Imagine if you started a business thinking it would be massively successful. But it wasn’t. I mean I’ve been there multiple times, working at startups that didn’t pan out. And you may have been there yourself as well.

The disappointment. Broken expectations. Heartbreak. Sleepless nights. Hiding under the covers. Wishing you were dead.

That’s everything I felt when I decided to get into the startup world. I still remember the time when I was working months on end for over 15 hours a day and being fueled on Del Taco. Who can even fathom how much damage that caused to both my digestive system and my overall health. And is it even reversible?

Before Josh Steimle started MWI, he and a partner had run another agency that was moderately successful and got bought out. He had always felt held back in that partnership and thought if he had the opportunity to do it himself, things would have been much better.

Once the exit took place, there was nothing holding him back. He had his chance to go out there and do what he wanted to do his way.

The Bitter Reality Of Going At It Alone

Slowly but surely, he began to realize that his way wasn’t the right way. He racked up tens of thousands of dollars in business debt, then hundreds of thousands. He started skipping paychecks temporarily, and ended up not taking a paycheck for four years while his wife supported them. No matter how much Josh disagreed with his previous business partner’s management style and decisions, he had to admit that the previous company had performed better than MWI.

Finally things improved and Josh began paying himself, but while the business was bringing in almost half a million each year Josh was only earning around $60,000, while the friends he had gone to school with were working fewer hours and making 3-4 times the income. For all the countless hours he was putting into the business, it just wasn’t making sense. Comparing dollars to hours worked, a janitor could have been earning more money than Josh was.

Things Got Worse Before They Got Better

He knew he had to do something different. But he didn’t know what. He felt like he had tried everything and yet it was always a struggle just to survive. Then things got worse. Josh had been outsourcing much of his work to a partner company, and that partner hired an account manager who didn’t do a good job managing MWI’s clients and they started to leave. By the time Josh was able to switch to a new partner and stop the bleeding, he had lost all but three clients and revenues were down to $10,000 per month — all of which went to contractors, leaving nothing for Josh to pay himself. He was in a bad spot and needed help — fast.

A Second Chance

Then he got a lifeline…

Josh was invited to write for Forbes. When the opportunity came, Josh thought about how busy his days were. How would he ever fit this into his schedule?

But having had a passion for writing since 2003, he decided to take the opportunity.

So what happened next?

Josh discovered the world of content marketing. And content marketing alone helped Josh take his business from $10,000 a month to over $100,000 a month in less than 12 months. MWI blew past the half million per year barrier and then some, allowing Josh to open offices in China, Hong Kong and multiple locations across the United States. Plus, he now contributes to multiple publications, keynotes at events and landed a book deal for his recent book Chief Marketing Officers at Work.

So How Did Josh Make Content Marketing Work for Him at Mwi and How Can You Make It Work for You?

1. Write About Your Industry

Josh has written dozens of posts on SEO. These posts establish him as a thought leader in the space and helps him establish trust with new clients. Also, people who read his posts reach out to him asking about SEO, then eventually convert into clients.

I’ve written about my industry, personal branding, and I’ve been able to establish a similar type of success to Josh as well, where I’m now regularly interviewed by top media outlets.

By writing about your industry, you too can become a thought leader in your specific space.

2. Think Like Your Consumer

The post that really turned Josh’s life around was when he really thought about his clients — and what they were thinking about when they were hiring a new SEO firm. Since Josh owned a marketing firm that specialized in SEO, he knew the entire thought process of his clients. He put down his four biggest tips for hiring the right SEO firm into writing. The next thing you know, instead of readers going to other firms, they went to his.

I’m in the process of taking Josh’s SEO idea and doing the same thing in the personal branding space. It makes complete sense and I have no doubts that it will generate a ton of leads.

By thinking about the common objections your clients have when they come to you or a competitor, you can build trust with your clients.

3. Continue to Produce Content

Content marketing isn’t a game where you can just write one post and win. You need to continually produce content. To date, Josh has written over 200 articles and counting that further establishes him as an authority in the space and attracts new clients to his firm.

I have done the same thing with my content. In fact, I have created a full content calendar for 2017 where my business partner and I are going to be creating one piece of content each day, Monday through Friday, for the entire year.

By continuing to write and produce content, you will also be able to attract more clients to your business as well.

You don’t even need to start out with a credible publication. You can start on a content syndication network like I did with sites like Quora or Medium. But if you want to see if you can get into a publication first, check out how these 60 content marketers (including myself) got their columns.

Or try filling out this form to see if you’re qualified to contribute to Influencive.

Do you have any other tips on how to make content marketing work for you? I’d love to hear them! Comment below.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Leonard Kim is recognized by Forbes as a Top Marketing Influencer and Inc. as a Top Digital and Youth Marketer. He is a personal branding expert whose content has been read over 10 million times. He has amassed a social media following of well over 250,000 people.

Leonard is managing partner of InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your brand, get featured in publications and grow your social media following.