Content Systems
Content Systems Academy

learn to create a content system

to grow your business

Three women and a man working together at a table

Is this the Right Client for Me?

Here how to qualify the people with whom you’re about to collaborate [Read More]

Man playing chess

Tapping the Power of Social Media to Grow Your Audience

Here are two Proven Methods for Building Brand Awareness: Content creation is a collaborative process, pulling together people with different levels of experience and diverse backgrounds with the intention to impact lives. That sounds dramatic, but if our content provides value, it should ignite a transformation of sorts, right? After all, isn’t that the power […]

speaker talks to audience

Pivoting to Virtual Events

Virtual events are here to stay and what you need to know to produce them.     [Read More]

Mining Comments and Posts for Content Gold

Content creators can explore comments and posts to learn invaluable audience insights that can power your content and grow your business.   [Read More]    

Women with magic in her hands

Give Your Content the Competitive Advantage

Looking to attract and grow an engaged audience? Tap into the magic of firsthand discovery to give your content a competitive advantage in today’s noisy world. [Read More]

Transmitter with Airwaves and NOVA

Build Your Brand by Thinking and Acting Like a Media Organization

My Earliest Lesson in Serving an Audience And so there I was, sitting on the avocado-green shag carpet in my tiny bedroom with two stacks of 45s and a record player. I just finished playing “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” and was cleaning the lint off the needle before spinning the next tune. It didn’t […]

Post-it Notes

How to Use a Taxonomy to Plan, Write, and Promote All Your Work

If you need a quick way to clear a room of content creators or marketers, shift the conversation toward a discussion of the project’s taxonomy. If it doesn’t get people running for the exit, it will have them shifting in their seats or checking their newsfeed. [Read More]

Card catalog

What Most People Forget When Building a Content System

Ready to Write Your Blog Series or Create Your Website? Don’t Ignore This Critical Component. Read More

Map with finger pointing to ocean

Marketing Using Emotionally Powerful Stories

If Scooby-Doo’s sidekick, Shaggy, and Felix Unger were to have a lovechild, that kid would be my oldest son, Anthony. He’s a 17-year-old lanky (and completely loveable and good-natured) teen who’s just trying to get through each day without suffering a nervous breakdown or, as he fears, passing out. Even though neither has ever happened, […]


The Power of Influence in Action

I remember that fall day with incredible clarity. I stood at my kitchen window staring out at my backyard watching the leaves being ripped from the trees and littering the ground. At that moment, while I stood there, minding my own business lamenting summer’s departure, my 16-year old daughter walked in and told me what […]

Wayfair Website

How Content Could Save Wayfair

A couple of years ago, after an excruciatingly lengthy commute through the streets of Boston, I slid into a parking space at the local PBS affiliate. Tense from cutting it close to arriving on time for a meeting, I jumped out of my car and landed into several inches of gray slush, instantly soaking my […]

question mark

How to Avoid Overwhelming Your Client

For nine weeks we’ve been working on a project with the marketing team of a large organization, developing a content strategy. This project is ghost work, which means we’re part of an agency team that is rebranding a client and developing its new website. As part of the content strategy, we’ve audited thousands of this […]

Meeting Mentor

Empathy and Marketing: Connecting with Your Niche Audience

During my years at Emerson College, I was enrolled in a screenwriting course. A requirement was to complete a feature-length screenplay and bring it to the first day of class. I still remember the late-night printing and collating followed by hole punching and binding with brass brads. The tedious, time-consuming and expensive task didn’t matter […]

People in Hand

Content Systems and Corporate Learning

A content system is a structured method for consistently creating and sharing the right content for a target audience. That audience can be students, employees, customers, your kids, etc. Content systems can support formal education (instructor or trainer led learning) or informal education (self-guided learning). This post focuses on the role of content systems in […]

Puzzle Piece

Be an Authority by Understanding Your Audience’s Need

It’s all gravy: out of the 1900s, marketing comes full circle When my grandparents traveled from Italy to Boston in the early 1900s, they didn’t speak the local language, and Yelp and Google were decades away. Within this section of Boston, where many Italians settled, they were part of a community that provided each other […]

Keyboard and hands

Real Estate Marketing: Publishing Content

Real estate agents understand the value of authentic, original content as the key to standing out among the sea of qualified agents and brokers.  I was asked to present the Content System framework to agents who want to use content to attract and grow an audience of new clients. This is the third of three […]

Yellow house being placed on chess board

Where to Get Started: Content and Real Estate Marketing

Real estate agents understand the power and value of authentic, original content as the key to standing out among the sea of qualified agents and brokers.  I was asked to present the Content System framework to agents who want to use content to attract and grow an audience of new clients. This is the second [...]

