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As an author, entrepreneur, and owner of multiple businesses, I get asked a lot about writing, marketing, and how to make money.
Of course, if you’re looking for shortcuts and magic formulas, I’m not the jedi wizard you’re looking for. But if you’re willing to do the work and have realistic expectations, you’re well on your way and I’m happy to share insights on what’s worked for me.
In fact, I’ve written about my story here on the blog, and I’ve had several episodes on how the Mike Matthews sausage is made, business lessons I learned building Legion, and the power of great content.
And this podcast should be just as insightful, my fellow money-grubbing capitalist. That’s because it’s an interview from Nicholas Jensen’s Unlimited Wealth podcast, in which I shared juicy tiddly-bits on branding, valuable marketing resources, and getting started with creating content.
Nicholas’ podcast is focused on helping entrepreneurs grow their business and money, and since many people want to know what goes on behind the curtain here at Oz Legion HQ, I thought it would be worth sharing the interview he did of yours unruly here on my own podcast.
So if you want to learn about why I started Legion, free marketing resources, writing unique copy that sells, how I built my businesses the “hard way,” the importance of branding, my thoughts on imposter syndrome, how to get started with content marketing, and a whole lot more, you’re going to love this episode!
Press play and let me know what you think!
9:35 – Are there certain marketing perspectives that you followed before your company became successful?
18:26 – What are some marketing strategies that you recommend?
23:45 – Do you think Legion could stand on its own without you?
27:13 – Where do you gather most of your information about marketing?
32:39 – Do you suffer from imposter syndrome?
Mentioned on The Show:
Nicholas Jensen’s Unlimited Wealth Podcast
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Mike: Hey, and welcome to another episode of Muscle for Life. Thank you for joining me today. I’m Mike Matthews, of course, and this one is a change of pace. This episode has to do with business and marketing and content creation, which as an author and entrepreneur I get asked about fairly often, particularly about writing.
Marketing and just how to make money in general. And I have written a bit about my story [email protected] I have spoken about it here and there on the podcast. I’ve talked about how the Mike Matthews sausage is made. I’ve shared different. Business lessons and the power of creating great content, and those episodes have always been well received.
So I thought I would share an interview I did on another podcast on Nicholas Jenssen’s Unlimited Wealth podcast in which I get into all types of juicy tiddly bits on my. Thoughts and my experiences on the art of branding, creating valuable marketing resources and creating content in particular, which is something I’ve done a lot of over the years.
I’ve written millions of words in books and articles, and I’ve recorded, I don’t know, maybe it is millions of words by now on the podcast. And those activities along with email marketing and social media marketing have driven a lot of legion’s growth and have also helped Legion create a very unique brand for itself that is quite different than many other sports nutrition companies, a brand that revolves around education.
And all inclusive fitness teaching people and helping people through our coaching service, for example, not just understand which supplements are and aren’t worth taking and why, but also what they need to do in the kitchen and the gym to ultimately achieve their fitness goals and supplementation alone, of course.
Can’t get them there. So at Legion, again, through a lot of the content marketing that I do and my team of people now do over at Legion, we have created a company and a resource that people can go to again, to learn everything they need to get into the best shape of their life. So if any of that sounds interesting to you and you want to hear my thoughts on why I started Legion, how I started it, on how I’ve used free marketing resources to generate millions of dollars in sales and grow my following and grow my influence.
I also talk about copywriting, which is something that I enjoy and I’m fairly good at by my standards, and I’ve gotten a lot of results with. And my thoughts on branding. Something I also enjoy and like to think I’m at least decent at, along with other things related to entrepreneurship and marketing. I think you’re gonna like this episode.
Also, if you like what I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world, and we’re on top. Because every ingredient and dose in every product is backed by peer-reviewed scientific research.
Every formulation is 100% transparent. There are no proprietary blends, for example, and everything is naturally sweetened and flavored. So that means no artificial sweeteners, no artificial food dyes. Which may not be as dangerous as some people would have you believe. But there is good evidence to suggest that having many servings of artificial sweeteners, in particular every day for long periods of time may not be the best for your health.
So while you don’t need pills, powders, and potions to get into great shape, and frankly, most of them are virtually useless, there are natural ingredients. That can help you lose fat, build muscle, and get healthy faster, and you will find the best of them in legions products to check out everything we have to offer, including protein powders and protein bars, pre-workout, post-workout supplements, fat burners, multivitamins, joint support, and more.
Head over to www.by Legion. Dot com, B Y legion.com. And just to show how much I appreciate my podcast peeps, use the coupon code M F L at checkout and you will save 20% on your entire first order. So again, if you appreciate my work and if you wanna see more of it, and if you also want all natural evidence-based supplements that work, please do consider supporting Legion so I can keep doing what I love.
Like producing more podcasts like this. Hey Mike, thanks for joining me on the podcast today. Yeah, thanks for having me. Thanks for being flexible and accommodating my schedule. No worries, man. I’m glad to have this
Nicholas: conversation in case some of, some people in my audience don’t know you or know who you are.
Do you mind just kind of introducing yourself, high level, what you do, and then we’ll kind of get into the, the meat of, of
Mike: what I wanna talk about? Yeah. So I’m Mike. I’m a, a Gemini, I think. No, I’m joking. I don’t even know. So when people ask me, what do you do? I just usually say, ah, health and fitness, things like, you know, I have books and sports nutrition, like supplements and app and a podcast and things, write things.
