Brian Clark is more than the guy who has started 12 businesses in the last 27 years (only the first business can be considered a failure). He is more than the pioneer of content marketing, now a $44 billion industry. He started Copyblogger in 2006 as a solo venture, which is now considered as one of the most powerful and influential websites by both Advertising Age and The Guardian. Brian also founded Rainmaker, an all-in-one online marketing and sales solution, popularized the whole concept of “Software As A Service” (SaaS) and is the curator of a very inspiring newsletter, “Further” for those in their midlife. Brian Clark is a man with many hats, but still he is more than all of that combined.
He is an inspiration to millions of writers out there, just like me, waking everyday in the morning with a sense of purpose, feeling tired from time to time yet pushing on our limits, finding new things everyday to learn about and experiment on, and most importantly he is a catalyst to our growth mindset. This post is a tribute to a man I’ve never known personally yet feel very close to, as close as deeming him as my trusted guide in the journey I’m undertaking currently as a content creator myself. This post was written when I discovered this:
Brian & His Happy Little Blog
Brian Clarke used to work as an attorney until he quit in 1998 to start building his first business -using only online infrastructure and digital marketing techniques. He quickly found out that slowly building an audience around a specific niche of content (later known as content marketing) is the next big thing in the internet, “as long as you sell something other than advertising”. Then in 2006, he started Copyblogger, an information portal about copywriting and content marketing thrown together to provide an understanding of the digital marketing world.
Copyblogger soon became the “bible of content marketing” (VentureBeat), with the unflinching focus on audience-focused content. In fact, when he first started Copyblogger, he didn’t even have any idea about his product offering. His only goal was to build an audience and then go from there. And boy, such a distance has it covered since the beginning! From just a one-man blog to an eight-figure media company eventually. The only reason for this, in Brian’s own words, is this:
“I built the audience at Copyblogger with the faith and understanding that I would identify problems and desires they have, and then I’d figure out what to make in order to satisfy those problems and desires.”Brian Clark on the EventualMillionaire podcast
If you ask me to cite only one reason for so much respect for Brian, it would be this dedicated approach that he follows to always focus on the audience first. Products and business plans are secondary, the customers are always primary. We learn this in top B-schools by paying top amounts and then forget to apply when the right time comes knocking. Brian doesn’t have to preach anything, or show us examples of him practicing this even. This is his philosophy of life, if I may say so; to understand the pain points of his customers, talking about them and always trying to find a solution for them.
Brian & Copyblogger Media
Publishing useful information but in a simple manner was always the number one priority for Brian. He began to attract huge audience because of consistent quality content of Copyblogger. He also learnt a lot of things in that process. Over the years, he began to figure out what people actually wanted to buy. It was no surprise when Brian eventually came with his own offerings of Software As A Service, web hosting services, WordPress themes and plugins and also a number of courses and conferences. The solo blog soon had full-time employees working. Copyblogger Media was born.
By 2010, Brian and his gang at Copyblogger merged several of the startups together that were born directly from that little blog, and called it the Rainmaker Platform. That means a shift was taking place from a mere SaaS to a bundled hybrid of technology and client services stringed together. Soon this became a simple, robust and affordable all-in-one online marketing and sales solution for all the content marketers out there.
Brian & His Teachings
I have followed Copyblogger since the days when I knew almost nothing about content writing. I used to visit his site because I really liked his voice. Brian Clark has an uncanny way of showing individual interest to each of his visitors. I forgot what it was that took me to his site (or maybe just don’t want to say it out loud) but I know I stayed because of his sense of sharing by caring. He himself said in an interview that, “Copyblogger was a complementary angle, if you will, to the larger blogging scene. So, therefore, I became friends with everyone instead of competing.”
From just another person who originally wanted to be a writer to a guy who found out he was an entrepreneur who can write also, Brian’s change of perception about himself brought many important lessons for each of us.
Brian Stepping Down as Copyblogger CEO
I was just casually browsing the net and had opened Copyblogger on Apr 5 to learn that Brian is stepping down as Copyblogger CEO. First I was somewhat shocked and already thought of many many words to write as a sort of personal farewell to him, thinking that we won’t be hearing from him on Copyblogger. But I’m happy that I was wrong.
Brian is now happily spearheading Digital Commerce Partners which helps digital businesses in almost every areas of their operation. Just like everything else he does, he puts himself in the client’s seat here as well, and is currently testing DCP on his other website, Unemployable.
It’s true that Copyblogger may have moved more from content to business side of things. If you want Brian’s bits of wisdom, you have to search the old articles there. He is directly speaking to the freelancers and entrepreneurs through his website, Unemployable. So visiting there is a must if you fall on that category. You can also subscribe to his midlife health, wealth and personal growth weekly newsletter, Further.
All the very best from ScribbleSquare for the rest of your journey, Brian. Hope you stay hyperactive just as before and continue to motivate each of us everyday.