Mattie James implemented three strategies as a brand influencer over the course of three years that generated an impressive $3 MILLION—and today she’s revealing that three-ingredient recipe for success to us all!
In today’s case study, we get to learn from this inspiring powerhouse of a woman, who has a heart (and a successful business) for helping fellow entrepreneurs turn content into cash!
Like many of our past Cubicle to CEO® guests, Mattie’s story begins with a common catalyst.
“Getting fired will help you become an entrepreneur real quick,” she laughs.
Before getting canned, Mattie spent several years bouncing around, starting in retail and later transitioning to a few marketing internships.
“I interned for the top sports radio station in Atlanta, and then they needed promotional marketing interns, so I put my name in the hat,” she says. “In hindsight, everything I learned there is literally what I use now as an influencer.”
Eventually, Mattie transitioned to another marketing internship with Brown Forman, the maker of Jack Daniels.
“That is actually where I was when I won Miss Liberia and when Chris and I first got married,” says Mattie.
After winning the pageant, Mattie started a blog, hoping the attention from the pageant would translate to fame online.
“I was very delusional,” she shares. “I just thought I was going to become a superstar overnight. Spoiler: that’s NOT how that happened.”
Instead, Mattie continued to work, slowly building her blog on the side. She got a job as a showroom manager for a home decor company and remained with the company for four years, slowly growing her blog and social media on the side.
“I was really transparent with my boss, who—THANK GOD—was really supportive of my side hustle.”
Then, in June of 2015, the company began making some changes…
“They ended up letting me go,” Mattie says.
However, getting kicked to the curb was ultimately the kick in the butt Mattie needed to make her switch to full-time entrepreneurship.
“I had contemplated quitting for quite some time,” she says. “I was making more than my annual income from my blog at that point, so I was like, ‘Okay, let’s just run with it.’”
“I’ve never looked back since.”
I don’t know about you, but when we heard these three phrases, we were dying to know more. Turning three marketing strategies into $3 million isn’t a feat many of us can boat (YET).
So, what is Mattie doing to rake in THAT MUCH DOUGH!?
For one, Mattie James is a captivating soul. (Don’t believe us? Scroll up, listen to the podcast episode, and see for yourself!) She’s playful, kind, and full of juicy one-liners that make you feel like you’ve struck GOLD!
But Mattie’s success isn’t just a product of her charming personality. There’s a lot of strategy behind this brand influencer’s impressive revenue growth, and today, she’s sharing her sweet 3-ingredient recipe for success with us all!
Spend five minutes scrolling Mattie’s Instagram, and you’ll discover quickly: this gal is good on camera.
“My lifelong dream is to host a TV show,” Mattie shares, “and I had a friend tell me, ‘You’re literally on TV every single day! It’s not that large flat box on our walls, but thousands of people—likely a million—see your face every day on the internet.’”
During our interview, Mattie boiled her video strategy down to two tips.
TIP #1: Make shareable content VERSUS viral content
There are two types of videos Mattie creates often that her followers (and passersby) simply eat up (pun intended)…
These two topics may seem unrelated, but the reality is they share an important quality: they’re shareable.
“One thing I really like about my content—and this is going to sound completely against the grain—is nothing goes viral,” she explains. “I say that very loosely.”
It’s true that a few of Mattie’s videos have climbed close to a million views…
Her daughter’s kindergarten graduation (who doesn’t love to watch a child dance with abundant glee and zero shame?)…
A Valentine’s Day charcuterie board how-to (I mean, we’ll take any charcuterie board video nowadays, amiright?)…
But generally, her content doesn’t “go viral.”
Instead of intentionally creating viral content, this brand influencer focuses on making shareable content.
“Brands want to be associated with something that’s going to get shared versus being viral,” Mattie explains. “The content that’s highly shareable is usually what’s highly profitable.”
Mattie’s viewers aren’t responding with a like or emoji. They’re responding with comments…
“Where did she get that board?”
“Where did she buy those sprinkled-covered chocolate hearts?”
“If I can create content that is shared a lot, it’s going to naturally increase the reach.”
In fact, Mattie says only about 10% of the viewers on her short-form videos are part of her 134,000 followers. The remaining 90% find her via the Instagram algorithm and shares.
“You can have this incredible reach to people who don’t even necessarily follow you, and brands see value in that,” she says.
“Brands are going to put a dollar on a share.”
TIP #2: Stay consistent
We add this upcoming disclaimer to many of our case studies, and Mattie’s is no different…
Success does NOT come overnight.
“You can’t compare my chapter 12 to your chapter one,” she says. “Excellence is an increment sport.” (Another one-line nugget of gold.)
Before this brand influencer had 130K+ followers on Instagram, she was just like the rest of us: throwing spaghetti at the wall.
“Understand that 80% of the content you’re posting is practice,” she shares.
