Sales & Marketing

This content marketing entrepreneur made his way to seven figures in six months

9 min read

22 November 2016

When it comes to content marketing, this entrepreneur has got the strategy sewn up, and his "reverse-engineered" approach rapidly made him a millionaire.

It’s no secret that we live in a world of ubiquitous content. It’s everywhere! As a result, so is content marketing.

We read, stream and “binge watch” content at all times of the day: on the train before work, during our lunch break, with friends at the bar…. even when we’re on the toilet! (warning: just don’t drop your phone!).

With so much content marketing competition these days, many of us simply give up without even trying. “It’s too hard!” “I won’t get noticed!” “People wouldn’t care anyways!”

Guess what? These are all lies. It’s true!

You’ve been recycling these limiting beliefs over and over again to justify your current level of “success” (or lack thereof). If you want to become truly successful and create content that really resonates with people, you need to start by getting out of your own way.

I recently spoke to Brian Clark, CEO of Rainmaker Digital (formerly Copyblogger Media). One of the earliest pioneers of content marketing, Brian built a massive audience and created one of the “50 Most Powerful Blogs in the World” (as ranked by The Guardian).

His story is inspiring. In 2006, Clark recognised a gap in the market that needed filling. With nothing more than ambition and an idea, he launched Copyblogger Media, which aimed to help people develop and execute killer content marketing strategies.

His following grew quickly over the first 18 months. Despite early success, Clark remained steadfast in his belief that if he built an audience first, the money would come later.

He calls this “reverse-engineering.” And boy did it work! When Clark decided to monetise after 18 months, Copyblogger Media made over six figures in a single week. Six months later, Clark was a millionaire.

The mediums we consume content on are constantly changing, but the principles that made Clark wildly successful are the same. If you master these principles, I promise you this: with patience, hard work and dedication, you will be able to amass your own unique audience and following.

But enough talk – let’s cut to the chase. On the next page, read how how you can reverse-engineer your way to the top, develop a killer content marketing strategy and attract loads of followers along the way.

(1) Ask: What needs are NOT being serviced?

Clark was smart. In 2006, he knew there was a massive need for effective, potent content marketing. So what did he do? Well, he found out his audience’s pain points and frustrations and used these insights to shape and inform his content strategy!

When you focus on what your audience finds difficult or challenging, you’re able to offer tangible solutions that adds value to their lives. This is the holy grail of effective content marketing, because it tells you straight away what content will resonate with your audience and what won’t.

(2) Persona & empathy mapping

Any great content marketing professional worth their weight knows the remarkable power of effective persona and empathy mapping. A persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When you’re looking to grow your audience, you need to understand what makes them tick!

This means probing the demographic makeup of your tribe to understand their educational background, what influencers they follow, what social networks they use, how much money they make, what their biggest challenges are, how they spend their free time… the list goes on and on.

When you combine this with empathy mapping – which tells you how your audience feels, thinks and in what ways they’re likely to act – you’re able to predict what content will work and what won’t. This means you can turn the dial up and pump out consistent, high-octane content that fuels your growth.

(3) Talk about your customers

Clark likens content marketing to a cocktail party. If you’re talking to a group of people by the bar, and one ego-maniac decides to steer the conversation towards his great exploits and accomplishments at every moment, what conclusion are you going to draw of this person? You’re going to think he’s an arsehole!

The same rings true when publishing content. You need to ensure that the focus remains wholeheartedly on your customers. Avoid ego-centric messaging at all costs, because it can cripple your strategy and reeks of low self-esteem.

Continue on the next page for the three final methods you can adopt from Clark to make your content marketing a success.

(4) Make your audience the HERO

In a similar vein, you need to ensure you make the audience the hero of your story. People create successful followings because they’re able to tap into and address fundamental human emotions.

When you foster an “underdog” mentality, you create an extremely powerful sense of togetherness that unites your tribe under one cause.

In Clark’s case, he built a massive following by harnessing the human drive for greater potential. “You deserve to be the best you can be! And here’s how you can do it.”

Now, he may not have said this in such explicit terms, but his content marketing strategy was centred on helping people become better versions of themselves.

Creating punchy, effective content was merely the vessel by which his audience achieved this success.


Different is better than better. Being uniquely you is something that no one else can copy.

But here’s the real kicker: everyone is afraid to do that! The vast majority of us are biologically wired to “fit in” and follow the crowd, whether we believe it or not.

The real struggle lies in overcoming your fear of being different. In fact, you need to relish the difference and use that to your advantage!

After all, your life view and personal experiences are totally unique to any other human being on the planet. Lean into this and you’ll exude a confidence and authenticity that people simply can’t resist.

(6) Reverse-engineer for success

Don’t focus on the money or financial returns straight away. Whether you’re an established business with a massive audience or just starting your first blog, it’s important to focus on building positive relationships first.

Just look at Clark. He went from virtually no income to six figures in one week! BUT – he exercised incredible patience and knew when the time was right to strike.

When you start with the audience and the relationships first, you give yourself a much better opportunity for financial success further down the line.

Image: Shutterstock