Pete Matthew: Successful content marketers are world-class teachers

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Notes

Pete Matthew, the host of Meaningful Money Podcast and author of The Meaningful Money Handbook, shares how teaching has influenced his life and how he used the teaching philosophy to create his very successful podcast show.

Chris and Pete dig deeper into how Pete’s content has impacted peoples lives, the challenges he faced along the way, what to focus on throughout the content marketing process, and how his podcast has had an incredible effect on the growth of Jacksons Wealth Management.

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Transcription

Chris:
Well, good morning, Pete. Thanks very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to be with me today. How are you?

Pete:
I’m really well, Chris. Thanks for having me, mate. Always a pleasure.

Chris:
Yeah, it’s all good, man. It’s all good. I’m really looking forward to speaking to you about your journey, Pete. I know that your journey is in some ways very well-documented. You’ve been in the sort of content marketing space for quite a long time. In fact, I remember interviewing you one of my very first than interviews on this podcast, and I feel like it was 2014 or something like that.

Pete:
Sounds right to me, yeah.

Chris:
Yeah, yeah. Wow, four or five years ago. It’s pretty crazy, right? I mean, this is incredible. And I think one of the things that you’ve done amazingly well is obviously the consistency of your content, and you’ve just done so many of the right things. And I want to just grab some of that from you today, let the audience understand a little bit about your journey and how you’ve got to where you are today and what you’re working on. So first of all, I think it’s important for people to know who you are and what you do so they understand the context of which we’re talking in. So tell us a little bit about the businesses that you run.

Pete:
Sure, yeah. Okay. Anybody asks me what I do, I always say I’m a chartered financial planner, usually because nobody knows what that is, and so it usually leads to a conversation where I have to explain it. But I’m a financial advisor, really. Have been for 21 years, and I co-own and I’m managing director of a firm called Jackson’s Wealth Management, which has been in town here in Penzance in Cornwall since 1923 in various forms, so incredibly well-established local business and everybody knows who we are.

So we’re six advisors, eight staff, so a reasonably sized business, and love doing what I do, which is helping our clients organize their finances to help them realize their life goals, really. Money is so often a prohibiting factor for people living the life they want to live and our job is to help it become a motivating and enabling factor.

So that’s what I do for my day job, but I also have a little sideline called Meaningful Money, which has become a beast, become a monster and completely taken over my life. And the two are obviously interrelated. Meaningful Money is primarily a podcast, but it’s just become a content machine, which has led to good things for my bricks and mortar business, as well.

Chris:
Yeah. It really is kicking off this year. Obviously, you published your book this year as well, which is a combination of all the work that you’ve done over the last … well, through content in the last six, seven years, but obviously in the last 20 years of course, as well.

Pete:
Yeah, yeah. The book, it definitely feels like a distillation of everything that I’ve been sort of preaching on the podcast and via video for a long time. And you’re right, yeah, the sort of stuff that I spend my days talking to clients about one-on-one. So it feels a milestone, really, a bit of a sort of end of one chapter and start of the next. It’s great to be asked to do that. It was a brilliant process. I really enjoyed it. I’m not going to retire on the proceeds or anything, but it was a lot of fun.

One of the things about doing this whole content thing is that it really helps you refine your thinking over time, because if you’ve got to share it with other people, you learn to be very sure of what you believe, but you need to retain an open mind, as well, and I’ve definitely changed my views on some things as time has gone along. But yeah, it’s been an amazing journey, man. It’s 2009 that I started shooting videos and didn’t tell anybody what I was doing, and it just has gone a bit nuts since then.

Chris:
Yeah. We’re coming up for 10 years of-

Pete:
Yeah, the back end of this year will be 10 years, the first video I shot. Yeah.

Chris:
Incredible. I think your journey is quite well-documented, but I want to just dip into some of the deeper things here because what strikes me as your sort of philosophy, back in 2009, you started doing video and content and putting it out there to educate people. I’m kind of curious about what led you to that because it feels to me like it’s a natural thing for you because you want to be that person that is truly helpful to people.