One of the strategies that stuck for Mattie was a live video segment every Wednesday at 11:30am. They called it Mattie Live. The topic shifted over time, starting with a hodge podge of themes and eventually landing on the topic that consistently generated the most attention: influencer Q+As.
BUT even as the topics shifted, one thing never changed: Mattie always showed up. (Okay, she missed four, but we’ll let it slide.)
“We did it at the same time and the same day for probably 14 months,” she says. “It created trust with my audience.”
In fact, Mattie established so much trust with her audience, that when she decided to move Mattie Live to a free, private Facebook group (enter BOSSFLUENCE), her followers were happy to… well, follow.
“We grew to 9,500 members over two years,” she says. “If you can create a habit-forming product, it’s a wrap.”
Today, BOSSFLUENCE is more than a nurturing community of influencers. It’s the company within which Mattie teaches programs and courses on influencer marketing. In other words, it’s a money-maker, and it’s grown to that level because Mattie showed up, time and time again.
Mattie is serious about growing as a brand influencer.
She proves this not only by showing up for her followers (and non-followers), but also by taking action. This leads us to Mattie’s second ingredient for success…
Mattie doesn’t wait for inbound requests. She’s identifies the brands she wants to work with and then gets their attention.
“I’m not sure if anybody listening is familiar with Russell Brunson’s books,” says Mattie, “but he talks about the ‘Dream 100.’” (Mattie’s referring to a popular marketing strategy, a traffic generation strategy actually, popularized by successful entrepreneur Russell Brunson.)
“These are the 100 people you want to connect with and collaborate with, and he says those are the people you should really pay attention to online,” Mattie explains. “So we made our own list: the Magic 100.”
Mattie has two versions of the Magic 100 list: one for people and one for brands.
“We just made a spreadsheet,” she says. “If we had a contact, we wrote their information and name. We looked at past press releases to see what their focus was, and we wrote an alignment point: how is the Mattie James brand aligned with what matters to them?”
Every pitch Mattie sends comes after a great deal of research, so she can personalize the message to that specific brand.
“That attention to detail shows I actually care about what you’re doing versus just trying to make something happen.”
Once this attentive brand influencer secures the deal, the next step is maintaining the partnership.
“You never want to let a warm contact become cold again.”
How does Mattie keep her contacts warm? By stoking the fire.
At the end of the year, she sends a holiday card (as in a handwritten card from herself).
“It’s a way to be nice, but also as you start the new year, I’m at the front of your mind,” says Mattie.
Piggybacking off of the holiday card, Mattie and her team connect with every brand they worked with the previous year at the start of the new year.
“Usually fiscal decisions haven’t been made yet, and again I’m at the front of your mind by the time you do make that decision.”
Beyond these habits, Mattie says, “It’s the small things.”
Sending a “thank you” email after every partnership.
Mentioning a brand in organic content (AND letting them know).
“We have turned one-month partnerships into quarterly partnerships and quarterly into annual because the timing and the fit were right,” says Mattie. “Those touch bases go a really long way.”
Finally, this successful brand influencer climbed her way up to that $3 million revenue mark by riding the momentum from her live videos and launching a course.
“I originally created Pitch Please in 2017 as a $97 Masterclass,” Mattie shares. “I was just happy to share the information, and I’m still happy to share the information, but now I understand that I’m sharing value.”
Like Mattie Live, Pitch Please was another throwing-spaghetti situation.
“I realized this was the thing people asked about the most,” she explains, “so we turned it into a high-ticket program.”
Now Mattie’s exclusive, signature program, Pitch Please accepts 25 people per class and includes live coaching for eight weeks.
Just like Mattie’s decision to move Mattie Live to a private Facebook group, transforming this $97 webinar into a high-ticket program made a significant impact on her business—and especially her revenue…
In 2020 and 2021, five-figure launches became common for Pitch Please, but in the latest two launches, Mattie tweaked her launch strategy a little and watched the dollars continue to rise.
“The thing we did differently these last two times is we did not offer a free webinar,” she explains. “The webinar was $97, and that alone was huge.”
When Mattie combined the revenue from both the webinar and her signature program, the total launch jumped to nearly a quarter million dollars.
“We probably would have doubled the number of attendees had that webinar been free, but people take it more seriously when there is an actual buy-in,” she says.
Mattie has learned this lesson in her own business. The brand influencer who is serious about their business is the one who has bought into their business in more ways than one, who invests their time and energy and even their money.
“So many of my peers who are in that ‘mainstream level’ kept showing up because they were dedicated to the craft.”
According to Mattie, the influencers who have longevity and actually make money in their business are the ones who are dedicated whether they have five viewers or 500. They have a heart for their job and they keep showing up, not because of money, but because they cared.
“If you’re really serious about growing as an influencer, you’ll show up to go up.”