But first and foremost, I would say that, I mean, I spend most of my time creating content, so writing articles, recording podcasts, writing books, and touching on many different things related to health and fitness on the books. Side of things. I’ve written several and I’ve sold over one and a half million copies now total collectively.
I started that in 2012. I started a sports nutrition company along the way, really just to scratch my own itch if Legion would’ve existed already back in 20. 14. That was year one. I probably wouldn’t have done it. I probably would’ve just went to them and said, Hey, I really like what you’re doing. Do you want to like partner with me and here’s what I have and maybe we can make a deal kind of thing.
But that didn’t, this didn’t exist. Nobody was doing supplements the way that I wanted to do them, and I knew at the time that. I had a website called Muscle for Life. Just Muscle for life.com, which eventually just merged into Legion’s website. Legion absorbed all of its content and Linked Juice and blah, blah, blah.
Cause there was just a point where strategically it made sense to do that. But at the time I had a recommendations section on the website, muscle for Life, and I was recommending fitness related things, even just some non fitness related things. Books I like and just stuff I like really. And I saw through Amazon’s affiliate program that which I participated in, the money was never.
All that’s significant. But I was just curious if people cared. Like did people even want my recommendations? And it’s one thing for people to say they do, it’s another thing for them to actually spend money, right? So I saw that people were buying a lot of these supplements I was recommending, even though my recommendations were very lukewarm, like I remember the protein powder I was using.
I basically was saying, All right. I trust this company. Here’s why I trust this company. Here are some lab results so they’re not immunos spiking, so that’s cool. It doesn’t taste good at all. So I wish it tasted better and it’s cheap. And that’s about it. Like that’s it. That’s the pitch, right? And a pre-workout I was using, I remember I was explaining.
I don’t really like coffee. If I did, I probably would just drink coffee cuz this isn’t that great of a product, but, Sometimes I use it, sometimes I just use caffeine pills. It does have some citraline. It’s about half of what you’d normally want. It has some beta alanine, about half of what you’d normally want, but maybe that’s better than nothing and it tastes kind of good, I guess.
Like that’s it. So I, I couldn’t really get behind any of these products. I saw that a lot of people were clicking through and buying, so I knew that if I made my own stuff, that I actually could get behind. And I actually like felt enthusiastic about. I didn’t know if I was gonna have a successful business, but I knew that I.
I wasn’t just gonna lose my money. Like I would sell the stuff eventually and whatever. Right? And so, and that was really the impetus for starting Legion and now it’s doing quite well. Uh, did about 20 million in sales last year. I’m getting the final numbers. It’ll be about 19 actually. Probably somewhere around there.
19 to 20. We’re just doing the final financials and there’s still a lot of low-hanging fruit. We haven’t done retail, for example. There’s a lot of still e-commerce stuff that we can do. And I, I really see it strategically speaking. I see it as a straight shot to probably about 50 million in revenue, just in terms of what we can execute on in the next couple of years.
How to go from 50 to a hundred. I don’t know. That I don’t know, but you know, I, I may get some ideas along the way depending on what happens. And beyond that, I have a podcast that has done pretty well and. You know, Legion’s website where my articles live gets about a million visits a month, and that’s growing.
So that’s cool. And I know you wanna talk about email marketing. I have about, uh, currently we have about a half a million people on our email lists and a couple hundred thousand website subscribers. And the reason, by the way, I don’t, and I’m not sharing these numbers to brag, I just know if this, if I’m speaking to business owners, Then one of my thoughts would be if I’m a listener, like, all right, who’s this guy and why should I care about anything?
He says like, has he done anything or is this all just what he’s going to do? You know what I mean? Yeah. So the one thing that, I
Nicholas: mean, before we started
Mike: recording, I mean I’ve been following your stuff for probably five years and
Nicholas: one of the things that has really stood out to me about your content is obviously Legion has grown, right?
I like I, I was following you back when there was Muscle for live.com and Legion and all that, and I would see the two different companies, you know, pushing out content. And I was always impressed with one, how much content like you push out, you push out a crap ton of content. All the time. So from a marketing perspective and a business owner’s perspective, are there certain marketing principles that you follow that you’re like, Hey, if I do X, Y, and Z, I know I’m going to get a result.
Did you know that kind of beforehand, or has it just kind of come with trial and error? What are your thoughts around marketing that way? Yeah,
Mike: so I’d say there are there a lot of. Principles at work. Marketing is something that I’ve studied a lot. I mean, I’ve read many books and I’ve been doing it for some time now and it’s something I truly enjoy.
That like marketing related work and researching and writing are the my favorite work out of all the things that I do. There are quite a few things related to running a business that I really don’t enjoy, honestly, but you just gotta do ’em. However, marketing is something that is just one of those things I just enjoy for its own sake.
I find psychology interesting and persuasion interesting, and of course that then spills over into sales and salesmanship, and I like the creativity that goes into marketing. I really like that. There are an infinite number of ways to create a marketing campaign or even write an email, and some are gonna be way better than others.
And so I, I just, I like it. It’s a fun game. The type of work I don’t like is the stuff that’s more rote or formulaic where there isn’t much room for creativity, for example. You just kind of like pull the levers and push the buttons. Yeah. And you move on with your life and you put the numbers in the spreadsheet and you get the numbers and you do the next thing.
So I would say yeah, there’s certainly a lot at work and. I think a, a good answer for that though is going back to the beginning. So it started with this book, bigger, leaner, stronger, which I wrote and self-published. I didn’t have any following. I didn’t have a website. I didn’t have access to any platform at all.