Pete:
Yeah. I think teaching is in my blood. My dad was a teacher. He was an actual, real teacher, a grammar school teacher, until just around the time I was born. And then he went into the ministry in the Pentecostal denomination of the church, but he’s never been a preacher as such. He’s always been a teacher. He’s a real scholar, is my dad, but has an incredible knack for pulling out the salient, actionable points from a fairly deep piece of scripture in this case. And so it is kind of in my blood. We would sit around the dining table growing up and he would be explaining the etymology of different English words, how they came from Latin and Greek and all that sort of thing. Sounds dreadfully boring, but actually, it’s given me a pretty good grasp of the English language because that was his passion.

So I suppose teaching is in me, but what I do for a living, we don’t teach money in schools. We don’t teach it at university. People basically either are taught well by their parents or not and have to just sink or swim and find their way through a very confusing world of personal finance. It’s ludicrous, really. We teach people how to drive a car, but we don’t teach them how to use a credit card, and really understand the impact of these things and the power of compounding both negatively and positively. And so we need to teach this stuff.

Day-to-day, I spend my time explaining how things work so that people can make informed decisions. So I am advising them, “I think you should do X, Y, and Z to achieve your financial goals, but here is the information you need to really understand the context for that decision.” A lot of advisors don’t do that. I think it’s just like, “Well, I’m the expert. You just do as I tell you. Otherwise, you’re an idiot.” Well, I would prefer to give people the knowledge they need to make an informed decision because I think that engenders trust apart from anything.

And so I do it day-to-day, and it was the logical progression for me to scale that using the internet. And I just thought I would have a go, and I’m still doing it now nearly 10 years on. So I guess it was a natural progression for me, a natural thing to do. It’s just the way I’m wired, Chris.

Chris:
Yeah. I think that makes turning up and doing this content a little bit easier. I think what I’m getting from that, it’s not just the philosophy or the principles of teaching, the difference between a preacher and a teacher, but also, I just feel like a big part of being a content marketer, it intrinsically has to be about helping others to achieve something greater. I feel like if you don’t have that, then I think that’s one of the reasons why a lot of people struggle with creating content is because they either are not able to see how they’re helping others or want to help others, but obviously, it’s of course not able to see the bigger picture, as well about how they’re trying to change the world in some way or try to change their world in some way.

Pete:
I think that’s right. I mean, our mutual friend John Espirian, he talks about being relentlessly helpful, and that’s really working for him and it’s really worked for me. It is a state of mind. It is a selfless thing, that, and the sort of irony of content marketing is that by being relentlessly helpful to other people, the universe looks after you somehow. Whether you call it God, karma, or the universe or whatever, there is a sort of universal law of reciprocation that if you are consistently helpful to others and earnestly seek to help them improve their situation, then you will, in turn, be rewarded for doing so. I just see it time and time and again in my own life and the work that I’m doing and in that of other people.

Chris:
Yeah. I think it’s a given principle and a new experience, Pete, when you’re seeing … In some ways you’re an outlier, right? 10 years in content. We’ll talk about your podcast and results and things like that in a moment. But first of all, there’s something working against everybody to stop them from achieving what you’ve achieved, right? And it’s not rocket science. It’s not complicated. In fact, it’s a simple process, but it’s not easy. Why is that? What is-

Pete:
Good question. I suppose I’ve had an easy in that it’s easy to keep going when the numbers look good, when there are clearly people listening or watching when you’re getting emails every day in response, because you know you’re making a difference. It’s when it feels like this tumbleweed going on and there’s a whole load of silence out there that it can be very difficult, right? And I confess because I started as early as I did, it was a pretty open market then. There wasn’t a lot of people certainly in the UK doing what I was doing, certainly not in the personal finance space. So it was easier to make a noise that people heard because there wasn’t a lot of people shouting at the time.

So yeah, if you’re not getting that feedback, it can be difficult, which is why then if motivation is to help, that can really carry you through. If motivation is purely to get what you can out of the process, and that’s present for all of us to some degree, but if that’s the only point, you won’t last more than three weeks, because if it’s purely a selfish motive, I don’t think that will carry you through the quiet times and the difficult times and the times when you just can’t think of anything to write about. But if it’s about being relentlessly helpful, then if that’s the motivation, then I think that will carry you through, but it certainly isn’t easy. You’re dead right.

Chris:
Yeah. So what you’re saying there is that if you’re focused on external results or something external to you to drive you, then you’re really probably going to struggle through this process.

