The Tilt - Plan Now for Big Sale

No matter what stage your content business is in, it’s time to think about your exit strategy.  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

AUGUST 9, 2022

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

BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

In This Issue: Joe Pulizzi says exit strategies are necessary for creators at any business stage. A creator found a content tilt after an injury ended his football-playing days. TikTok, Instagram, and others are still trying.


full tilt

How to Create an Exit Strategy for Your Content Creator Business

It doesn’t matter what your industry is, where you live, or how many people are involved in the business. Content entrepreneurs almost always lack an exit strategy.

Maybe you dream of selling big someday. Or maybe you don’t think your content business is worth anything.

No matter the reason, you need to get an exit strategy on paper immediately.

In 2008, a year after I started the Content Marketing Institute, I wrote in the financial section of my goals list: “My wife and I sell the company in 2015 for more than $15M.”

That year, the business generated about $60K in revenue and took a $50K loss. The business was worthless. In that context, my goal was laughable.

Visualize yourself and your family in 10 years. Where are you? What are you doing? What’s different? How are you making the world a better place?

How will you build your grand vision?

The Edward Lowe Foundation shares several steps in creating an exit strategy:

  • Pick a target date for a change in your role.
  • Get feedback from your family or investors. They need to be aware of your thinking (even those who don’t work in the business.)
  • Create the plan. You can sell the content business to your children, employees, or a strategic or financial buyer. You also could merge with another company.
  • Publish the plan. Your partners and family members should know your intentions. One of the best things we did when we sold our company was to make sure the management team knew ahead of time and was compensated for any transaction.
  • Implement the plan.

Identify potential buyers: By 2010, the Content Marketing Institute business model started coming into form. Revenue opportunities presented themselves, and I could envision the company we would become. I also could envision the types of companies that would want to buy it. Over a few months, I listed them. I included only strategic buyers (not financial buyers) since I did not want to stay with the business too long after the sale.

I narrowed the list to six. How? I chose companies that I believed (1) would keep the mission of the organization strong and (2) had the money to pay at or over the asking price.

Flesh out the details: Create a spreadsheet with these columns: parent company, acquiring brand (for example, Alphabet/Google is the parent company, but its Nest brand would be in the negotiation room), rationale – why would each company want to buy your business, key contacts (i.e., decision-makers and gatekeepers).

Meet and greet: Your quest over the next 12 to 18 months is to meet and/or chat with each key contact. Don’t mention anything about selling the company. At this point, just get to know them and form a business relationship. Stay in touch every other. It doesn’t have to be much, but “Thought this report would be of interest. Check out page four” goes a long way.

Grow toward the goal: By the end of 2014, we did not have the financial numbers to justify a $15M valuation. (I explain more on valuation in How to Sell Your Content Creator Business.) Because of this, we made multiple decisions in 2014, including purchasing two small properties and an email database. It worked.

Get started now: If you don’t have an exit strategy, don’t worry. Take a few weeks and think about what you want your business to become. Remember, you are a small business entrepreneur first and foremost.

– Joe Pulizzi

Get more advice from Joe in the longer story.

Ready to sell your business? Joe explains how he did it.


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Let's Do This!


content entrepreneur spotlight

Entrepreneur: Dylan Lewis

Biz: Dyl

Tilt: Madden YouTuber and streamer

Primary Channels: YouTube (8.1K), Twitch (2.8K)

Other Channels: Twitter (757), TikTok (4.6K)

Time to First Dollar: Few months

Rev Streams: YouTube and Twitch ad revenue, Twitch subs

Our Favorite Actionable Advice:

  • Don’t see what sticks: Dylan started his channels by publishing all kinds of content before he realized no one knew who he was a creator. Find your content tilt first by doing research and emulate what works for you.
  • Watch the dropoff: The retention rate is the essential stat. It can help you evaluate when and why viewers drop from watching your videos. Dylan no longer introduces himself in every video because that was one point where viewers dropped off.
  • Don’t follow for follows: Don’t fall for follow-for-follow schemes where you promise to follow one content creator if they follow you back. Get followers who want to consume your great content.

– Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

Read how his football-ending injury led to his content entrepreneurial plans.


things to know

Money
  • Big isn’t better: Creators with big TikTok audiences say the platform isn’t the best for business. Revenue is a share of the Creator Fund, and brands pay less because of the trendy, ephemeral nature of the videos. (Insider)
    Tilt Take: Knowing audience size isn’t the same as a profitable business is the difference between content creators and content entrepreneurs.
  • Ticket please: TikTok hopes to expand its new partnership with Ticketmaster for creators to add in-app ticket sales service. (MediaPost)
    Tilt Take: You may not do a Ticketmaster-type event, but you should always think about how to make it easier for your audience to buy.
Audiences
  • Welcome home: Social audio app Clubhouse adds private communities called Houses to its lineup. Think private hallways for your community to gather – as long as they have an invitation to join. (Tech Crunch)
    Tilt Take: Unless your audience is on Clubhouse, bypass this news.
  • Say it loud: Podcasters should make their website “scream” podcast. Include all the basic info along with an audio player for the latest episodes and links to listening platforms. (What’s New In Publishing)
    Tilt Take: Sometimes, creators get too creative. Make sure visitors get the information they want easily.
Tech and Tools
  • NFTs on Insta: Instagram creators in over 100 countries can display NFTs as Meta integrates the platform with digital wallets. (Yahoo Finance)
    Tilt Take: Verification of NFTs is essential to make this work.
  • Super live: Meta’s still developing Super – a Twitch-inspired livestreaming platform. The company says it’s not part of its platforms like Facebook and Instagram. (Mashable)
    Tilt Take: Another copycat attempt that isn’t likely to have the success of the original.
And Finally
  • Triller trouble: Triller, a short-form video app, offered $14M in contracts to Black creators. But now, it doesn’t seem to be paying timely (or until The Washington Post started writing this article). (The Washington Post)
    Tilt Take: Beware of new, flashy businesses with big promises. Always explore additional revenue streams that you control.
  • Listen and watch: Podcasters prefer audio, but they also should add video versions. YouTube is one of the most-used podcast platforms behind Apple and Spotify. (Simon Owens)
    Tilt Take: If you don’t like yourself on video, don’t watch. Just make sure your audience can.


the business of content


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the tilt team

Your team for this issue: Joe Pulizzi, Pam Pulizzi, Ann Gynn, Laura Kozak, Marc Maxhimer, and Dave Anthony, with an assist from Sarah Lindenfeld Hall.

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