No gatekeepers liked what I was gonna do and promote it. I just wrote the book, put it on Amazon, and I had no idea. If anyone was gonna care. Right. I, I thought there’s like a 50 50 chance between zero copies sold and like not zero copies sold and that’s basically it. Right? And it sold like 20 copies in the first month.
And I thought that was cool. I was actually excited. I was like, 20 people bought my book and it was for 99 cents and it was, you know, whatever. Who cares? I just wanted to see if anybody would even. Read it by the end of 2012, it was selling several thousand copies per month, and maybe it was 2 99 at that time, or maybe 4 99 or something, whatever.
And I was getting emails from people who liked it and had questions. I was getting reviews. A lot of good reviews, some negative reviews as well, that that were actually useful though, where people pointed out, Legitimate problems and things that could be improved. And so I saw an opportunity there to continue writing books and to get more meaningfully involved in the fitness industry, which wasn’t my plan initially.
I actually wanted to write fiction more than I wanted to write fitness, and I wanted to build a publishing company more than I wanted to build a fitness company. But I saw the opportunity and I figured that while there are many things I don’t like about the fitness industry, and I mean just start with.
It’s unhealthy to be too obsessed with your body. It just is like, just, I mean, start there. Right? And, and this is something that I have to remind myself of, right? I mean, I put a lot of time into my body and looking a certain way, and that’s fine. But if that gets outta control, I. It kind of warps your personality, right?
And so that doesn’t resonate with me, really. It doesn’t. Of course, I do what I do partially because of vanity. All of us, anybody who works out, who says otherwise is lying. But I’m not so obsessed with myself and my body that I’m naturally drawn to, like, oh, I just wanna sit in the mirror and flex for like two hours straight every day.
You know, it just, not really my personality, but I was like, okay, if, if I can get into the fitness space and do it, In a way that is meaningful to me. And that means like educating people, helping people get into shape. If I can get directly to those people and not have to go via publications and play the bullshit game of schmoozing people and waste time networking to try to like beg to get some exposure, if I can kind of do an end run around all of that, then I’m interested.
That sounds like fun to me. Okay. And so that’s why I decided to go. All in on it and write more books, start Muscle for Life, which was really just a glorified blog at that point, and write a couple long form articles per week, eventually started the podcast. And so my point with saying all that is my focus from the beginning has been content marketing, inbound marketing.
And I would say though, what’s funny is. I’ve done well at that game. But as far as building a business goes, that is not a very efficient way to produce numbers. Like if we’re just looking at it in terms of revenue, a much faster and more effective way to build a big top line and bottom line depends on what you’re doing and you know, if you have investors are, you’re just burning cash.
We doing. But regardless is, I would say it’s actually, it’s in. Branding and advertising, which can be complete bullshit, right? So you can make shit products and you can make no content, you can help nobody. But if you are either working with some real top flight branders, or if you just really understand the power of branding, and there’s a lot that goes into branding.
It’s not just how the products look, but it’s the whole package. If you’re very good at that. And you’re very good at advertising. You can produce extraordinary results very quickly. And if you can prove yourself online, if you can prove that your idea has legs, you can then leverage that fairly quickly into retail, if that fits the whatever we’re talking about here.
For example, Legion has gotten as far as has gotten with no retail whatsoever. Now, that’s a mistake. I should have gotten into retail a long time ago. We’re doing it now and it’s fine. It’s just normally. You would not wait for your e-commerce brand to get to, you know, a decent eight figure revenue target before you get into a single store like it’s right.
And so anyways, the reason I say that is it’s just kind of funny to look now back at again. I, I feel like I built a couple of businesses the hard way, so to speak. However it worked, but it also, there’s a big advantage in that. What we have now, and it’s not just me, I can’t take all the credit. There are, there’s 35 of us and so I, I, I don’t mean to say that I’m the only person.
What we have though now is very resilient and there are a lot of metrics that are very, very good in terms of customer retention and lifetime value and. Just engagement with people and a lot of people have appreciated, and it sounds like this is something that, that has made an impression on. You have appreciated the work that goes into what it takes to do it via content marketing versus spending a bunch of money on very slick branding, very slick advertising and just, you know, straight shot to whatever, millions of dollars a year in sales.
But it’s very hollow for somebody who’s a bit more sophisticated and sees through it, you know. Yeah, because I mean, if you
Nicholas: look at what you’re talking about, you own the distribution channel, right? Like you say, uh, may you know there’s easiers ways to do it, or, or maybe I could have done it differently, but at the end of the day, you’re directly to the consumer and you’ve got the relationship with your consumers.
You own that distribution
Mike: channel. What I’ve also, that’s the power of email marketing in particular, just to emphasize that it is not dead no matter what anybody says. I mean, we make millions and millions of dollars a year from just emails.
If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world.
Nicholas: So when you look at creating content, are there certain things that you’re like, Hey, we’re gonna put out this many, you know, long form letters a week, this many podcasts.
Are you cross utilizing a lot of that information? Like, help me understand kind of your big picture strategy. If somebody, let’s just say he’s a one man band. I don’t know, he’s, he’s selling. Skateboards or, or whatever it is he wants to sell, right? Supplements, and he’s sitting in his office, he’s like, okay, I’m gonna do this via content marketing.
What’s kind of a big strategy picture that you could say to him? Hey, do X, Y, and Z on a weekly basis. Yep. And it’s gonna get some legs, like just understand it’s gonna get legs. Because I think oftentimes what people run into from a frustration standpoint is, and this has to do with social media, right?
