Content Marketing & The Art of Money Getting

In this post we’ll extract sage advice from a 100 year old book on the topic of “money getting” and we’ll explore how the principles can be applied to the world of content marketing. 

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Blackship One is a content marketing agency focused on helping space, robotics and hi-tech companies grow. Interested? ⚡

The Intersection Where Money Getting & Attention Getting Meet

In a previous post I talked about how an effective content marketing campaign is a lot like an effective investment fund. In that article I talked about how I was inspired by the investing philosophy of Warren Buffet and I went on to talk about how I modeled my content marketing strategy after his investment style to help me grow a small empire of web properties.

When I started my content marketing agency (Blackship.One) I needed to further formalize the connection between content and tangible business results. Having an agency forced me to think about the relationship between content marketing and money more deeply.

So this month, I thought I would do something fun by summarizing books on investing and money while relating the main takeaways to the world of content marketing.

What I realized by reading these investment books is that there are countless parallels between content marketing and investing. In today’s tutorial we’re going to look at a book published in 1880 by P.T. Barnum called “The Art of Money Getting“.

Although this book is over 100 years old, the business concepts within the book at directly applicable to the world of content marketing today.

So let’s jump in!

1. Use the best tools

In the book, the Art of Money Getting, P.T. Barnum emphasizes the importance of using the best tools within your business. He states the following:

Men in engaging employees should be careful to get the best. Understand, you cannot have too good tools to work with, and there is no tool you should be so particular about as living tools. If you get a good one, it is better to keep him, than keep changing.

Today, it’s not as common to call your employees living tools, but apparently that was acceptable 100 years ago. Semantics and political correctness aside, we found this point to be true when creating content for ourselves or our clients.

When I first started content marketing many years ago (way before I had an agency), I wrote everything myself. As years went on and my pool of resources grew, I could start to outsource my writing work.

However, my first attempt, in fact… probably my first 5 attempts at outsourcing were total failures. Even though I knew content marketing was my single most important growth lever, I nevertheless looked for a “bargain”. I would look through a pool of “best of the worst” writers. When that didn’t produce results I started looking looking through pools of “best of the average” writers. This didn’t produce results either. Only two content production methods worked for me. Either writing the content myself or seeking out best of the best writers.

Today, I think the focus on finding a “deal”, is the single biggest factor that I see holding companies back from excelling at content marketing.

The truth is that if you’re paying a writer $100 for a piece of content, they probably don’t care if they get you on the podium or not.

There are only three worthwhile positions in organic search. Having a writer create “so-so” content for you that will rank you in position 17, is as good as not ranking at all.

You need to work with writers who you’ve incentivized sufficiently to care enough to get you on the podium. Your content writers need to passionate about seeing you win.

2. Persevere

P.T. Barnum also emphasized the importance of perseverance. In The Art of Money Getting, he states the following:

How many have almost reached the goal of their ambition, but, losing faith in themselves, have relaxed their energies, and the golden prize has been lost forever.

He then goes onto quote Shakespeare, saying:

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.”

In our experience at Blackship.One this is probably the second most common problem we see amongst the ranks of rookie content marketers. Even if they do bring on the best living tools, they fail when it comes to perseverance.

100 years ago people didn’t have to wait for Google’s algorithm to treat their website fairly, but there were other natural rhythms that their business would be beholden to.

Business owners with little in the way of patience often can’t see an ambitious project all of the way through. They get discouraged once they realize the path is full of obstacles. Growing a business is hard. It was hard 100 years ago and it’s still hard today.

Based on our interviews with hundreds of startup founders, content marketing is often the single biggest driver of growth. However, it’s also often the growth channel that takes the longest to bear fruit.

If you’re producing content for your company, you need to be comfortable with the delay between input (content production) and output (organic ranking).

3. Whatever we do, do it with all our might

This advice is particularly true in the world of content marketing. This is because the first three results in organic search see the lion’s share of the traffic for any given keyword (we cover this topic in more detail here).

What we see time and time again, is that the three businesses who want it most will win. Those who are less committed often end up in position 32 or 78, which is the same as being in position 850. You won’t see very much organic awareness until you get your company on the podium.

P.T. Barnum gives the following advice on this topic:

Work at it, if necessary, early and late, in season and out of season, not leaving a stone unturned, and never deferring for a single hour that which can be done just as well now. The old proverb is full of truth and meaning, “Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.”

He goes onto say that:

Many a man acquires a fortune by doing his business thoroughly, while his neighbor remains poor for life, because he only half does it. Ambition, energy, industry, perseverance, are indispensable requisites for success in business.

This point feeds off the other points within this list, but essentially, the takeaway here is, that if you’re going to invest in content marketing, don’t dip your toes in. Fully commit and give it 100% of your attention.

4. Stay focused and don’t scatter your powers

Early in my career as a content marketer I made a big mistake. I had success with content marketing early and I was excited about the prospects of building up website, which I viewed as a new asset class that was yet to be exploited. I wanted to be an early pioneer in the world of web businesses. My plan was to take the success I had early on and simply grow many websites in parallel. I was learning about PPC advertising, social media advertising and affiliate marketing. I was also building product while trying to grow organically at the same time. I was spread too thin and I failed. It wasn’t until I realized the power of focus before I started to succeed again.

On this topic, P.T. Barnum has the following to say:

Engage in one kind of business only, and stick to it faithfully until you succeed, or until your experience shows that you should abandon it. A constant hammering on one nail will generally drive it home at last, so that it can be clinched. When a man’s undivided attention is centered on one object, his mind will constantly be suggesting improvements of value, which would escape him if his brain was occupied by a dozen different subjects at once.

Content and the art of money getting conclusion

The product you’re working on today likely wasn’t even evented yet when P.T. Barnum wrote the Art of Money Getting. That said, many of the principles he laid out in the book are still relevant today.

At Blackship.One we look at websites like we do any other business. Just as a house or a business can be built on a strong (or weak) foundation, so too can a website. As business owners we believe in making the foundation of our business as strong as possible using the ideas that are outlined in this article.

If you’re interested in working with the best organic growth team on the internet, get in contact with us today to schedule a free, no-pressure consultation so we can help you uncover the highest impact organic growth opportunities within your niche.

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Blackship One is a content marketing agency focused on helping space, robotics and hi-tech companies grow. Interested? ⚡ Learn more here.

We Help You Grow Through Content is a content marketing agency that helps hi-tech brands grow through the use of our organic growth playbook. We help with content planning, strategy, writing, publishing and SEO optimization. If you want to learn more about how we scaled a recent project to over 160,000 organic page views / month in 6 months, watch the video to the right. 🤝