Dare to Disrupt

“You mean there’s marketing out there where I don’t have to do the hard pitch, I can just drive and deliver value, and I get paid for that? I said, I’m in!” -Joe Pulizzi

Dare to Disrupt Episode 27: Building the Content Marketing Community with Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the founder of multiple startups, including content creator education site, The Tilt, Content Entrepreneur Expo, and the Content Marketing Institute, which he successfully exited in 2016. He is the bestselling author of seven books including Content Inc. and Epic Content Marketing, which was named a “Must-Read Business Book” by Fortune Magazine. Joe is a professional public speaker, having spoken over 400 times in 20 plus countries on content marketing, the creator economy, and entrepreneurship. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s in communications in 1995, and from Penn State with a master’s in communications in 1997.  

In this episode, Joe shares his experience building the Content Marketing Institute, the failures he endured along the way, his strong commitment to goal-setting, and his association with the color orange. He also talks about jumping into writing a thriller novel to challenge himself creatively. Joe also shares his insights around the difference between content creators and content entrepreneurs, and why he believes it’s an important distinction.

At the end of the episode, current Penn State student Riley Auer joins the conversation. Riley is the founder of Bootleg Boomerangs, which sells high-quality hand-made wooden boomerangs. Bootleg Boomerangs has a large focus on content creation, with over 31,000 subscribers on YouTube. Riley talks through some challenges he faces in growing his business with Joe, who gives advice regarding ad placement in video content, finding the true super fans through exclusive giveaways and experiences, and striking the balance between being a business and being a place for fun content.

Episode Chapters

0:00 – 3:49 Intro and journey summary  

3:49 – 4:43 Growing up next to Cedar Point Amusement Park 

4:43 – 6:42 Undergrad at Bowling Green – Do I have to declare a major?

6:42 – 9:32 Graduate student at Penn State, teaching speech class 

9:32 – 12:12 Struggling on the job search 

12:12 – 15:16 The evolving business model of content marketing 

15:16– 19:30 The inception of Content Marketing Institute 

19:30 – 22:11 The moment he realized he had made it 

22:11 – 24:34 What’s the deal with Joe’s orange self-branding? 

24:34 – 28:36  Setting goals and exiting CMI 

28:36 – 30:41 Taking a sabbatical 

30:41 – 31:59 Becoming a thriller author 

31:59 – 33:45 Launching the Tilt and Content Entrepreneur Expo 

33:45 –  35:54 The difference between Content Creator vs. Content Entrepreneur 

35:54 – 37:50 Defining the Tilt’s audience 

37:50 – 38:32 How to get connected to Joe 

38:32 – 40:01 The Orange Effect Foundation, providing access to speech and play therapy for autistic children 

40:01 – 55:51 Student Questions – Joe gives actionable advice to Riley Auer, Bootleg Boomerangs founder 

Download full episode transcript

About Joe Pulizzi

Joe is the founder of The Tilt. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s in communications in 1995, and from Penn State with a master’s in communications in 1997.  

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Dare to Disrupt is a podcast about Penn State alumni who are innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders, and the stories behind their success. Learn more.