Mike: Like, I made the post, where’s the money? Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re trying
Nicholas: to do something and, and you got two likes and the dude down the street, He’s got 20,000 likes and you know that dude’s a bozo.
Mike: Yeah. Like, yeah, like he’s
Nicholas: selling snake oil, which is a compliment to you with Legion. The one thing that’s interesting is you’re creating a premium product with quote unquote premium pricing.
If we’re just being completely honest. A hundred percent yeah. Against. A lot of other supplements, which may or may not be good, but the general public doesn’t know that. Like they don’t know. They’re looking at, Hey, why would I pay? Yeah, you know, five or seven more dollars for this thing versus this other thing.
Like, they don’t have any idea. Do you know what I mean? So, totally from your perspective, what are the marketing strategies or advice that you’d give somebody to say, Hey, do these things. You’ll create that relationship, you’ll get legs, just give it some
Mike: time. Totally. Yeah. So as far as content marketing goes, just to answer your first question, so yeah, there are pretty robust systems in place.
And again, it’s not just me. I have a team of people who help. And so for example, over on the blog, I am, I believe right now we have me going up once a week or once every other week. And then there are articles going up from other people under their names, right? So I have a team of, of people, it’s not just me and.
The reason why my frequency isn’t as high as it used to be is I just am have, I only can spin so many plates and Right. I still wanna maintain a presence on the blog. I also do like the work, but strategically speaking, it’s not as important now that I, when I have other people who are capable of producing great content, well-written, well-researched, and I was able to delegate some of that, but I didn’t wanna walk away from the blog because, I mean, there’s a little bit of maybe emotionality in it and that I, again, I enjoy it, but there is something to be said though that I still am there doing it and I haven’t just walked away from it because I don’t have to do that anymore.
You know what I mean? I don’t, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna write articles anymore. Well, actually I kind of do because I’m able to also then to your point of repurposing, so what I can do at those articles is turn them into podcasts. I don’t read them word for word per se, but I’ll go through them and go through the information, cuz many people would prefer to listen to me.
It’s almost like an audiobook experience versus re. Reading it, right? Yeah. And what my podcast is, I’m pretty happy with its performance given that it’s just a thing I do, you know, I, I don’t give it more than probably six hours per week at most. And in terms of plays, so I’m on, uh, I’m on Anchor and it was at like 700,000 a month on Anchor and probably another a hundred thousand a month on YouTube.
Then anchor, like updated their. The, the software that they use to validate plays and, and then the plays apparently actually have been more like 400,000 a month or something. It didn’t change in terms of rankings, they were just saying, yeah, yeah, you thought you were getting that, but it was actually, I’m like, fine, whatever.
But, but it cruises in the top 10 to 15 fitness podcast and iTunes, which is cool. So it’s worth the time in terms of I am reaching enough people to warrant the opportunity cost, which has been something that I’ve had to be more and more cognizant of as things have grown. I can’t. Quote unquote, unfortunately, afford to be as not thoughtless, but to be I, I do have to pay attention to.
My time more closely than, than previously when it didn’t matter as much. I, I could justify taking swings on things because I didn’t have anything else that is clearly better that I can go put my effort into. And now that’s just not the case. So I do have to continually justify what am I doing and does it make sense that I’m doing this?
Should I really be doing this? What’s my overall objective here? Right. And the podcast definitely still makes sense. And so I can repurpose articles to podcasts. I can repurpose articles to social media posts, captions, which I mostly use my social media for education anyway, so I have a photographer who comes with me to the gym a few times a week.
We get footage and pictures and things, and then I can. You know, spin together some social media stuff that way. And I also repurpose some of those articles into emails. So I’m getting a lot out of that work. And that also flows in other ways too, where something might start as an email and then turn into a social media post, or turn into an article.
Something might start as a podcast like q and a, for example, where I get asked an interesting question and I’m like, oh, I’ll tackle that on the podcast. And then though, I’ll take the outline that I’ve put together or that, that somebody who works with me has helped put together for whatever. It is that I’m gonna say and then turn that into an email or pass it off to the content team to turn it into an article.
And that’s something that I am always looking for more efficiencies and more output from my input. Not because I, uh, am afraid of work, not at all. But the thing with work is, right, there’s this quantitative aspect of I can only exert so much effort, like that’s it. And I can only be so focused. And there’s a little bit of qualitative there.
So, You know, let’s say it’s high quality work, I’m focused on it. Maybe it’s even deep work to use Cal Newport’s term. I can only do so much of that, right? So how do I though take each UR of effort that I’m putting out here and get the most return on it, right? And so that also, I, I should mention that my work on the blog and on the podcast, on the emails, on social media, Also informs my writing of books where I’ll take stuff and work it into books.
It’s not just like, okay, copy paste, but yeah, you know, take ideas. Okay, I could put that in this. I’m always working on the next book, and then sometimes the book material will then drive. I’m like, oh, this. This chap, half of this chapter, or maybe a third of this chapter, would actually make a nice article or make a good email.
And so cross pollination is a big part of what I do, in particular because I have my hands in many different things and I’m trying to make as many of those connections as possible. So to answer that first, I don’t know if you wanna follow up with anything on that before I talk about
Nicholas: the one thing that.
