Content Machine: Using Content Marketing to Build a Business (Book Review)

Content marketingWhen outlining how to attract prospects, convert them into customers and customers into repeat buyers, we often say that it’s through creating and sharing valuable and free content.

Personal and professional brands have mastered the art of using content marketing to build their businesses.

A book from Dan Norris aims to simplify it for us; wasting no time in pointless humor and anecdotes.

Every page is sprinkled with detailed information and practical steps that guide you on how to use content marketing to build your business efficiently.

Elevator Pitch

Dan Norris is a veteran entrepreneur, an international speaker, and a four-times bestselling author. He has survived eight years of business failure before launching WP Curve in 2013.

In two years, WP Curve was a 1M AUD business with more than 40 developers in 7 countries.

It serves thousands of clients through a WordPress support service which fixes small websites. In 2016, he sold the business to GoDaddy.

Dan Norris now helps other entrepreneurs to launch high-growth companies through his books and a private Mastermind group.

5 Big Ideas from Content Machine

Packed with examples, tips, and full lists, the book had me constantly highlighting and posting concepts on Evernote to revisit them.

A few ideas that I have reserved are definitely worth sharing:

1. Using content marketing to build a business

A content marketer releases podcasts, images, videos or blog posts which attract attention and build trust with their target market.

Monetisation logic is the link between great content and a great business. Honestly, there’s no other book that digs into these factors.

How do you come up with a sensible monetization logic to help you use your content to build a great business? It is not easy.

Dan Norris dives in with both feet, demystifying these complex concepts for us.

2. Content marketing basics

The author frames these basics with easy to recall concepts such as having a vision, a set of strong values, and a target community to make a solid content marketing strategy.

As a content marketer, you need to be clear about your mission, identify your community and come up with ways to help them from a unique perspective.

Giving your community what they are missing establishes you as an expert in your niche. If you are still new to a community, spend 70% of your time and efforts creating offsite content through guest posts, podcasts, webinars, and content partnerships.

Spend the remaining 30% creating content on your site.

Once you gain traction, you can swap the efforts and spend 70% of your time and efforts creating on-site content while using the remaining 30% to create offsite content.

The author supports these ideas with powerful examples of brands such as The Muse, Buffer and Tim Ferriss giving you more ideas on how to master content marketing basics.

3. High-Quality Content

One high-quality post trumps 100 low-quality posts. So, how can you tell if you’re producing high-quality content? When your content captures people’s attention, they will comment and share it.

Creating such content needs you to a tell better story, be willing to go outside your niche and have a different opinion from everyone else. And be generous while providing information that your community needs.

Great content marketers know their strengths and use them to achieve their business objectives. If you can’t write, can you do a podcast? Can you create compelling images and videos to pass your message across? What are you good at?
Once you start producing content, monitor its performance to know what makes your audience tick. Readers will share high-quality content on relevant social media platforms.

In the comments, readers ask meaningful questions or add their thoughts to drive the conversation. Those on your email list will either reply with questions or thank you messages.

Avoid messing up on essential On-page SEO elements, and perform a keyword research when necessary. You should also optimize the post for the keywords you use.
High-quality content, however, ranks better on Google.

4. Differentiation

In many ways, businesses that survive and stand out from the crowd are those with a unique offering.

Most of us in content marketing, however, are stuck in a race to filling existing gaps in our niches- a terrible survival strategy in building a viable business.

Taking the lion’s share of the book, the author uses case studies and simple strategies on how to use each of the core differentiation elements to help you stand out from the crowd.

5. Building the machine

Perhaps the biggest takeaway in content marketing is the outcome of your efforts. Whether it involves building a personal or corporate brand, how you do it matters.

The days when you could just dump content online and get all the attention, donations and sales you needed are long gone.

To be a master at building the machine, the author suggests having a vibrant design, creating an appropriate sales funnel, a lead magnet to boost conversion, reaching out to influencers, and having a team of ambassadors to promote your content. Besides, you need a style guide which everyone writing for you should follow.

So, should you read it?

Are you building a business and you’re stuck at content marketing? Are you a professional services provider, speaker or writer looking to add a ton of value to your work and leave a mark?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then Content Machine belongs to your reading list.

The simple language and logical flow of ideas don’t mean this is a light read. Content Machine is a book with big ideas that deserve careful consideration and thought. Casually flipping through the book will make you miss the ideas in the meaty content in the book.

Every chapter has worksheets which allow you to implement what you learn, understand the concepts and deliver your desired results.

The author has also provided a free 7-day video series to improve your understanding on how to build your business using content marketing.

If you’re ready to go beyond the hype and build a great business, check out Content Machine.


Shadrach Gikonyo is a freelance content marketer, writer and copywriter.

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