Marketers and owners who want more, think they need to do more.
- Want more traffic? Create] more content.
- Want more sales? Introduce more products.
- Want more fans? Be on more social media networks.
Thing is, a lot of the brands that have the highest impact achieve their success through doing less.
Having less allows you to act with more focus. It allows you to perfect your approach and squeeze every last drop of growth and revenue from your existing assets.
And one of the best examples I’ve seen of this is Chris Von Wilpert and his Content Mavericks brand.
Chris is known as one of the most effective content marketers today.
Not in terms of generating lots of content, but in terms of generating results from content.
And what I love about his approach is that it allows you to get real results from comparatively little content.
A quick caveat
Before I get into the details I should mention that I’m a huge fan of Chris’s work.
I’ve paid for his content training program (which you can find here), have worked with him as an affiliate for that program, and exchanged multiple messages with him.
In fact, this very newsletter was launched thanks to the systems I learned from his program. We hit $1000 MRR within 6 weeks of launching and, as a result, you’ll find my mug on his reviews page.
Between his courses and the free content on the Content Mavericks’ site, Chris shares a tonne of free value.
So, I’m not going to simply rehash what Chris has said on his site, nor am I going to give away his “secret sauce”.
What I am going to do is offer a little insight into the freely available tips he provides, map out the journey, and explain why it all works so well.
What is Content Mavericks?
Content Mavericks is a content marketing agency and information product producer. When it comes to content, their primary focus isn’t on creation, but rather distribution.
For Chris and crew, it’s not a game of endless publication schedules and churning out new pieces.
It’s about finding one or two high impact topics, creating an incredible piece of content, and promoting it well.
Of course, there is more nuance to it than this which I’ll get into. But, that’s the core.
And this process has served Chris and his clients very, very well.
He’s used his “less content, more traffic” approach to help various big content focused brands increase traffic. On his site he has emails and social proof from brands including
- Sumo.com (Where Chris then helped outline their SEO strategy)
But Chris’s approach hasn’t just worked to bring in high-ticket clients.
It’s helped him scale his course business into one of the most respected in the industry.
Chris is one of those rare marketers who practices what he preaches and lives the results he promises.
These brands all approached him based on the content he was producing.
In short, Chris’s approach to content marketing is turning heads and has helped propel Content Mavericks to the top of many brands’ list of “most wanted service providers”.
So let’s look at what it takes to put it together yourself.
The problem the Content Mavericks approach solves
Back in the day, SEO was a game of production.
Produce more content and stuff it with as many keywords as possible for success.
As algorithms have become more intelligent, SEO has become a game of topic trust and reputation.
The most talked about, utilised, and effective methods for improving organic rankings is a combination of…
- The Hub and Spoke model to ensure you have topic authority (covered in more detail in the Ahref’s study)
2. Generating backlinks from high domain sites to prove your content is valuable and trustworthy
Backlinks from high authority sites have more impact on your site’s ranking.
If you write a lot about a topic, you’re more likely to rank for searches related to that topic.
If other high trust sites quote your work and link to it, you’re seen as providing trustworthy content.
Which mean your stuff ranks higher.
Here’s the problem though.
To do this effectively you need…
- To produce a lot of content so you can hit the various stages of purchase intent and awareness around your topic
- To craft linkable assets for each piece to generate backlinks
- To conduct manual outreach to generate backlinks from high DA sites
- Continually optimise content and processes so your brand is offering relevant and timely advice and information
It’s a huge amount of work. And to do all of it well, you need one of two things.
- A huge team
- A huge amount of time
Most brands don’t have the resources available to compete.
Which is why the top spot for most of the generic seed keyword searches are dominated by large brands that have…
- An established domain authority
- Huge available resources (money or staffing)
- A reputation that creates backlinks based on little more than the name
Take a look at this generic seed keyword search for “best marketing tools” (edited to remove the paid ads).
The snippet is from HubSpot.
- The #1 is Neil Patel.
- #2 is HubSpot again.
- #4 is Sprout Social.
- #5 is Buffer.
All of which are huge tools and reputations in the space. They’ve been around for years and boast vast resources.
if I’m being brutally honest, a lot of these top-ranked pieces aren’t exactly breakthrough value providers.
I’ve worked with more than one brand in that list above and it’s all heavily templated to ensure SEO success.
That content is less about solving a problem, and more about hitting specific tick boxes.
Which is great when you have the resources and the machine to keep doing these at scale.
But what if you don’t?