As you talked about that, something that came to my mind is, and it kind of goes back to your previous comment about branding. So you create a ton of content, your team creates some content. Legion is the actual brand. But do you think from what you produce, do you think that people are more attracted, inclined to do business with Legion because they feel like they have a relationship with Mike, or do you think that Legion’s brand could stand on its own for.
Not to be callous, but for lack of a better term, if you got hit by a bus tomorrow, could Legion still stand or is it more of of a
Mike: Mike Matthews brand? Yeah. Is it Mike Matthews supplements or not? Yeah. Yeah, it’s a good question. So I know for a fact that one of the major reasons many people buy is because they have come across me in some capacity and they’ve liked what they’ve seen and trust me, to some degree.
Yeah, that could be books, it could be any of the things I’ve mentioned. So that’s certainly a big factor. However, at this point, Legion. Is certainly a brand unto itself and there are a fair amount of people, especially from Amazon, where everything’s a commodity. You know, they just find legions protein on Amazon, like, oh, it looks nice.
They try it and they’re like, oh wow, this is really good. And then they’re inclined to like actually check out the company. So it goes both ways. I’m not sure in terms of, I’d have to actually like go digging into data to give you, uh, maybe a, an estimate of like, oh, 60% this and 40% that. Yeah. I’m not entirely sure, but it is a bit of both.
And one of the nice things about content marketing is if I go get Pancaked that the work that I’ve done lives on, I mean, like, yeah, you know, I sold about 220,000 books last year and that’s not like, it’s not like I’m in Amazon’s machine. Pushing the make sales button. Um, I have systems in place and I have people who work on that, and they’re always pushing more ads and doing all kinds of things.
And the articles that I’ve written, you know, they live on in Google and we work with, uh, Neil Patel’s firm, which I would highly recommend for, for, we, we work with his SEO team in particular, and I mean, full disclosure, also a friend, but. His team is really good and I’m really happy with the results they’ve been getting on the SEO front, and so the articles that I’ve written years ago now, we also do a good job updating articles, so that’s part of our strategy.
We have new content and to you had asked this, so we have a very specific schedule. It involves a certain number of new articles per week, a certain number of updates per week, and how we choose the new and the updates is not complicated. Actually, you could learn probably all of this stuff over at Neil’s website like he has.
A trillion articles, and it’s a lot of really good information and it’s the basics, and that really is, most of it’s like fitness, right? Most of the gains you’re gonna make really just come from the fundamentals, not the fringes. Understanding energy, balance and macronutrient, balance and volume and progressive overload, intensity and so forth, and all the fancy stuff.
Yeah, maybe it does things here and there, but. I’ve really tried to focus well on just executing the fundamentals. So, you know, as far as legion’s brand goes, there is certainly a key man risk. If we’re talking about, like if I was talking to a VC or a PE guy, right? And that’s true, but we are mitigating that and there’s some simple strategic things we’re gonna do as well.
We’re bringing in some other. It needs to be the right people. They need to be a really good brand fit, but the more celebritized individuals I have, so long as they fit the brand associated with the brand, the more I can say that it’s not just Mike Matthews supplements, you know? Yeah, that totally
Nicholas: makes sense.
Going back to your comment about, I. Marketing Neil Patel’s website, is that kind of where you get most of your marketing knowledge is from books and articles? Cause I’ve heard you talk about in the past, kind of bagging on it, if you will, masterminds, and I don’t know if you’ve actually mentioned business consultants and things like that, but I’m curious like where do you gather most of your knowledge and information?
Is it from close acquaintances or is it books and
Mike: and websites? So it’s mostly books. I enjoy books. The most Articles can be okay as well. It just depends. They’re hit and miss. And so with books, how I actually go about it, I mean, I won’t go into, I’ve recorded a, a podcast actually on the whole system that I have for choosing books and whatever, but something that I think is just a quick tip that has served me well, and particularly with business books, self-help books, which I really don’t read much of anymore, just.
Too many ideas where it’s just the same thing. It’s like incest. Yeah. And I’m like, I’ve heard this many times before, but marketing books, et cetera, is I, if I first find a book summary, so I check like Blankest, insta, read, get abstract, short form. There are one or two others, and I’ll read the summary first.
And if I haven’t made any highlights and if the summary doesn’t have me wanting to read the book. I don’t read the book, even if I’m still enticed to read the book because you know, there might be one good idea in there. There’s an opportunity cost. We’re only gonna be able to read so many books in our lifetime period.
And so I don’t wanna make it more serious than it needs to be. But the fact is, if you waste time reading a book that like gives you a maybe a few halfway decent ideas when you could have been reading something that is really the book that you know it’s gonna give you, especially if you’re an entrepreneur and you have a going concern, there is.
Value in ideas if you can also execute them, right? I mean, you might get that idea that is your next million dollars in revenue just because you read the right book, and you might never get that idea if you didn’t read it right. So I’ll go to the summaries first, and if there are no summaries, I’ll try to find some sort of review online.
I just wanna get an idea of what’s in this book and. It’s obviously there’s a bit of an intuition involved of like, okay, so given what I’m looking for, where I’m at, what I know, what I don’t know, but at least I’m aware, I don’t know. And then, you know, there are unfortunately also the unknown unknowns, the things I don’t know that I have no awareness of.
Is this a book I should read now? And I have a genre. Rotations, personal and and work. And I flip between them. So I’ll read one or two on my personal genre rotation, and then I’ll move over to my work and read one or two and then move to the next one down the next one down. So I force myself to read broadly, essentially, and not get too pigeonholed, or I’ll just end up reading nothing but like.