Pete:
Yeah. Self-motivation is a big part of it, and we all struggle with that, man. I’m still like three stone overweight because I have issues with self-motivation. It’s a lifelong battle for me. I feel like I can stick at some things very well, but consistently eating well and exercising, I struggle with. So we all have our battles to fight. But yeah, I think certainly being able to motivate oneself is useful, and if you can’t then there are … I mean, if I’m ever feeling a little bit low, I just watch it an hours worth of Gary V. or listen to two or three episodes of his podcasts and just saying, “Yeah, okay, right.” Well, actually I usually listen to his keynotes. That’s what I normally do, and that sort of just tends to cheer me up if I need to get going. He was sort of the original motivation factor for me to actually get going back in 2009 anyway, and so I have sort of an affinity with the guy.

You need to find inspiration where you can, particularly when it’s quiet and you’re not getting the feedback or the numbers that you would like. There is no easy fix to that, Chris. It really is a question motivation, “Do I still want to do this?” And if the answer is, “Yes I do, but it’s really hard,” then you just got to find a way to carry on.

Chris:
Yeah, we find that with some of our content, as well. Simply put, it was about finding a reason to do it that wasn’t about the numbers. And so where we had content, like the podcast for example, for us was a case of, “Well, why are we doing this? If it’s not for the numbers, then what’s it for?” And we found other reasons to do it, and that helps me to turn up and do this. So I think it’s true. If you’re relying on external factors all the time, I think that they can be taken away from you at any point, even platforms change, for example. And if you’re relying on that to motivate you to turn up, then you’re not in control of your own motivation. And I think that starts to become a problem at some point across the journey. So for sure. Yeah.

So over the years, over the last 10 years, I think it would be good to get an understanding of the types of challenges that you’ve had along the way, Pete. I think a lot of people listening are stuck probably in some way, shape or form, and one of the things I like to ask people on their journey is just what has been the biggest challenge for them and how they’ve overcome that challenge. What would that be for you?

Pete:
I think certainly for me, these things have gone in seasons. So there was a time where I became aware that I was spending too much time behind my laptop in the evenings. Bear in mind, Meaningful Money has always been evenings and weekends thing, right? It’s been a side hustle if you like. But my kids, they’re now 19 and 16, but back in sort of 2013, my eldest was starting to have exams at school and my youngest son was going through some things at school and some anxiety issues and stuff like that, and it was just clear that I needed to be present in the evening.

But I still really, really wanted to do all the Meaningful Money stuff. And so I just knew I needed to carve out time, and so I said, “Right, okay, if I need to find more time, the only other time I’m going to find it is early in the morning.” And so for two, two and a half years, I got up at 5:00 AM every weekday and worked from five to seven so then when they finally got up, I’d done two hours worth of work writing or editing or whatever, and then the day would carry on and I didn’t need to be around in evenings. So that was a very practical, “I have an issue here. I need to find more time,” and I just found it at the time of day, which is not pleasant, let’s face it, right? I don’t need to do that now because my kids are older, much more self-sufficient, and so I no longer get up at 5AM, which is a real blessing.

Another challenge that I’ve found is that I tended to find that once I’d expended all energy creating the content, really that’s half the battle, right? You’ve got to then sort of look to the marketing of that content. The message needs to be put out on social and things like that. And I found that that was almost an afterthought and has been really until quite recently. Again, I’ve benefited from the sort of first-mover advantage or certainly early mover advantage in that I started the podcast when there were hardly any UK podcasts at all, let alone personal finance ones. So that was obviously just blind luck, really. But I didn’t need to do a lot of social stuff. I’ve always been active on Twitter since back in 2008, and yeah, I would share on my Facebook account, but there was no cohesion, no process to it.

Now, fortunately, I’ve got to the point now where there is money coming in such that I can pay somebody to help me with that. So our mutual friend has just been a godsend. Not only does he create messages and all that sort of stuff. He actually strategized all that stuff and said, “Look, this is where we need to go. These are the things we need to do,” and it’s thanks to him that we’ve built a Facebook group and all these things. So I just didn’t have the energy to do that second half of the process. I could create all day, every day, but I just didn’t have the mind or the time or the energy really to do the social stuff. And so I’ve had to find somebody to do that for me, and I’m aware that that might not be possible for everybody. So I did what I could, but now it’s better with his input, much better. So I think these are challenges that we all face. We’ve just got to try and navigate them as we can in the season that we’re in.