For small brands in industries that are competitive in SEO, it’s hard to break through the noise. You can copy the templates and approach and achieve only a fraction of the traffic because you can’t keep up with big brands’ output.
This is where the Content Mavericks’ system comes in.
The pain and trust approach to content
Most brands, regardless of size, try to emulate the HubSpot’s of the world – despite having no chance at going toe-to-toe with them.
They follow their advice and build a content-heavy approach around keywords.
They’ll jump into a tool and look at search terms with…
- High traffic
- Moderate competition
- High CPC
They use these to plan multiple articles on that topic and interlink them before waiting for 3-6 months to see how they’re doing.
And they’ll do this day-in, day-out.
It’s extremely tiring, and quiote passive when you’re waiting on Google to rank your stuff.
It’s an approach more focused on publishing new articles rather than getting results from content.
Content Mavericks take a more direct approach.
Content that targets pain points instead of keywords
Take a look at the below articles in their “most popular” section.
None of these are particularly SEO optimised pieces.
No one is searching for “the Ski Slope Strategy”. And you can see from the URLs that these pieces weren’t originally intended to rank for competitive keywords.
Most content marketers would say this is a waste of time. They’d explain how you need to build content that’s optimised for the Google algo.
Chris though, has taken a different approach and built his content around the key pain points people in his ideal audience are feeling.
The above 3 articles relate to and answer key problems and needs SEOs experience.
- Article #1 – Answers the problem of not having a good content calendar
- Article #2 – Answers the need to get real results with blog content
- Article #3 – Answers most brands’ lack of comprehensive content planning
Each article has a clear value prop within the headline.
- A free content calendar
- The system to make $100,000 / month
- Free website content template
Adding something like “How I made $100,000 / month” or “Free template” is a huge curiosity driver. It outlines, in super clear terms, the value of the piece.
And the value of each piece above is incredibly clear.
The headlines are focused on a pain, and immediately let the reader know what the benefit they’ll get for reading is.
- Pain – My content isn’t generating any real business results
- Benefit – Here’s the exact process I used to make $100,000 from a single piece of content
And because the value is tied intimately to a common pain point, the number of clicks these articles get will be higher than generic competitors.
It’s not hard to stand out when everyone else in the space is publishing things that are basically copies of one another as shown for this basic search on “what is copywriting”.
Chris’s approach is a masterclass in classic marketing concepts and product-market fit.
- Find an audience
- Identify their biggest pain point
- Provide a solution
He’s creating content for the end reader and their pain points, not the search engines that will rank the content.
Now, that might seem like he’s missing a trick in terms of organic rankings, but we’ll get onto why this isn’t an issue later on.
First, let’s look at the actual content.
Building trust with the content
So we’ve got an arresting, intriguing headline that gets the click.
But converting completely cold traffic to a customer is a difficult thing to achieve.
Most people need to have a certain level of trust in your brand before they’ll open their wallet. And that’s going to take multiple touchpoints of free value.
When you click through to Content Mavericks content, you’ll notice 2 things.
First, these pieces are long.
These articles aren’t a quick and dirty trick to grab email addresses or populate a pixel for retargeting.
They are in-depth explanations of how to achieve the key benefit and value promised in the headline.
They pretty much get the full answer on how to do it themselves from the piece – completely free of charge.
Here’s a quick peek at the table of contents piece on content optimisation.
Everything you’d need to optimise your content on your own is in this piece. It’s a simple “DIY” guide.
That’s step one.
Of course, traffic alone isn’t enough. We need leads from that traffic.
And so Chris has built the “next step” into the content itself.
At the start of every article, there’s a simple, small CTA to get a freebie.
These content upgrades are the next logical step. Both in terms of the “ask”, and also in the need of the reader (more on that later).
I love placing the initial CTA so high in the piece because around 50% of blog readers don’t scroll past the fold.
By placing it so high, you’re increasing the chance of people seeing it and of more people taking the action.
I also love how it’s the next logical step in terms of the fix your own problem.
The article is a DIY guide to doing the thing.
Chris then says “Here’s the tool to make actioning this DIY guide faster and easier”.
It’s still a DIY approach for the reader, but with the upgrade, it’s going to take a fraction of the time.
What Chris has done with the content and upgrade is simple.
- Answered a key pain point his target audience experiences
- Provided a free solution in the form of a DIY blog post
- Made actioning that DIY advice easier thanks to a content upgrade
Each stage is a logical progression from the former step. Each step further builds trust in his brand which makes it easier for him to sell his programs to them later down the line.