History books and conspiracy books or something. You know, I, I work through it and I always find something that I’m interested in, uh, in that fits the genre. But as far as marketing goes, there is a lot of good information out there though, and some resources that I’d recommend outside of books, and I can share a few books as well, but would be Neil Patel’s site.
Backlinko is a great resource for SEO stuff in particular. Digital marketer has some decent stuff. I think Ryan Deice has voice problems, like he just doesn’t connect, at least with me, Uhhuh, even though he has a good team and I like some of the things he’s doing, there’s just something off about the voice and the brand that doesn’t make me really want to give him any money, and I wouldn’t wanna hire his company for anything, but he does have some good information.
Yeah. And yeah, so those are some free resources. Again, Neil is a really outstanding resource because I mean, The amount of information really, that you can find on his website and on his YouTube channel, uh, is outstanding. And what also is cool about Neil is he walks the walk like this isn’t just him swiping other people’s articles and talking about things that he has no experience in.
He’s been in this game for a long time. I don’t, I don’t wanna make this a big pitch about Neil, but I just, I, I do think it’s worth mentioning that I know firsthand because I know from the inside his business and his other businesses that he’s had and what he’s done, he’s. Personally been involved and also outside of his own businesses.
He has been invested in many, many businesses. He’s seen a lot and he has been involved in a lot, and that gives you a unique advantage when you’re creating content. And even though he has a team who works with him, of course, but he’s able to again, lend it that. Firsthand like this actually does work. You know what I mean?
Yeah. As opposed to things where you’ve never done it yourself. You don’t really know if it works, but you’re making it sound like it works. So yeah. So there’s that. And as far as books go, there are many good books. Um, some ones that I actually have ’em on a spreadsheet because I get asked this fairly often and I just kind of copy and paste and say, Hey, here are some books that I’ve read in the last.
I don’t know, decade or so that have stood out to me as useful. There’s scientific advertising by Claude Hopkins, a classic, simple, short, I think everybody should read it. It’s not gonna blow your mind, but it has good information. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. A lot of good information there.
Influence and Persuasion by Cini. Positioning by Reese Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz. Although that’s a bit of a sophisticated book, I wouldn’t say that’s for necessarily for newbies Tested advertising methods. Robert Collier Letters book again, classics, how to Write a good Advertising, a Advertisement.
I believe Victor Schwab, I think was his name, recommended Highly The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy, as well as Dan Kennedy’s other stuff. Uh, very good. And then Joe Sugarman’s stuff. Triggers was good. And. Again, this is kind of a list I just cobbled together and I probably should refine it now that I’m saying these things, but it’s not a bad, like I, if people were to read those books, I would say that they certainly now have come across enough of the fundamentals and enough information, and even the tactics to effectively sell something.
So, Content marketing.
Nicholas: I mean, it’s fairly new, right? Like we’re talking like within the past 10 years, you know, probably it’s really ramped up the past few years. But one of the things you hear a lot is the imposter syndrome. Just being a little hesitant, even though if like you internally know that you really know your stuff, just being hesitant to throw it out there, just waiting for somebody to like come after you.
Do you suffer from that at all or have you,
Mike: or do you currently. Not much. And I would say though, maybe that’s, there’s a bit of my personality, not that I’m an egomaniac, but I’m not a very fearful person in about anything. I mean, maybe even to a fault, honestly. And so that’s not entirely, I don’t worry, like I’m not a worrier.
I am. Very detail-oriented, certainly to a fault, and maybe even a bit paranoid in terms of, but I would argue that it’s a bit good though, actually. Yeah. I mean the founder of Intel, I think it was the founder, no, c e o, former C E O. Uh, he has a book, only the Paranoid Survive, I believe it’s called. And it’s a good book.
It’s a good business book. And he is explaining about, you know, you kind of have to be a bit paranoid and how that plays out in business and why you always have to be looking to where you’re going next and where your weaknesses are and what could go wrong. And you never want to just kind of phone it in or try to walk it through, right?
So that’s probably one reason why I haven’t suffered much from that. And then there’s also though, I think there’s something to be said for, and this is advice that I have for people regarding that is, One, make sure you actually do know what you’re talking about. Like don’t bullshit yourself. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, then maybe you should go find out.
Yeah, maybe you should go read and do. Let’s start there. So you actually do have something to share and it’s not something you’ve just copy and pasted from somebody else. Right now I’m all for swipe. I understand that is like marketing is mostly just stealing other people’s ideas and. Putting ’em all together in a new way.
And that’s creativity, period. And that’s art. And I understand that if it’s one person, it’s unacceptable. If you stole from 20, it’s, hey, that’s research, right? Yeah. That’s the difference between plagiarism and researching, right? So I get that. I get that and, and I do that all the time. I’ll come across random things in other industries where I’m like, oh, that’s clever.
I’m gonna do a fitness spin on that notion. Yeah. But so there’s that point of actually understanding, making sure you do know what you’re talking about and you do have something to share. And then what I try to do, and I think I’ve done a good job, is. Sticking to the things I know and being willing to say, I don’t know.
If I don’t know, then I’m not gonna pretend like I know. And that also has helped me not have to deal much with imposter syndrome. Um, although I can relate to it where sometimes I will be talking about something where I’m like, it’s not that I don’t quote unquote, just don’t know what I’m talking about, but I question how much do I really know?