How Real Estate Agents Can Use Content to Prevent Commoditizing Themselves

I recently presented the Content System framework to a group of real estate agents who were interested in using content to attract and grow an audience of potential clients. This group had no prior experience with content systems and needed a foundational workshop to get them started. The lessons I shared with them can be […]

Part 10: The Critical Importance of a Niche Audience – Part 3

Finding a Niche Within a Niche Can Help Your Content Thrive What if you and an established competitor provide content to the same audience? Let’s say you’re just starting out. You have a product or service about which you have content to share. Or maybe you’ve been publishing content for a while, but your audience […]

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Interviewing: In Praise of Dumb Questions

Last week, I was on a shoot for a project in North Dakota and Ohio. At both locations, I conducted interviews with subject matter experts. Those interviews reminded me of this excellent post by Kate Becker written for Content Systems Academy. Kate is a science writer in Brookline, Massachusetts. She studied physics and astronomy and […]

Part 9: The Critical Importance of a Niche Audience – Part 2

So, what is a niche audience? In This is Marketing, Seth Godin suggests identifying the smallest viable market. He says that we should obsessively focus on a specific, tiny group of people who share a similar worldview. Most content creators and marketers use the term niche audience, which is basically a subset of a larger […]

Part 8: The Critical Importance of a Niche Audience – Part 1

Here’s my take on a sustainable content system that will achieve measurable outcomes or profitable results: identify a niche audience which has an unmet need, consistently produce and publish content to address that need, and maintain high-quality engagement with that niche audience. That’s it. No over-thinking necessary. Identify a small group of people with similar […]

Football waiting to be kicked

Part 7: Foundational Elements

Twenty-two days after receiving funding from the National Science Foundation, we held a pre-kick-off meeting with internal staff to ensure we were all in agreement with what our autism project was designed to do and how we were going to execute it. Why did we need a pre-kick-off meeting? During the proposal development process, we […]

Funded What Next

Part 6: Funded. What Next?

We got the greenlight on our project, Increasing Career Placement for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Identification and Dissemination of Best Practices. (Yes, that was a mouthful!) We understood our audience’s problem: high school and college faculty need to learn how to accommodate students who are autistic. We had our solution: create educational media […]

Meeting Mentor

Part 5: Meeting with a Mentor

We were aiming for an October proposal submission deadline, and if we couldn’t pull this together in time, we would have to wait until the following October. I was convinced that if we were to miss the deadline, I’d find myself in the same place a year later. But as the deadline approached, despite the […]

Project Products Missteps

Part 4: Project Proposal Surprises and Missteps

We began the path to proposal development with the goal of creating an online instructional series of evidence-based practices for educators working with autistic high school students transitioning to college. Our first step was to recruit participants for inclusion in our proposal. We started talking to educators, lots of them. We talked with them in […]

Sharing the CSA Framework

For the past few days, I’ve been busy sharing the content systems framework within and outside my network. Generally, most people I talked with saw the value of the content systems framework when launching new projects, but many also asked how it could be applied to existing projects or initiatives. So, I decided to share […]

Developing Our Proposal

Part 3: Developing Our Project Proposal: Identifying Our Audience and Diving into R & D

Before we get to the challenges, I’ll share our project proposal design timeline to give you context so you can see how our original idea evolved into the current content system. Prior to getting the green light for the Stairway to STEM (STS) project, we identified an audience of educators who needed online training that […]

Our Process Needed to Evolve

Part 2: Our Process Needed to Evolve

Outside of Stairway to STEM, Pellet Media has its own projects and clients, and we often work with educational partners such as PBS. For more than a decade, we had a method we followed because it brought us a lot of success. In a nutshell, our old model was “Study – Produce – Distribute – […]

What You'll Find Here

Part 1: What You’ll Find Here

Execution. It’s an essential component of all content systems —and the focus of this series of blogs. I spent the last eighteen months leading a dedicated media team through an incredible experience. We’ve built a rich, dynamic website that serves a significant need for a passionate and underserved community, autistic students transitioning from high school […]

What Is A Content System

This is the Content Systems Academy

Here’s where you’ll discover how to create, engage, manage, and optimize a content system for a niche audience. To learn about the mission, start here: About Content Systems Academy For an overview of a content system, jump to: Content Systems 101 To follow the development and implementation of a content system, visit: Building a Content System: Stairway [...]

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