I studied business at Humboldt State and picked accounting as my focus area. When I graduated I was ready to begin a career in cost accounting. I even passed the Certified Management Accountant exam. But then the Great Recession began. Businesses began announcing hiring freezes and laying off their employees. I went to a lot of accounting interviews but didn’t get any job offers, so I decided to look for other ways to earn money. The local economy was heavily based on real estate so I started looking for online jobs as well.

Meanwhile, publishers were using AdSense to make money online. They were hiring freelance writers to write articles about niche topics that had limited media coverage. They used these articles to attract readers who would click on the ads for high value keywords. So after looking up ways to earn money online, I discovered one of these companies, Demand Studios. And I started writing about business and financial topics that people wanted to read about but other publications weren’t covering.

After that I heard about the Motley Fool from a colleague so I started writing articles for them. Because of my accounting background, I was able to analyze financial statements and predict how well various stocks would perform. Several of my articles on the Motley Fool’s blog received Editor’s Choice awards because the editors liked them. And I was promoted to a freelance copy editing position as well. But eventually the Motley Fool took down the contributor blog so those blog posts aren’t online anymore. My articles on the main site are still up though.

Meanwhile, startups like HubSpot were demonstrating how to use content marketing to gain customers. These startups weren’t trying to earn advertising revenue or sign people up for paid newsletters. Instead, they were writing about topics in their industry to attract customers who would then sign up for their SaaS products. So I started helping these companies by writing for freelance writing marketplaces like WriterAccess. Once again, it helped to have background knowledge about the topics the startups wanted to cover.

And I’m still doing content marketing now. Fintech companies like Wise demonstrate the effectiveness of content marketing. It’s not easy to compete with well-funded startups in your niche, especially if you’re challenging major financial institutions at the same time. But Wise was able to outrank its peers by posting articles that explain how money transfers work. I haven’t written for the money transfer app (or HubSpot) but it’s clear that its strategy works well.