Almost you get into like this. Conan spiral of what do I really know? Yeah. But, but no, no. Like if I had to make a bet, like how much money am I willing to bet that I’m right on this? But then there’s also just weighing where if I, I have a certain standard I guess I’m shooting for in terms of certainty.
And, and also what are the stakes, right? If this is a low stakes thing, then I’m not actually concerned. I’ll share an opinion and maybe I’ll even preface it with, I’m not too sure about this, this is my opinion, but if it’s a higher stakes thing, like for example, if it’s involving other people’s health, let’s say it’s a supplement recommendation, no, I’m gonna wanna be really certain that I know what I’m talking about or anything related to like what people are gonna be doing with their bodies.
And so I get asked questions all the time. That honest answer is. I’m not sure. I’m not sure. I haven’t looked into it enough to make a, a recommendation and I’ll try to point them to a good resource. Now, I mostly, I’m getting asked a lot of questions that I am able to help with because most of the people who find me are not advanced like bodybuilders, you know what I mean?
Or advanced triathletes or something. And so, you know, those are my thoughts on imposter syndrome and how I’ve dealt with it. Interesting. Mike,
Nicholas: this has been an awesome conversation. Like I’ve said, I’ve followed you for your content for probably five years in, in the. Health and fitness space. This is just something that I’m just naturally kind of, kind of like.
I’ve read a lot of, well, I think I’ve read three year books, bigger leaders, stronger, uh, bigger Lean or Stronger, 1.0, 2.0. Little black Book of Motivation, like I’ve read it all right? But as much as that’s helped me, like from my audience’s perspective, like they have to understand the information that you’ve provided has helped me become a quote unquote amateur lifestyle bodybuilder.
Do you know what I mean? Yeah. Like I’m a little bit of an amateur gym rat, but from a business perspective, as I followed you, I’m like, man, this is super impressive. Like I really enjoy kind of the way that, that you lay content out and things like that. So, If people want to follow you, if they want information on how to become, you know, healthier, lose weight, gain muscle, you know, bigger, lean or stronger, if you will, what’s the best way for them to connect
Mike: with you?
I would say probably email, honestly, Mike. Oh, really? Like to directly connect Mike at Muscle for Life, muscle for our Life. I just kept that email even though the website got rolled into Legion. It was out there so much. I was like, I’ll keep the email [email protected] It might take me, you know, a week or so to get back, but that’s the most reliable way.
Instagram dms are a bit temperamental. Sometimes they work. Yeah, well sometimes they don’t. Although that’s another way. Muscle for life fitness and yeah, so for directly connecting. And then otherwise, my hub is just legion athletics.com and I, you know, I realized, let me just quickly make a comment here before we wrap up.
That I don’t wanna leave people hanging with is what? Where do I recommend people start with content marketing? I got off on a tangent and didn’t actually even answer the question, but it’s a quick answer if you have a minute, and it’s just, I would say start with what you enjoy doing, what you can consistently do.
Similar to training, right? So like if you have the most scientifically optimal diets are the most scientifically optimal training program, but you don’t like it and you can’t consistently follow it, and you kind of just dread every meal or every workout. It’s not for you. Yeah. Even if what is for you is something that is less quote unquote optimal or efficient, it doesn’t matter because fitness is forever.
We’re, we’re playing the long game here, and you can get there. Let’s say you could reach your goals in three years. Maybe it doesn’t take three years, Mr. An example, with the most optimized programs that you’re gonna hate, you’re gonna hate the entire process, or you can get there and. Four years or five years and kind of have a good time and enjoy it.
It’s, it’s a no-brainer, right? So similar with content production, I would say start with what you enjoy doing and what you’re drawn to. Don’t try to force yourself to write, for example, don’t try to force yourself to make YouTube videos. I don’t like YouTube videos, for example. I mean, I may end up doing it, so I may break breaking my own advice and see how it goes, but I’m not drawn to it.
I’m just not. I would much rather just sit and work on an article all day than like sit in a. Studio, figuring out a YouTube video, uh, or in the gym or whatever. Again, I still may end up doing a bit more of it this year or next, but I would say especially if you’re new to content marketing, you have different options.
You can speak, so you have a podcast as an option. You can write if you want to write, but again, I would say, The really the reason to write is if you enjoy at least some of the process and at least enjoy having wri kind of like working out, right? We’re not gonna always enjoy every workout. It just doesn’t happen.
But we’ll always enjoy having worked out, and that’s enough for us to push through the shitty workouts and do it anyway. So I’d say very similar with writing. It’s not always fun, but if you really don’t like it, then I would say don’t do it. So find that. Find what is your medium that really resonates with you.
And then also I’d say there’s some work to be done on, on making sure that you have something that is. Either educational or entertaining or, I mean, those really the two main things, right? You can educate people or you can entertain. I feel like there might be a common third. I’m just, it’s just not coming to me.
But you need to make sure that one, you can actually do that, and two that. There’s gonna be something at least a little bit different about your content versus somebody else’s, and that may just be your personality and that’s great. Or in fitness, that may be your physique, and that’s great too. So that is just something also to keep in mind in terms of choosing the, maybe the highest probability path to content creation success.
And there is a bit of self-awareness that that. In like the opposite of magical thinking that that is involved in that, where instead of just like envisioning yourself as this YouTube superstar, right? And oh, that just sounds so cool and, uh, have all these subscribers. But then if objectively speaking, let’s say this person is not good looking, doesn’t have, let’s say it’s fitness, right?
