Marketplace Startups Are Turning Content Into Revenue

The lesson is that actionable content is valuable content

Joe Procopio
6 min readDec 10, 2020


image by pch.vector

Publishing is dead, right?

Well, it’s not so much dead as transformed. During what’s been a two-decades-long decline of traditional media, the medium itself has changed dramatically, but there’s never been more content making more money for more companies than right now.

Just not in the way you’d expect.

New content markets began opening and growing before the first nail was hammered in the media coffin. Content survives on the Internet, it’s been democratized for better or for worse with social media, it’s been decentralized via streaming video, and it’s even been automated.

I’ve had luck with two startups built on the mining of action from valuable content (Intrepid Media & ExitEvent). I’m focused on another startup now (Teaching Startup), that’s betting on a whole new evolution in content delivery:

Content as product.

So I’ve got loads of experience here, enough to know I’m not alone in calling this a trend.

Social media left behind a mess, but also an opportunity

Publishers are beginning to discover the true value of their content, and it only took 20 years for them to figure out that “eyeballs” — a term invented in the late 90s to measure valuation of Internet content — had nothing to do with said value.

The reason this revelation took so long was that it was hidden under the giant, billionaire-producing smokescreen of web-based advertising, and then mobile advertising, which covered up the stench of SEO-infused word salad with the deodorant of impressions and clickthroughs.

Seriously. That dumpster fire was pretty much the entirety of Internet content in the early-to-mid 2010s. A sea of listicles and slideshows slathered in keywords meant to lure search engine spiders to bequeath rankings high enough to generate rich CPMs for advertising engines.

But then something kind of wonderful and stupid happened.

Social media went mobile-first.



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building & GROWERS. Write at and More at