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It Started with Content: Four Key Lessons from Successful Brands and Businesses

It Started with Content: Four Key Lessons from Successful Brands & Businesses

How much can your brands and businesses really grow using the power of content?

The theory is all there – content can explode your brand online and grow your business in ways you never imagined.

But it can be scary to put it into practice when there’s no typical “content to business success” path to follow…

That’s why I created the It Started with Content case study series to show that it can be done, and that there are so many footsteps for your brands and businesses to follow!

In this final installment of the series, I look back on the 12 inspiring creator journeys and how they transformed content into incredibly successful brands and businesses. I also share the four key attributes all of them shared, and how you can apply these to your own journey.

You can watch the video…

…listen to the podcast episode…

Or read on to hear more about the content creators and the valuable lessons you can learn from their journeys.

Content marketing case study stories for your brands and businesses

As an entrepreneur, it can often feel like you’re shooting in the dark when it comes to creating and sharing content, especially as there’s no real playbook to follow.

But if you look around, more brands and businesses started with content than you might think…and there’s plenty to learn from them all.

I want to inspire you to start creating content for your brands and businesses if you’re not already. Everyone has to start from somewhere.

I picked 12 of the most unique and powerful content origin stories to share – all showing how content (in almost any format) and repurposing can result in worldwide audiences, industry leadership, eight-figure businesses, and much, much more…

Here’s a quick recap of the creators and their content journeys.

1. Joe Wicks

It Started with Content… How Embracing Content Led to Fame, Fortune and an MBE!

The story of a down-on-his-luck personal trainer turned the most highly paid fitness coach in the world is the rags-to-riches tale that first inspired this series. But what does content have to do with it?

When Joe’s in-person efforts to raise awareness of his personal training business didn’t work, he took to Instagram to spread his message. His 15-second recipe videos, known as “Lean in 15”, started going viral which caught the eye of media across the UK. From there, it snowballed.

Today, Joe is the face of the wildly successful The Body Coach brand, has published multiple cookbooks, and has set the industry standard for what it takes to be a fitness coach in the online world.

Starting with content? Check! Growing through repurposing? Check! Building a successful brand? Check!

Check out Joe’s full zero to content hero story here, It Started with Content… How Embracing Content Led to Fame, Fortune and an MBE!

2. My Dad Wrote a Porno

My Dad Wrote a Porno

What started out as a truly terrible ebook became a cult classic and is now a worldwide phenomenon. The backstory to the award-winning My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast is just as entertaining as the content itself…

When Jamie Morton discovered his dad had secretly been writing and self-publishing erotic ebooks from his garden shed, he was mortified. He told his friends, James Cooper and Alice Levine, who thought it was absolutely hilarious – and needed to be shared with the world.

Three mics later and the podcast was born. What came next was a cult following that quickly exploded into a worldwide listenership, a live show, world tours, and even a HBO special. Now that’s the power of content repurposing!

Find out more about the hilarious podcast here, It Started with Content… How 3 Ebook Downloads Became 280m Podcast Downloads.

3. Copyblogger, ConvertKit, & MoneySavingExpert.com

Copyblogger, ConvertKit, & MoneySavingExpert.com

Brian Clark, Nathan Barry, and Martin Lewis all started a blog with different goals in mind. One wanted to grow an audience, one wanted to empower people with knowledge, and one just wanted to quit his job (you’ll have to check out the episode to find out who’s who).

Each of their very different journeys shows just how much potential there is in using a blog as a foundation for a business. While all three blogs transformed over time, they all grew to serve the audiences they cultivated, and through repurposing, found their way into big business territory.

Discover each blog to business story in full here, It Started with Content… How 3 Blogs Became Big Businesses.

4. The Unmumsy Mum

The Unmumsy Mum

If you can’t find the content you’re looking for, create it yourself. That’s the number one takeaway from Sarah Turner’s amazing content story.

Frustrated with the lack of realistic parenting content online, Sarah decided to start sharing her experiences as a new mum on a blog. She went for the no holds barred approach, describing real and relatable insights into parenthood. But when she started repurposing her content to social media, that’s when things really kicked off.

After her content went viral on Facebook, Sarah was contacted by a book agent…and you can guess what happened next!

Learn more about how Sarah transformed viral wins into bestselling books here, It Started with Content…Babies, Blogs & Bestselling Books.

5. Marie Forleo

Marie Forleo

You may think that it matters what content type you start with, but Marie Forleo is proof that it’s not how you start, it’s that you get started and just keep going.

Marie is the owner of an eight-figure business and content empire, is a New York Times bestselling author, and has been interviewed by Oprah. Would you believe it all began with an email newsletter?

Marie describes herself as a “multi-passionate entrepreneur”, so it’s no surprise that the newsletter led to more content, including online courses, a YouTube channel, and, of course, books, that have helped Marie get to where she is today.

Find out more secrets to Marie’s incredible content success here, It Started with Content… How an Email Newsletter Led to an Eight-Figure Business Empire.

