Content Machine: Use Content Marketing to Build a 7-figure Business With Zero Advertising  |  Dan Norris  |  Nonfiction, Marketing  |  2015

A little over a year ago, I was hired as the second marketing person for a small consultancy in London.  As the company was relatively new, I saw this role as (1) an opportunity to create high impact growth, and (2) a challenge make this happen within a relatively small budget.  I knew that content marketing would be key to reaching my objectives, but it was challenging to do this whilst balancing other marketing activities, working solo in this area, and not really knowing much about creating a sustainable content process.

I downloaded and read Content Machine because I needed to be better at creating the right content, for the right audience, and streamlining this activity so it could fit in with all the other tasks I had to do.  (I should also mention that it’s free on Kindle Unlimited, which I admit held quite a bit of weight in my book selection.)


The Content Machine is a book on how to use content marketing to grow your business, along with best practices.  There are five, concise chapters that discuss the how, the what, and the why, with a variety of great examples from a range of different types of businesses.  It’s quite short, and reads like a really long blog, but it gets straight to the point on the top things you need to know.


One critique I do have is the borderline ‘sales-y’ nature of the book.  It’s understandable that Norris draws from his own experience, and I don’t blame him for using this opportunity to market his businesses (WordPress plugins and a craft beer brewery), but add that to the ‘carefully chosen’ examples of companies who’ve got content marketing nailed–I couldn’t help but feel that a quarter of the book was hyperlinked to irrelevant sources for me.

Other than that, I found Content Machine very useful and that it satisfied my original goal in learning how to be better at creating the right content, for the right people, and developing a sustainable process to implement into my own professional role.  I do need to tweak the ‘machine’ a bit to work in my situation (as a team of one, I can’t scale as well!), but Norris does a great job of leaving the reader with knowledge of the fundamentals of successful content marketing, and tools to get started (there are free downloadable templates available online here).

My main takeaways: (1) quality content trumps quantity every time, (2) there must be a factor of differentiation in your content marketing strategy in order to be successful, and (3) persevere to find what works best for your business.

Is it for you?

It’s clear that the intended audience is someone who knows the value of content marketing and is looking to improve or create a content process for their business or work; Norris does well in catering to this individual.  If you’re looking for some tips on how to get better at content marketing, I’d recommend this quick read for some useful tips.