Chris:
Yeah. The seasons of life is what we call it, right? We talk about this a lot, and it’s very similar for me. It’s sort of accepting where you are in your life and business and kind of doing the best you can with where you are, with what you have, and knowing, if you think about your journey, the lesson here I think is to look at the 10 years and say, okay, at some point you had to do something that was not pleasant, work for two hours in the morning so that you could get to where you are today, where you are essentially hiring a marketer to help you with your promotional activities and ultimately grow your business and your side hustle to the next level for you, whatever that is.

I think that that’s the process that people will hopefully go through. I think the understanding here is, for me, thinking about the audience, is that right now, you might have to do a bunch of stuff that you don’t really want to do forever, and it’s accepting that you may have to do it now, but in the future you may not have to do it. You get someone else to do it for you, or there may be stuff that you’re not able to do right now that you want to do, but actually you can’t do it right now and you have to accept that, and that part of the journey is about realizing that it’ll take place later on.

Pete:
I think that’s right. I think we need to be intentional about the life stages that we’re in. So you’ve got young kids, man, and I’ve done that stage, right? So our days will look different by definition, right? So that’s fine. You just need to accept it and be intentional. Take time maybe once every six months and say, “Right, what is coming up? What is looking ahead? What do I have to deal with and how can I fit what I want to do with this business, this marketing, all this stuff, how can I fit that into the things which are more important, like life, health, and family?” It’s being intentional rather than trying to snatch time where we can find it. It’s looking for it in advance, I think.

Chris:
Yeah. I think a lot of people that are starting in the content space with their business, there’s maybe not enough planning going on and enough thinking about making choices essentially, because I think there’s a lot that you could be doing, blogs, videos, podcasts, and all the marketing that goes along with that. I think looking at the constraints you have in your life and making choices about what you can do well right now versus what can wait until later is a good discussion to have with yourself and or other people around you so you can do the thing really well. I find that either people don’t start because they’re completely overwhelmed or they get started, try to do everything and burn out, and never really get the results that they should or deserve to get because of those factors.

Pete:
Oh yeah. You’re absolutely right. Yeah. Choose what you need to do right now and do it well, and always on the understanding that the next six months might look very different, but it’s always worth doing what you can and what you can do well rather than stretch yourself too thin. It just isn’t worth it, right?

Chris:
Yeah, totally. It’s interesting to document these journeys because we’ve spoken to people who have been doing this sort of content marketing thing for maybe two years, sometimes four or five, and now we’re at 10. So it gets interesting to see how these journeys shape, and everyone’s got a different story, doing it for different reasons. You’re managing director of your financial company and you’ve got Jackson’s Wealth and you’ve got your side hustle. And I think it would be good to just briefly give people a flavor. You’re essentially running Meaningful Money on your own, right? You’ve got one other person there, which is a recent addition, and you’ve got Jackson’s Wealth.

Chris:
I think what’s interesting to me is just how they work together, right? So there’s congress between both of your businesses essentially, right? So what I’m getting to is could we give people a sense of what results you’re getting from your content? And I’m really wanting people to appreciate just the context we’re talking here. We’re not talking about a massive marketing company or a huge national company here. There’s a small business in the south of England. In terms of results, what’s happening with your podcast and your marketing for Meaningful Money, and how’s that in Jackson Wealth?

Pete:
That too has been a journey. So bear in mind, I started out, I had no idea this was called content marketing, right? It took 18 months for the first client to get in touch. That was 18 months of producing three five minute videos a week about how money works. And this client got in touch, told me a big story about how he’d very nearly been ripped off by an unscrupulous financial advisor. And he said to me, “Look Pete, I’ve watched several of your videos. I feel like I know you and can trust you. Will you work with me?”

And that was one of those sort of, like the universe stopped for a second and I just went, “Whoa,” because I finally realized actually, I have engendered trust in these people who live 350 miles away from Penzance and they want to work with me despite having never met me. And that was just the start. Shortly after that, well, about 18 months after that actually, I began podcasting in earnest, and that has been the medium that has been a breakout for me. The subject matter lends itself I think to the podcasting medium in that I can deal with something at reasonable depth as opposed to a five-minute video talking heads sort of thing, and I love podcasting as a medium anyway.

