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It Started with Content… How an Email Newsletter Led to an Eight-Figure Business Empire

It Started with Content… How an Email Newsletter Led to an Eight-Figure Business Empire

Having an email newsletter is a powerful part of any content strategy. But is it enough to grow an entire business? Keep reading to find out.

Any seasoned content creator will tell you that it’s best to master creating one content type before diversifying the content that you create. However, few realize how refining your skills impacts your audience’s loyalty and growth….

…then, when your audience is as committed to your content as you are, it can drive big results for your business.

Marie Forleo is a content creator who took this exact approach. Today, Marie leads a content empire comprising of a wildly successful podcast, YouTube channel, blog, social media channels, and more.

But for many years, she created just one type of content, an email newsletter.

In this episode of our It Started with Content case study series, I reveal how Marie’s single-channel content strategy helped her build an eight-figure business. I also share her top tips and advice for others looking to build their business with the help of content.

Hit play to listen to the podcast episode…

…watch the video version below…

…or keep reading to discover Marie Forleo’s story.

From night school to B-School

It’s SO easy to look at someone’s success and presume they had a lot of help (financial or otherwise) along the way.

That’s a mistake I definitely made when I first encountered Marie Forleo.

Marie runs a formidable content empire. Her YouTube channel, MarieTV, has had over 52 million views, The Marie Forleo Podcast, boasts almost 12 million downloads, and she’s well established on her social media platforms too. She publishes regular content on her website’s blog, as well as creating content for her online course, B-School.

But that’s not all. Marie is also a marketing and lifestyle expert, life coach, and a New York Times bestselling author with her book ‘Everything is Figureoutable’. She’s become an industry figurehead and been interviewed by Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris, Brene Brown, and Oprah – who dubbed her a “thought leader for the next generation”.

Now, you can see why, back when I first found Marie’s content, I presumed she had a lot of money and industry contacts to help her reach the status she’s at today.

But after digging into her content origin story, I now realize just how wrong I was!

Just like other founders we’ve looked at in this case study series, Marie’s business and content journey started from ground zero. In fact, when Marie first began creating content, she was working multiple jobs, attending night school, and hadn’t even started her business yet.

So, what motivated Marie to produce content?

A lesson in pre-social media networking

Prior to social media and YouTube, getting your name out there was much, much harder. Marie began her content journey at a time when digital channels were extremely limited. So, she had to do something almost completely alien to us in 2021…network in person.

It’s evident from Marie’s story that she recognized people are the key to building businesses. And, to get people to back your business, you need to have a relationship with them. That’s why Marie chose to create an email newsletter.

Her incentive to create this type of content was to keep in touch with people that she’d met. She’d talk to people wherever she was (the gym, bars, her work, etc.) and collect their email addresses on a yellow legal pad. Most people happily gave her their email addresses even though they had little idea about what an email newsletter even was.

At the time, very few people were creating and sending email newsletters. This content type was very much in its infancy and emails were primarily seen as a form of one-to-one communication.

So, really, Marie used her email newsletters as a continuation of her networking – keeping in contact with those who liked her ideas and wanted to see what she’d do next.

How an email newsletter helped build a business

The email newsletter was also a behind-the-scenes into Marie’s business development. She was slowly building her (now hugely successful) coaching business by attending a 3-year training program and working side jobs to pay the bills.

This was another reason that an email newsletter was the perfect content choice for Marie. It saved her a lot of time and money compared to other traditional advertising routes. She could create her newsletter cheaply, as often as she wanted, with no commitment to anything other than her subscribers.

Marie admits that she wasn’t always consistent with her email newsletter, but she was committed to it. It remained her main channel for communicating with her audience for many years, even as she worked on other projects.

This single-channel approach is something Marie recommends to other budding entrepreneurs. In an interview with Foundr, Marie advises:

“Pick one channel, one way to get your message out that you can become really good and consistent at, and then let yourself build from there.”
Marie Forleo Interview with Foundr

Marie’s email newsletter meant that she could communicate directly with her loyal followers. She could spread the word about her new business endeavours, promote her book, and share valuable tips and advice that would keep people interested in receiving her content.

From email-only to all-in

After many years of sticking to just one type of content, Marie founded her content conglomerate Marie Forleo International in 2008.

Marie took all of the skills she’d learned from honing her email newsletter and used them to explode her business with a brand-new multi-channel content strategy. She had years of insights and experience from communicating closely with her most loyal audience and so knew what they wanted to hear from her.

Marie Forleo International is the umbrella company that hosts her business and life coaching services, a virtual business course, the incredibly successful MarieTV video series, a podcast, blog posts, and – of course – the newsletter that started it all.

But aside from exponentially increasing her content output, Marie also made one drastic change to her approach.

In an interview with Forbes, Marie confessed that everything changed when she started producing content consistently.

“It’s been 2.5 years of consistent content each week and that consistency has radically grown our online community.”

Marie saw first-hand the huge impact consistency alone can play in growing your audience. She now encourages others to follow in her footsteps and produce content consistently. Something I couldn’t agree with more!

I’ve spoken about the power of consistency in my podcast many times. One of the ways most people stick to a schedule is to create episodic content. Find out why this strategy could work for you in the blog post ‘7 Reasons Why You Should Create Episodic Content’.

Key lessons we can all learn from Marie

I think there are three main takeaways from Marie’s content journey.

Walk before you run

There is so much to be gained from mastering one type of content before you diversify. Marie is proof of that. Don’t feel pressured into expanding into new content types until you’ve absolutely nailed your initial one.

It’s also important to choose the right type of content that suits your long-term goals. For Marie, that meant creating a piece of content she could provide alongside her other ventures and that kept her close with her contacts. So an email newsletter was a no-brainer.

Never underestimate consistency

Consistency is a pillar to success and Marie’s words speak volumes about how powerful it is…need I say more!

Always play the long game

Marie’s content journey might have taken you just a few minutes to read through, but in reality, her story took place over two decades.

Building an eight-figure business is never going to happen overnight. But as they say, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.

So, don’t wait. Get started, stay consistent, and keep going. Who knows where your commitment to content will take you!

To discover more It Started with Content case study stories, click here.

If you’re ready to get started with content, we can help. We provide specialist services to help you launch a podcast or video show. But that’s not all. We then support you with weekly repurposing so you can maximize your content’s reach every single week. Check out our services to learn how.


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