How Rodale Inc. Evolved Its Content

JI Rodale, founder of Rodale Inc., publisher of Prevention and several other magazines, has died aged 72. What’s even more shocking is where he died.

As a guest on The Dick Cavett Show , Rodale suffered a heart attack on stage while the host was interviewing another guest. (Cavett and guest were unaware until they commented on Rodale and he did not respond. The show never aired.)

The media health promoter was gone, but india telegram his legacy continued. What does this have to do with content marketing? All. Not because of the interview, but because of the publishing house that Rodale left behind.

You see, Rodale didn’t just create a magazine that “presented systematic ways for people to try to prevent disease.” He left behind an understanding of the magazine industry that would propel Prevention to become one of the  biggest magazines in the world (10 million monthly readers).

What I want to do today is reveal how Rodale Inc. did this and help you apply it to your own content marketing strategy.

2 reasons why a magazine exists

In my eBook, 51 Content Marketing Hacks, I share the real reason magazines exist with a quote included in The 1910s by David Blanke and attributed to advertising executive James Collins in 1907:

There is still an illusion that a magazine is a periodical in which advertising is incidental. But we don’t see it that way. A magazine is simply a means of enticing people to read advertising. It is a large booklet with two departments – entertainment and business. The entertainment department finds stories, pictures, verses, etc. to interest the public. The business department makes money.

These goals are the same ones that every effective content marketer should focus on:


This simple concept resembles most fundamental concepts. Power is not in knowing, it is in implementing the concepts .

Rodale (and those at Rodale Inc. after him) have implemented these concepts so well that they have become a science. In 2014, Rodale’s publications reached a record gross readership of 37.7 million readers.

But how did they do it?

5-Step Content Marketing Strategy from Rodale Inc.


Phone Number

I accidentally discovered the strategy of Rodale Inc. It all started when my wife started receiving Prevention magazine and Rodale started sending her promotional magazines (magalogs). The next thing I knew she ordered some of those books and products promoted in those magalogs.

You must understand something. Unlike me, my wife doesn’t like (or even care) about marketing. For her, reading these marketing materials, like them, and responding to them meant that Rodale was doing something right. This caused me to pay attention to his efforts and research his current and past practices. The results are revealed in the five-step strategy.

1. The sole purpose of creating content is to bring together a specific audience

Rodale Inc. never creates content for the purpose of creating content. He always has a specific audience in mind. All content is designed to attract, entice and help this audience.

Rodale has created different content verticals for many markets, including:

  • Ride a bike
  • Children’s health
  • men’s health
  • Rodale’s Organic Life
  • Prevention
  • runner’s world
  • women’s health

Each of these verticals attracts and benefits a unique group of people. Let me use one of his more recent verticals to show how Rodale does it. In March, Rodale created a website called Eat Clean. You can see the detailed vertical audience it plans to attract as described in the site’s press release:

With an often irreverent and always Cambodia Phone Number List authoritative tone, will be the place where clean food insiders and experimenters gather, learning about the latest trends, innovations, opinions, products and recipes.

Rodale’s mindset on content creation is different from that of many marketers. Others generally focus on a generic audience. They create content for “urgent” reasons such as a blog post is scheduled; this is something we wanted to discuss; it’s something everyone is talking about right now.

But first they need to answer important questions for their content marketing strategies.

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