These are my notes from all 6 lessons of the Next Level 7 Audio Course by Brian Clark.
Next Level 7 Lesson 1 – The Rise of 7-Figure Small
We no longer need a staff to achieve 7 figures.
Automation, data, outsourcing, the internet, and shifts in the general workforce have led to amazing increases in capacity, productivity, and innovation.
Direct response marketing:
- Audience (who you choose to serve)
- Offer (what they want to buy)
- Copy (how to best communicate)
it’s not about the money — it’s about designing your business for maximum leverage and freedom.
Step 1: understand that things are no longer the same in the world of blogging, podcasting, and content marketing in general.
Next Level 7 Lesson 2 – Moving Beyond Content Marketing
Content marketing = giving away valuable engaging information. Introduce offer, use copy to lead to sale.
You develop an audience by providing unique value to the “who” you’ve decided to serve.
We have lots of content on the internet, but less attention.
People are looking for curation — lists of what’s good to read, what’s good to buy — curated by humans rather than algorithms.
Thought: we know word-of-mouth is the strongest marketing.
Curators become trusted experts as much (or more) than those who create original content.
People are curating content and sharing through email newsletters and achieving success as well as becoming “trusted experts”.
Next Level 7 Lesson 3 – Make the best online sales channel your main thing
Email marketing remains the undisputed champion for digital marketing and sales and is the channel that’s absolutely indispensable.
For every $1 spent on email marketing, you get $38 in return. That’s because people spend 5.6 hours per day checking email — up almost a half hour since 2017. Plus, email remains 40 times better at converting people than social media.
- Instead of blogging, podcasting, creating content, we could make email “the thing”.
- Use other people’s content instead of creating it all yourself.
- “curate products and services to create a revenue AND allow you to better understand what products and services you should create for your specific audience”
Create a value proposition so compelling that people enjoy getting email from you.
- The Hustle,
- Morning Brew, and
- Dave Pell’s Next Draft
- Nat Eliason
Put audience value over short-term profit in order to build a highly lucrative business in the long term.
We need an approach and process that allows us to hit the fundamentals, without losing humanity or creativity, and remove the guesswork of what our audience wants.
Next Level 7 Lesson 4 – What the World Needs Now is Smart Editorial Guidance
HBO introduced a new tagline in 2019 — Recommended By Humans.
Recommended By Humans is a tool that provides a colorful canvas you can drag around on your desktop or mobile phone, and features 36 unique video suggestions and over 150 curated recommendations from real HBO fans. They also deliver those recommendations by (surprise!) an email newsletter.
People want more human, less algorithm.
The social media aspects of the internet are actually reducing knowledge and wisdom thanks to spurious information and self-reinforcing echo chambers.
Ad-driven digital media is turning our greatest repository of knowledge into crap.
Thought: this is especially true with modern journalism. Now-a-days, it’s all about getting clicks.
Smart people are looking for other trustworthy smart people to tell them what’s worth their time and attention.
That trust eventually translates into who to hire (you) and what to buy (what you recommend and create).
The role of trusted editor gives you more prestige, authority, and even celebrity than the usual content marketing route.
The world doesn’t need more content, it needs more clarity.
Curation is the ticket to success if we correctly separate the signal from the noise.
Looking at Facebook and other social media, we have learned that AI-curated content creates echo-chambers and promotes crap content.
AI’s can be manipulated by humans.
Thought: every time Microsoft (or someone) puts out a new Twitter bot, it’s only a matter of time before it learns to spit racism.
Curation requires very human qualities like communication, empathy, creativity, strategic thinking, questioning, and even dreaming.
AI doesn’t have judgement and taste.
People need other people to act as human filters for the technology that editors and curators use to sift through a mountain of information in search of truth and value.
Proof: how many people use RSS feeds to curate info for themselves? Not enough! But I do. I’m already ahead of the game.
There’s a very good possibility that the curation-based business you build today will run itself via AI and automation in the not-so-distant future … with your audience never knowing, and while the business continues paying you exceptionally well.
Thought: This quote above seems kind of antithetical to the course so far but I think I get what he’s saying.
UPDATE: Brian’s response:
Here’s what I meant here:
Just like people like you use RSS feeds and “normal” people don’t (and it’s been around 20 years!), people like us will be early adopters of advanced tech for curation, and “normal” people won’t. Plus, people still want to identify with a human — you.
So, there’s likely a long runway for our businesses to become more automated before our audiences turn to the machines directly. That’s all I was trying to say.
There are currently an unlimited amount of niches to bust into with this.
Using all this for client services:
- Your potential clients want relevant and timely information
- Online courses tend to be outdated
- They subscribe and eventually hire you, or
- At the very least you have the potential to sell digital products to them.
Next Level 7 Lesson 5 – A Process for Building Your Perfect Business
The success of Next Draft, The Hustle, The Skimm, Morning Brew, Podnews and many others doesn’t mean we’re too late. It proves that this is a business model that works.
People know that no matter how useful information is, content marketing comes with an agenda.
Trust is declining for those who only share their own content.
How many people are struggling to get any interest in their content, much less their email list, because the idea of subscribing to another single-source newsletter is just not attractive to people?
Would you rather subscribe to 10 different email newsletters to stay informed about what matters to you? Or instead, one or two authored by people who do the work for you.
Curating content over time will reveal gaps that we can then create specific content to fill.
Curated email newsletters provide the ideal vehicle for freelancers, solopreneurs, and small startup teams. First of all, you’re not limited by how much great content you can create.
Curation + email marketing = a data that provides insight to guide our business decisions.
It’s the opposite of the guess-and-fail approach of “product first” entrepreneurs.
Data points we will easily collect:
- what they open,
- what they click on,
- how they think of themselves, and ultimately,
- the things that they buy (not what they just say they’ll buy)
“We don’t make money when we sell things. We make money when we help customers make purchase decisions.” – Jeff Bezos
The above quote isn’t actually true about Amazon, but it could be for us.
Curated shopping sites like The Wirecutter and Canopy cut through the crap and quickly tell us what we need to know before sending us over to Amazon (and taking an affiliate commission).
NOTE: the New York Times bought Wirecutter for $30 million!
Product and service curation can lead to large amounts of revenue without ever developing products and services of your own. But here’s the flip side of it — you might find yourself compelled to do it anyway, because this form of curation is incredibly enlightening market research that you get paid to do.
Next Level 7 Lesson 6 – The Blueprint for Building Your Perfect Business
This lesson is just a sales page for the “7-Figure Small Intensive” course.
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