Many of us have an exaggerated image of the business world — that it’s all about making heartless decisions based solely on profits, not people.
But what if you could build a business that had a transformative effect on your customers’ lives? And what if you could profit at the same time?
Morgan Dix has built two businesses that enable his customers to transform themselves.
The first one teaches meditation, and the second one teaches people to build a platform for their ideas.
Morgan’s story is this month’s Hero’s Journey feature. We’re tapping the collective wisdom of our community members to bring you reports from the front lines of the content marketing world. See all the Hero’s Journey posts here.
Read on as Morgan tells his story.
The cosmic irony of meditation’s newfound respect
Morgan Dix: In 2013, I co-founded AboutMeditation.com, an educational website that helps people learn how to meditate. Through articles, a weekly podcast, online courses, and an online community, we demystify the process and practice of meditation.
I used the Problem > Agitate > Solve content equation I learned here on Copyblogger to identify that people struggle mightily with maintaining a consistent meditation practice. So that’s one of the chief problems we address through our content and courses.
We help our audience understand that meditation is as natural to human beings as breathing. But like any new skill or art, it takes time, patience, and practice to develop. A lot of people pull the ejection cord on meditation way too quickly because it’s hard to know if you’re flying in the right direction.
We provide simple instructions and lots of context so you can see where you are in the process at any given moment. With meditation, that kind of perspective and orientation is super important.
I also feel it’s important to communicate out of the gates that meditation isn’t exclusive. You don’t have to be a monk, martial artist, hippy, or guru to develop a rich and rewarding practice. Meditation has really gone mainstream.
I relish the cosmic irony that mindfulness meditation is now seen as a go-to performance-enhancing practice on Wall Street.
Using content to develop authority in a crowded market
Morgan Dix: We have three levels to our offer — free, registered, and paid. Our free offer includes a multi-author blog, a podcast, and guided meditations.
The blog features how-to articles, personal reflections, and introductions to different meditation techniques.
On the podcast, we interview teachers, tech mavens, scientists, and inspired practitioners who share different perspectives and stories related to meditation, mindfulness, healing, and health. We also include occasional guided meditations on the podcast.
In our registered level, we offer people a more curated experience with a self-paced three-part meditation seminar exploring how meditation is a great antidote to the stressors of modern life. Folks can also access more premium guided meditations at this level.
And finally, we offer a series of paid online courses (all self-paced) that walk people through the basics of meditation and provide a broad orientation. We also offer a more advanced course.
One thing I’m proud of is how we iterated during the creation process of one of our first products.
We created a free 16-part meditation mini course as a lead magnet. That did pretty well in terms of email conversions, but we realized that the course was too long for a lead magnet. People weren’t finishing it.
So, we scaled it back to five core lessons. A little more than 6,000 people took the mini course over 14 months.
For us, that uptake and the feedback we received was clear proof that the product worked. Then we relaunched the mini course for $20 with new branding. Using our email lead nurture cycle, we are selling one a day as the base of our product line.
Our unfair advantage is content marketing. Studying and applying the principles from the Copyblogger playbook has helped us develop some real authority in a competitive market dominated by a relative few.
In essence, the Copyblogger approach has helped us build our minimum viable audience. It’s helped us build a great email list, rank high in search engine results, continually extend our reach, build our network, and improve our offerings.
Marrying passions to move from nonprofit education to platform building
Morgan Dix: I started my business during a transitional period in my life. I’d worked in nonprofit education for 16 years in the employ of others. I wanted to strike out and start something new.
This business married three of my passions: meditation, marketing, and writing. I wanted to create and mold something with my own hands, so to speak. I wanted creative freedom. Joining with my business partner on this project made that possible.
Slowly but surely, I applied the principles. Soon our blog was getting more social shares.
Then, organic search engine results to our content started to multiply.
We started the podcast a year ago and 75,000 downloads later, we’re reaping the benefits in terms of audience reach and growth.
When I first started with online business, I didn’t appreciate that it’s a long game. But I do now and I must say, that mindset shift makes a huge difference. That perspective enables me to appreciate the slow and steady progress of growth.
There’s something inexorable about content marketing. You keep showing up and creating great content. You get better at it. You refine and test. You find more dots to connect. You learn more about your audience. And most importantly, you find out how to serve them better.
And you’re always building something that’s generating value, fans, respect, attention, legitimacy … and authority. I love that. There’s so little waste and so much learning.
Shifting gears to ramp up profits
Morgan Dix: A while back, we discovered my wife was expecting. Although About Meditation was growing, it didn’t provide a living wage yet. I needed to shift gears and do something right away that would generate revenue faster.
So, I launched MorganDix.com and leveraged the copywriting and content marketing skills I’d developed with About Meditation to help other people build their own platforms. I immediately had more work than I could manage and a reliable source of income.
On one level, I felt relieved and grateful. On another, I felt like it wasn’t a big deal.
I’ve internalized the platform-building process and it’s becoming more instinctive. One thing I love about content marketing is how flexible and empowering it is.
You can apply content marketing across so many fields of business, areas of expertise, and interests. Consequently, I feel like it’s easier to see business opportunities. I love helping other people see that in their own work.
Two changes that made a major difference
Morgan Dix: Lately, we’ve started to outsource a lot of tasks and processes that I used to do for About Meditation. That’s made a big difference and freed me up to spend my time working on the things I do best.
Another major success is our podcast. It feels like the gift that keeps on giving.
Of all the things I’ve done, this feels like it’s established the authority of our platform more than anything else.
The connections we make through the podcast open up new business opportunities and extend our reach. The more intimate nature of the content creates a richer relationship with our audience.
The Rainmaker Digital products Morgan uses
Morgan Dix: We use the Rainmaker Platform and we love it.
We use the podcasting functionality for our podcast.
We use the learning management system for our courses and the landing pages to sell them.
Meditating on changes and expansion plans
Morgan Dix: We’re about to launch a redesign of our site with the Altitude theme. We plan to launch a membership site later this year and a podcast network in 2017.
We’re also launching a multi-author blog. We’ve invited six new bloggers and meditation teachers to become monthly columnists for our platform. It’s exciting to feature a variety of new voices on the site who will provide a more diverse range of content. That is launching this month.
Find Morgan Dix online …
Thanks to Morgan for appearing in our Hero’s Journey series.
Do you have questions for him? Ask them in the comments.
We’ll be back next month with another story to teach, inspire, and encourage you along your journey.
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