6. Social Chain & Very British Problems

It Started with Content…Tweets, Tea & Toilet Roll

While many people started creating content with an end goal in mind (build a business, become well-known in their industry, etc.), Dominic McGregor and Rob Temple are brilliant examples of two people who stumbled into successful content…and then made the most out of it.

The Co-Founder of Social Chain and author of Very British Problems both joined Twitter to share opportunistically quippy remarks about university life and being British (respectively). But after their tweets started getting lots of traction, along came the potential to turn loyal followers into paying customers.

Discover how Twitter could be the next best platform for your business by checking out Dominic and Rob’s stories here, It Started with Content…Tweets, Tea & Toilet Roll.

7. Deliciously Ella

It Started with Content…How a Food Blog Became a Recipe for Brand Success!

In a crowded content space like food blogging, it takes something very special to stand out.

Ella Mills started her food blog as a hobby, but after consistently posting content that she was passionate about (specifically inventive, healthy recipes) her following grew, and she realized her blog could become something much bigger.

Now Ella works on recipes for her subscription-based app, creates products for supermarket chains, has published a range of recipe books, and is the face of the Deliciously Ella brand.

Learn the key ingredients to Ella’s success here, It Started with Content…How a Food Blog Became a Recipe for Brand Success.

8. Tim Schmoyer

It Started with Content…From Amateur Vlogger to Master of YouTube

When Tim first heard about YouTube, he thought it would be perfect for sharing videos of his life with family members who lived far away. Then strangers started tuning in.

Tim’s content story is one propelled by his natural curiosity to work out what people like on YouTube and why they like it. In fact, that one key driver is what’s kept him creating content to this day – and why so many big-name brands now work with him to develop strategies for their own business.

Check out Tim’s content journey to find out what it takes to go from video rookie to industry pro in It Started with Content…From Amateur Vlogger to Master of YouTube.

9. Zach King

It Started with Content...From Viral Video Illusionist to Record Breaking Content King

YouTube is the space for video creators. So when Zach King decided to put his passion online and pursue filmmaking after college, there was only one appropriate vehicle for his video content. Until Vine launched.

Zach’s viral video illusions were a hit on the 6-second social media platform. But then it shut down and forced Zach to repurpose his record-breaking content to other channels. A big lesson in diversifying your content and building your audience in more than one place.

At the same time, Zach was using this content to create a personal brand and business. He was showing big brands what he was capable of…and they wanted in. Now Zach’s more than a passionate filmmaker. He’s got a team, a business, and helps others create truly magical content.

Discover the magic behind Zach’s story here, It Started with Content… From Viral Video Illusionist to Record Breaking Content King.

4 key takeaways for your brands and businesses

After researching, writing, and broadcasting about all of these amazing content creators and their journeys, it was clear that although they’d all taken different paths, with different content types, and reached different end-goals, they all experienced wild successes from their content.

And they’re not all that different. There were some lessons that came up again and again, and feature in every single story we shared.

So if you’re looking to replicate this success with your content and for your own business, here are the four things you should do.

  • Go all-in

In each creator’s story there was a moment where they had to make a decision about putting their all into their content. I’ll give you a hint as to what they decided…if they hadn’t chosen to go all-in, it’s unlikely they’d be on this list!

The saying, you get out what you put in, is extremely relevant when it comes to content. If you put in 100%, you’re likely to get great results. But if you put in 50%, with 50% of your energy directed elsewhere, it’s more difficult to get the maximum results possible.

All the creators featured in the series took a huge leap of faith with their content. While it may not have paid off overnight (another key theme), it always led to big things happening. Persistence was also a key theme.

  • Be consistent

Many of the creators credited consistency as a major player in their success. It’s just not optional if you want to grow your brands and businesses.

A sporadic content strategy will only get you so far. Reliably creating and repurposing content will get you so much further. If this doesn’t sound possible for your business, know that help is out there!

  • Be passionate

Consistency is really difficult to achieve if you chose to go it alone on your content journey, but one thing can help. Passion.

If you’re getting started with content or need help making your content efforts go further. We’re the industry leaders in content repurposing and our services are designed to help you reach your content and business goals.

Being truly passionate about your content is what’s going to keep you motivated during those tough days where you’re not sure you can fit creating content in alongside everything else.

It also helps you create better content. Your audience recognize when you’re passionate about your message, and it’ll make more of an impact.

It Started with Content: Four Key Lessons from Successful Brands & Businesses
  • Repurpose!

In each of the stories we shared, the content creators saw even more success when they branched out from their first form of content and tried something new. It might have grown their audience, given them new opportunities, or even started bringing in revenue.

But in all cases, diversifying their content strategy and repurposing into new formats allowed the creators to explore potential avenues their content had created.

Content + repurposing = amazing opportunities!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series and picked up some useful tips and advice for your own content strategy along the way. It’s been fantastic to showcase so many brilliant brands that prove when you start with content, your business can go really, really far.

You can watch all of the It Started with Content episodes on the Content 10x YouTube channel, listen to them on the podcast, or read the articles on our website.

If you’re getting started with content or need help making your content efforts go further for your brands and businesses, we can help. We’re the industry leaders in content repurposing and our services are designed to help you reach your content and business goals. Find out how.


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