Not good looking, doesn’t have a good physique, really, and that’s it. Right? Then YouTube is probably not, that’s probably not gonna work. Yeah. That’s not, that’s not to knock, let’s say like, oh. Cause I think I’m good looking. I mean, I don’t, I don’t even know what my YouTube subscribers, I don’t even pay attention to it.
So I don’t know, maybe I’m not good enough for YouTube, but I’m just making a point there, right? That again, it’s looking at what resources do you have individually and what are you drawn to, and how do you kind of use a bit of the alchemy of marketing to make that work. But you do have to have some of that recipe there.
It can’t be forced. And I see a lot of that, a lot of forced stuff and a lot of also just. Laziness of just like literally copy and pasting other people’s Instagram captions or, or emails or articles like, come on, that’s not sustainable, that that is such short-termism. If we’re talking about really building a long-term brand and a real business, right?
You have to have something unique or something interesting to say, and. To just quickly comment on emails that I write and I, I write all of those and I don’t know if I’ll ever be, maybe there’s someone out there, there’s probably, there are probably copywriters out there who could really kind of get my voice, but it is a bit different certainly than like, some people are confused, right?
Because they’re like, wait a minute, this is a supplement company. And what does he, what does he just say? Like, what did he say? What, what is this? This is the wildest, I’ve had people reply like, this is the. Strangest, but also most compelling marketing email I’ve ever read. I don’t know what to think.
Nicholas: We didn’t really get into that in the episode, but I’m the same way.
Like, I’ll get your emails and I’ll just kind of be scanned through it, and then I’m like, wait, hold on. Like
Mike: what did he, what did he just say? And it’s just like this random,
Nicholas: crazy high, um, vocabulary like phrase. And I’m just, And like I’m processing it and I’m like, that is so not standard marketing material, but it freaking works.
It’s cra it’s, it’s
Mike: entertaining, but it’s crazy. And to that point, and that is the reason why I do it. I mean, honestly I have a lot of fun with those. Uh, cause I like creative. Like I really, in my next life I will write fiction and I’m drawn to, I like creative activities and I like the creative writing.
So I like getting into a, kinda like a wacky frame of mind and just coming up with, but also tying it into some basic, There is a little bit of method to the madness, obviously, and it not I, I’m not completely off the wall, although sometimes I get myself in trouble and I say things that tick some people off.
I’ve gotten better with that though. My judgment’s gotten better. But to that point, that is though intentional in that I’m trying to cultivate a personality and it is my personality to, I’m not as maybe. Articulate, and I’m not as clever on the fly sitting here on a podcast as you know, when I’ve, when I’ve like written three drafts of an email or something.
But there is a bit of me in there, and I know objectively, and this is not to talk myself up, I know that there are a lot of people who find it funny and they find it interesting. There are a lot of people who don’t, and that’s fine. You can’t please everyone. Correct. But that’s why I, I take the time to do that, where I see that as from a brand perspective, a strength, and again, looking at myself.
What am I good at? What am I not good at? What characteristics do I have that I can leverage to be more successful? Or just talking about in business and what stuff should I stay away from? Cause it’s really just not me. I’m just not like, you know, it would be totally fake and I, I wouldn’t really be good at it.
Or, or it just doesn’t jive with my personality. And so I, you know, I’ve, that’s one of the things that I’ve kind of isolated is I see a lot of engagement with. When I show a bit of my personality and have a bit of fun with, it’s not just emails, it’s on social media as well, and really that also just that comes of course, because I’m also a consumer of content and a consumer of things to some degree.
I’m not a huge consumer of things, but I know firsthand like, okay, when. I know what it’s like when you get that, when you find someone where you’re like, this person, I just like the way they think. I like the what, the things they say, and you look forward to opening their emails. Another good example of that for people if they want to get an idea.
I don’t think he, in my opinion, he thinks he’s better than he is at it, but he’s good at it and his name is Ben Settle. So if you go to ben settle.com, get on his email list and you’ll see what I mean. It’s very similar. He like emails every day and he has a little publishing business that does well. I am sure he does like seven figures in revenue and it’s probably all profit.
So he, he has a nice lifestyle business and he has a bit of a personality. And he’s a bit prude for my tastes, and I would do things a little bit differently, but hey, he can prove it with real numbers, real results. And it is very much about cultivating a real relationship with your subscribers and showing your personality and not trying to just sound like, you know, a faceless corporation that is, has been completely sterilized of anything that might.
Rub someone the wrong way. Yeah. No matter how, you know, extreme they are, no matter how many colors their hair are, whatever, you know. So,
Nicholas: Mike, this has been great, man. I appreciate your time. Again, if you guys want to connect with Mike from a health and fitness perspective, absolutely. I don’t think there’s anybody better out there and, and I’ve searched and, and I actually follow quite a, quite a few people, so connect with him at Mic Muscle for life.com.
You can also find him on Instagram. There’s, he’s got tons of. Tons of, I I guess they’re not selfies, right? They’re photo
Mike: the Now I’ve op, I’ve upgraded. Yeah. I, I got sick of, I actually just got sick of the selfies. I can’t take another selfie, I just don’t wanna do it. So that’s, now I have better shots.
Nicholas: Awesome. Well, thanks again, Mike, for your time. We really appreciate it. Everybody, thanks for, uh, your time. Thanks for listening. We will see you next time and, and until then, go out there and create the wealth and the lifestyle you
Mike: deserve. See ya. All right. Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful.
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That is the best way to get ahold of me, mike muscle life.com. And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.