What is a Content System?

What it takes to attract and grow an audience

Anthony Manupelli
The Startup
Published in
11 min readApr 1, 2019

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A Content System and how it helps you attract and grow an audience

A content system is the process of creating, engaging, managing, and optimizing data-driven information that serves an unmet need for a niche audience. This process both creates and grows a network. If you’re still with me, I understand that sounds like a very techy and non-creative endeavor, but this definition provides the necessary framework to create compelling content that engages audiences. Rather than constrain us, it frees us.

It frees us from feeling overwhelmed. Where do I start? What’s next?

It frees us from anxiety. Is this what my audience wants? Will anyone read this?

When you have clarity, creativity flourishes.

There’s a lot packed into my definition of a content system, so let’s break it down.

A content system is a structured method for consistently creating and publishing the right content for a target audience. Pellet Media’s Stairway to STEM is an example of a content system. Under the hood of this site is a powerful engine. This engine sends each piece of content through an agreed-upon process from ideation to publishing. Like an engine in a customized car, each content system is built to meet the needs of the project and its team. No two content systems are the same, but the fundamentals of how to engineer one that delivers engaging material to your audience are.

Overview

At the center of a content system is a niche audience. Every decision you make and every activity you undertake must be in the best interest of this group. Content is what fuels your system and it is shaped by eight elements. These evidence-based elements are critical to creating compelling content that resonates and engages your audience. Your content traverses through four stages of your system and as it does, it attracts, retains, and expands a captivated audience. This engaged audience becomes a network. And, eventually, the network’s growth is self-sustaining. Members attract members who attract members. Facebook, FabFitFun, and Uber are all examples of networks.

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Anthony Manupelli
The Startup

I am a writer, producer, and a content strategist, and I can help you develop and produce content that grows your audience and builds your brand.