61. How to Grow a Business with Content Marketing
(part 1 of 2 with Josh Steimle)
“72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement. In addition, 72% say it has increased the number of leads.” (Source: optinmonster.com)
Content writing can be a great way to boost leads for our businesses. In today’s episode, Josh Steimle and I discuss how he got into content writing and how he is helping others to do the same.
Josh Steimle has generated more than $10 million in revenue from his businesses by authoring books and writing articles for publications like Forbes, Fortune, Time, Inc., Mashable, TechCrunch, and Entrepreneur. Josh created the 7 Systems of Influence. He wrote the book Chief Marketing Officers at Work, which contains 29 interviews with Chief Marketing Officers from organizations such as GE, Harvard Business School, Spotify, Target, and PayPal. He won the BYU Business Plan competition in 2001, the same competition that helped me start my first business in 1997. He was also named Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002 by the Utah Small Business Association.
Josh’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Starting Entrepreneurship Young
As a child, Josh loved to find creative ways to make money. He was always recycling paper, cans, and newspapers. In high school, he even sold skateboard goods and competed with the vending machines by selling a lot of candy at school.
When he got older, Josh planned to be an artist because he knew how to draw. He didn’t realize that entrepreneurship was something he could study. He then learned about business school after his first year of college and immediately switched from art to business.
Starting His Own Business
As John got further into the business world after college, he realized he wanted to start his own business. So, he quit his full-time job in 1999 and started a web design firm.
“The problem with entrepreneurs is that we have a high tolerance for risk and a low sense of reality. And so I thought, I’m gonna start a business. This is going to be great, I’m going to make a lot of money, and everything’s going to be awesome. I had no clue what I was doing.”
Josh had a difficult time signing on clients at first. He hadn’t landed a single client when a telemarketer called, trying to sell him something. Josh told the telemarketer he didn’t have any money, and the telemarketer then asked what Josh did for a living. Josh said he designed websites, and the telemarketer replied with, “Oh, my brother needs a website, let me connect you with him.”
That’s how Josh received his first client. Things didn’t go well at first, but eventually, they picked up. Josh was able to make enough money to survive. He expanded the business to focus on the marketing side of things, providing services such as SEO and paid ads.
Becoming a Writer
When Josh was at a low point with that business, he did two things that changed his life. He brought in a partner, and he started writing for Forbes magazine. Up until this point, Josh had never thought of himself as a writer, even though he’d done lots of blogging.
As Josh started writing for Forbes, he began receiving a lot of leads from it. Clients were coming to him after reading his articles, wanting to hire John’s agency to do their marketing. This attention from Forbes helped his business grow.
After writing for Forbes, Josh wanted to see if he could write for other publications. He started writing articles for Entrepreneur, Fortune, Mashable, TechCrunch, Time, and Business Insider. Josh really enjoyed writing for these publications, which sent his business a lot of leads. Writing also led to his first book deal.
Shortly after his book deal, people came to Josh for advice, wondering how he created content that generated attention for his business. He then began coaching clients on how to build a personal brand, how to engage, and how to create thought leadership content. This coaching is what Josh focuses on today.
The Importance of Audience
Of all the publications Josh has written for, Forbes has been the best for generating attention to his business. At one point, Josh did an experiment with different publications. He had an article on Forbes that led to millions of dollars of revenue for his business. He wrote very similar articles like the ones published on Forbes and published them in other publications, but nothing happened. The articles didn’t generate any leads in the other publications. Josh realized that Forbes had the right audience to generate his ideal leads while the other publications didn’t.
Josh’s Passions: Influence and Helping Others
Josh is passionate about influence, which is where the seven systems of influence came from. But, it all started when Josh realized he wanted to share what he’s learned over the years about marketing and thought leadership. He wanted to help people share their message and make the world a better place. He wanted to help by mobilizing people to become more influential by writing books or building large followings on social media.
Biggest Home Run
When I asked Josh about the biggest home run in his career, he responded that he didn’t think about the most satisfying moments in his career as financial home runs. Rather, the biggest, most important, and most satisfying moments in his career have been about individuals. His home runs have come by doing something that changed a person’s life. He finds it satisfying when they come back and say, “I’m a different person!” or “My life has improved because of what you guys did for me.”
Recently, one of the students in Josh’s Published Author program said to Josh, “I’m not going to write the book I was going to write.” When Josh asked him why, the student said, “I went through your workbook, and I realized I don’t even like this business that I’m in. I’m going to go change my career, and I’m going to start something entirely different than what I thought I was going to do.” Josh thought it was amazing he was able to help this student realize he wanted to do something else, which would change this individual’s life direction.
Published Author Program
Josh’s new published author program is about making it easy for entrepreneurs to publish books that they are going to use as marketing tools for their businesses. In addition to using the book as a great marketing tool, they want them to write meaningful books, books that will help people and make a difference.
The program walks these entrepreneurs through each step of the book publishing process. The program includes different levels. They have some free content on Josh’s Published Author Podcast. Then they have a large group that’s more affordable, a mid-tier group, and one-on-one coaching.
Length of Business Books
Most business books are 150 to 200 pages or 50,000 to 80,000 words. Shorter books are becoming more popular. However, Josh says the length doesn’t really matter as long as it has good content and is well written.
“The fact is that people will pay attention to any content that’s good, and if it’s good, they generally want more of that. That’s why kids read Harry Potter and these other huge books because it’s great content, and they want more of it. If a book is boring, it’s not necessarily because it’s too long. It’s just that it’s too boring, and the content needs to be written better.”
Thank you so much Josh for sharing your stories and knowledge with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
1. We shouldn’t be afraid to make changes in our lives to help us get where we want to be.
2. We can use good content to help us generate leads for our businesses.
3. If we are writing for other publications, make sure their audience matches ours so we receive good leads.
4. The length of a book often doesn’t matter as long as the content is valuable and well-written.
Connect with Josh
If you enjoyed this interview and want to connect with Josh or his business, you can find him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshuasteimle/ or visit https://www.publishedauthor.com/.
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