Simple, but highly effective.
How to drive traffic without relying on Google
So Chris has created an article that answers a specific pain point, and provided a lead generating content upgrade that makes actioning the free advice faster and easier.
The thing he’s missing is traffic.
The problem is, something like “Ski Slope Strategy” isn’t going to rank well when he’s competing with brands like HubSpot about optimising content.
The estimated traffic for that keyword is zero.
It almost feels like a waste.
You’ve got a great asset that genuinely solves a problem and builds trust.
You’ve crafted an incredible headline that piques curiosity.
Readers will wonder what the Ski-Slope strategy is.
And that curiosity is increased thanks to the claim that follows it…
“How I Made $100,000 Per Month (With A 5-Person Content Team)”.
It’s a great lead that falls back on traditional direct response copywriting approaches.
- A big claim – $100,000 / month
- Against common beliefs – Only 5 people
- A unique mechanism – The Ski-Slope strategy
But again, it’s not enough to generate traffic. And so, like many other articles of high quality that pique interest, this runs the risk of being consigned to the depths of Google’s page 2+.
Which means no traffic, no leads, no revenue.
Here’s the thing.
The article – from the headline offer to the actual content – is the perfect asset for paid traffic. I mean, I’ve seen ads that lead to sales pages with less targeting and fit than these pieces of content.
A lot of conversion-focused folk are probably reading this thinking that this is a waste of money to direct traffic to a blog post.
They’d be wrong.
The idea here isn’t to make quick sales, but to build brand awareness and trust.
Directing cold traffic to a regular sales page is the same as proposing on the first date.
It’s too much of a commitment on too fast a timeline. And an almost impossible sell if you’re selling a multi-thousand dollar product.
Directing people to free assets that solve their problem is a great way to build trust and recognition of your authority in the arena.
Especially if the “next step” opt-in gets them on your email list.
That means you’ll be able to grow the relationship and you’ll have an easier time promoting a $X000+ offer to them down the line.
When you look at the ads Content Mavericks are running, the majority are to blog posts on the CM blog. All of the ads in the below image are to content pieces – not sales pages.
They understand that selling a high-ticket consulting offer isn’t going to happen overnight.
So, direct people to an asset that gets them to trust you and opt-in to hear more. Build on that trust, and you’ll have them asking to work with you.
Let’s look at how Chris organises those in-content CTAs though.
Converting that traffic with relevant in-content offers
The scroll depth and engagement rate of content is different for every user.
Some people never scroll past the fold. Others will read an entire piece.
The Content Mavericks team have prepared for this and placed relevant CTAs in the places where intent to take action is highest.
They lead with a simple opt-in above the fold. This opt-in is something that reduces the friction of getting the end result the reader wants.
Later CTAs are generally at points where the user’s intent to take an action is high, or their concern for actioning the advice is high.
For example, the simple opt-in for an email address with a content upgrade is below.
With the above, it’s right after mentioning the extreme benefits this approach can provide.
Someone is going to read that and think, “wow, I wish I had the tools to action this”. Lo and behold, there’s a button you can click to get them right now.
Chris also pushes his services in these pieces as well.
It’s smart because these offers don’t come across as pushy.
They’re positioned in places where the user’s concern with actioning the advice is highest.
For example, in the example of hiring Chris’s team, it’s placed right after the explanation of “Green Circle Content” and the need for a base level of quality.
The reader thinking “I’m not sure I could do that” is then hit with the most perfect offer for that problem – a solution that enables them to take the action and get the result.
This yes ladder approach is key to converting cold traffic.
Dropping a new user on a long-form sales page is a huge ask that’s disproportionate to the user’s buy-in at that point.
Building the asks logically and sequentially is key to getting the result you want.
But if you’re worried that this approach is great for generating leads but not sales, I have something else for you.
Turning leads into customers
Content Mavericks’ paid promotions appear to focus primarily on getting people to their free content.
And the most logical CTAs on those pages are joining their list.
Leads are great, but sales are better.
Content Mavericks takes a 2-pronged approach to convert leads to customers.
First up is the tried and tested approach of email marketing.
Every so often the team sends an email sequence that promotes one of their premium programs or outlines some of their consulting offers.
These emails are very well written. They take a story-led approach and fall back on the tested direct response approaches.
In addition, there are a number of “social proof” ads in their ad account.