So since then, 325 podcast episodes in, two and a half million downloads, and what it has meant in practical terms, just under half of all new inquiries to my company here, Jackson’s Wealth, are from Meaningful Money now. Now, to put that in context, an advice practice this size would maybe pick up probably around 20 to 25 new clients a year. Bear in mind, there are six advisors and we’ve been in business a very long time and so we spend a lot of time dealing with existing clients, not looking for new ones. But I mean, we now get a dozen inquiries a month easily and nearly half of those are from Meaningful Money, and they’re all absolutely fantastic prospects for our business. I seem to have found a way to filter the people listening so that the right kind of people get in touch, which I sometimes think is more by look than judgment, but it certainly works.

How it works for me practically is that now obviously because of the benefits to Jackson’s from what I’m doing in Meaningful Money, I now do a day a week. So Friday’s Meaningful Money day, so I don’t answer emails from Jackson’s. I don’t pick up the phone. I’m just here in my office playing with my toys, writing content and creating videos and podcasts and stuff. And it’s enabled me to get ahead, and actually, that was a suggestion by my colleagues who perceived that my focus wasn’t on point really, that I was not fully focused on either thing. And so they said, “Look you’re in business with us, Pete. We need you to be focused on Jackson’s, but we know there’s a benefit to us of you doing Meaningful Money, so why don’t you do a day a week?”

It’s my goal that I will do maybe two or three days a week eventually on Meaningful Money and just a couple of days on Jackson’s as we build the business to enable me to do that. So a massive difference to my work working week. So the number of new clients that come through the door, we’ve doubled turnover in five years, nice and sort of consistently, and in such a way that we can keep up with the growth just, so it’s been great, no doubt.

Chris:
That’s awesome. I love that part of your story because I think it’s important for people to see and understand the direct link between the effort that you’ve put in over the last 10 years and how that’s becoming a tangible result in your business as well. That doesn’t just affect you. Like you said, it’s affecting your partners, it’s affecting your family, their families, everybody that works for you and their family. I think it’s an amazing thing that you’ve done, Pete, and that people have huge amount of gratitude for the work that you’re doing, and it’s just awesome. I love your story and I love the work that you do and you deserve all the success that you’re getting for what you’re doing just there because you’ve just put in so much of the effort and the time and the dedication to adding something important to the world.

Pete:
Thank you, mate. I really appreciate it. I feel somewhat bemused by the whole thing and very humbled by the impact that it’s having. I get emails every other day from somebody who’s saying, “Look, I’ve paid off 25 grand worth of credit card debt thanks to the tools you’ve given me,” and I find that incredibly humbling. Those people will never be clients probably, but it feels incredible to be able to make such a massive difference in a big way thanks to these incredible tools that are now available to us.

So I’d just encourage anybody, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in finance or I’ve said before, whether you’re selling sheds or whatever you’re doing, your business and your message can change somebody’s life in a tangible way. And the tools are there now to be able to get that message out and impact those people more easily than it’s ever been before. So yeah, I feel very blessed by the whole thing, man, and I really appreciate your kind words and your encouragement.

Chris:
Thanks, Pete. It’s great speaking to you today. Thanks very much for taking the time out. If people want to, what’s the best place for people to go and see more of your work and get involved in what you do? Where would you like them to go?

Pete:
Best place is MeaningfulMoney.tv. Brand new website coming out. I believe we’re going for the 3rd of July, 3rd of June, something like. Pretty imminently, anyway. Next couple of weeks from the date that we’re recording this, we’ll have a brand new, shiny, MeaningfulMoney.tv web site.

Chris:
Awesome stuff. I’m excited for you, Pete. Thanks very much for taking the time out of your day. I really appreciate it, and I’ll speak to you soon.

Pete:
Thanks for having me, bud. Always good to chat.

About Nicola Crawford

Marketing PA at the Content Marketing Academy.
In business, I believe in people first.
Mum to two crazy kids, Alaina and Morgan.
Green belt in Shotokan Karate.
Always learning, always growing.