.

My friend MatPat (Matthew Patrick) did this extremely well through his Game Theorists brand. He sold his content brand in 2022 by following this advice, and just announced his retirement from content. Congratulations sir!


OPC stands for “other people’s content.”

While you are creating and distributing your blog content, book content, podcast content, and video content, you need to integrate a way to attract new followers and subscribers outside your own “stuff.”

The best way to do that is to show up in other people’s content, strategically.

That means, if you have a podcast, you need a game plan for guesting on other people’s podcasts. Do you blog? Then you need to be doing guest posting on a prolific basis. YouTube? Get on other YouTube channels.

This doesn’t just happen. You need to reach out to hundreds to just get a few yes answers to start. Once you are semi-famous in your industry, then everyone will reach out to you.

So make your list of where you can shine and start reaching out (or contract someone for help).

There are so many more, but I wanted to focus on these three because they seem to be the ones that content entrepreneurs and content marketers overlook the most.

Did Trump & Elon Kill Twitter?

I listened to an interesting Decoder podcast (hosted by Nilay Patel) on how Donald Trump and Elon Musk killed Twitter. Here it is.

If you give it a listen, let me know what you think. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t either one.

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