I’d be willing to be these are retargeting ads for people who have checked out the program and not yet bought.
Basically, once someone has opted in to get one of the content upgrades, the Content Mavericks team make sure that they stay top of mind.
Constant email marketing keeps the customer warm and continues to build the relationship and trust.
Retargeting ads across multiple platforms ensure their offers and deals are presented to the user whatever they’re doing.
The chance that Content Mavericks is one of the first considerations when a customer is ready to buy from them is now much higher.
What I particularly love here is how this all works, once again, to create a basic yes ladder.
Content Mavericks’ Yes Ladder
I’ve covered yes ladders before, most similarly with The Agora analysis I did.
The Agora don’t move people from ad to $49 offer.
The ad links to an advertorial.
The advertorial to a VSL.
The VSL to a sales page.
There are multiple trust-building steps before asking the all-important sales question.
At its core, Content Mavericks are taking the same approach.
But instead of an advertorial, they have a free piece of content.
Instead of a VSL, it’s a content upgrade.
And instead of a sales page, it’s an email sequence.
Each step is a relevant increase in “threat” from the prior level.
- The ad asks a question the ideal audience wants an answer to.
- The article provides the answer but poses a new question.
- Which the conversion asset provides the answer to.
It’s leading people by the nose through multiple steps. At each step, you gradually increase the “threat” of the ask.
And if you rework that yes ladder, you can see how the “burden” on the user is reduced related to their buy-in with the brand.
They move people from a DIY offer to a done for you (DFY) offer.
The article is completely free but requires you to do it yourself.
The content upgrade provides templates for DIY, and comes with the cost of an email opt-in.
The offers are either done with you, or done for you, and range from $3000 – $15,000.
As the burden of effort for the user is reduced, the cost increases.
And by leading users through each stage, you’re more likely to get the high rollers to the point where spending $15k / month on your DFY service isn’t a big ask.
One final element I think worthy of note is the late game amendments and boosters.
Chris now has a bunch of articles that are…
- Focused on a key pain point
- Proven to convert leads
- Build trust
The easiest way for him to scale is to simply increase the relevant traffic to these pieces.
If continuing on paid ads, he’d end up paying a king’s ransom in ad spend.
But at this point Chris has a couple of things to work in his favour…
- A growing reputation
- A library of great content AND proven conversion assets
- A reasonable sized audience on his email list who he’ll be able to use as to “seed” engagement of more competitive articles
Which means that he’ll find it much easier to see success with organic articles on more competitive topics.
And as you can see from his “New” pieces, that’s exactly what he’s done.
Hitting success with these pieces will be far easier now for Chris.
He has a base level domain authority and can also leverage his existing audience for high impact angles and initial promotions.
With this, he’ll be able to increase the overall traffic to his site and generate more leads and conversions through his tried-and-proven articles.
It’s most definitely a long way around to ranking organically.
But it’s a self funding method that’s far faster and easier for brands without the resources of full content teams.
You focus on a small handful of highly impactful articles and work on manually getting them in front of your audience over simply spamming your site with hundreds of long-tail variants.
Personally, I love it.
It goes back to a time when advertising wasn’t about throwing sub-par ideas out to see what stuck. But on doing research upfront to find the best potentials to run with.
And I think it proves there’s still a real need for this.
For brands who don’t have huge resource pools, taking a little time and effort upfront makes seeing initial traction faster, cheaper, and with less risk because the feedback loop is tighter.
The full Content Maverick’s growth model
If we break down their whole model, it looks a little something like this.
- Targeted at your ideal audience
- Focuses on pain and/or major benefit
Pain point article
- High value and offers whole solution for free
- Focused on achieving one key goal
Content upgrade for lead gen
- Make sure it is the logical next step / friction remover for the goal
- Promotional emails of your key offers
- Remarketing ads directing to primary sales page
A lot of marketers consider content to be its own thing. Its only purpose is to focus on keywords and bring in organic content.
They then run site-wide offers which (if we’re being honest) are weak and uncompelling.
Content isn’t something to generate traffic so you can populate a retargeting pixel or simply play the numbers game.
It should be an integral part of your marketing funnel. It should have defined stages both before and after that move the customer along the stages of awareness and built trust.
Most brands can’t play the “by the numbers” game of the huge players.
And so a more targeted approach that treats content almost as if it’s a long-form sales letter is the best way to get the best results from it.
And from what I’ve seen, Content Mavericks are one of the best in the game at this.
Be sure to check out the Content Mavericks site below.