How to Get Started with Content Marketing

Craig asked me to give him a post about ‘Getting Started with Content Marketing’ so immediately, I set about thinking about all of the steps necessary to begin creating great content: aligning it to the buyers needs, establishing trust through operationalized nurture and measuring those results.  Then I trashed it.  People don’t have a problem ‘starting’ anything – they have a problem finishing it – and content marketing is no different.

So then, what’s the key to actually hitting the ground with some good targeted content and diving into the deep end of this process that we call content marketing?  Starting, and finishing, one thing at a time.  That’s it.  I prescribe heavily to a methodology that many, many people are familiar with, but few execute well – it’s called “Getting Things Done” or GTD.  It started as a theory, resulting in a book and has materialized in hundreds of enablement tools from coaches to software to cheat sheets and, well, I guess this blog post.  The book, Getting Things Done®by David Allen really did change my life – and I’m not even particularly good at it.  I try to be.  Let’s say it’s a work in progress – but so is Content Marketing and that’s the key here.

When you’re ready to really succeed with content marketing scratch that, modern marketing, because content is simply a part of how we speak to our buyer now, it can’t even be separated into a buzzword any longer; you’ll notice a feeling welling up in you.  You’ll be overwhelmed by the need for content.  That’s why the notions in GTD apply so well here, because it’s essentially a task prioritization system.  I use GTD to get through my inbox.  I am up to just shy of 600 emails per day (yes, that includes spam but that only accounts for about 10%) and I sent just under 120 emails today (Thursday).  GTD consists of some basic elements:

b2b marketing, content

  1. Decide if it’s actionable: i.e. can this even be done?
    • Looking to film a production quality movie staring Morgan Freeman to wow that buyer persona?  Mmm, lets go ahead and table that.
  2. Process it: what are the needed steps?           
    • Figure out the channel, the buyer personas’ needs to be addressed and the budget (oh, you thought content was free?)
  3. Will it take less than 2 minutes?
    • This answer will likely be a big fat NO for most items in modern marketing you put through this – however I can type 140 characters in less than 2 minutes (barely) so lets not rule out the relevancy of social at this step.  So, if <2Mins – do the damn thing.
  4. Delegate and Defer
    • Find a time and a resource to get the content done.

Step 4 is really the most important part of this equation, but the value is only realized when you build your stable of publishers.  That’s right, to succeed here you CAN NOT do everything yourself.  Find out who within your team will be a part of this conversation.  Also, find out what parts you will outsource and further more, what parts you will rely on third parties to create.

Ready to get started?  No, you’re not.  There’s one more piece of the puzzle and, unfortunately, it’s that one piece of blue sky that no one can ever figure out where to place (I mean give us an intersecting cloud or something to go off of dammit!).  Technology – that’s right, our old friend is back and he’s figured out a new need to fulfill.  You see many people try to manage content publishing and workflow with spreadsheets.  Stop it.  Spreadsheets are one-dimensional and they become no better than my overflowing inbox. Ultimately, we can’t trust them because we have to rely on all of these other folks to go into the sheet (read sh*t) and perform their actions.  Stand-alone processes don’t help us, they create more work.

At LeadMD, we use a platform called Kapost, a competitor of theirs, Compendium was acquired a few weeks ago by Oracle and other platforms like Hubspot, Skyword, Shareist and others are rapidly fleshing out this space.  If you haven’t looked at a content marketing platform, start.  It is literally impossible to manage a SUCCESSFUL content-fueled marketing process without collaboration and software of this sort empower that.

The above consists of the conclusion we’ve drawn after producing 10 to 15 new pieces of “content” every month for the last 4 years.  There is no finish line in content creation, only the start of something new, or something old becoming new again, and those cycles require scalability and diversity.  Our current content pipeline has 256 pieces of active content in various stages of production, even my inbox is jealous. And there’s no way to start, unless you respect that there is no end.

Justin Gray is the CEO & Chief Marketing EvangelistLeadMD of LeadMD. He founded the company in 2009 with the vision of transforming traditional “grassroots” marketing efforts through the use of cloud based marketing solutions. Since that time Mr. Gray has emerged as strong voice for Marketing Automation and Conversation Marketing through both industry publications and his Blog, The Marketing Evangelist.

  • Hey Craig,

    What a spectacular article! Enjoyed reading it and pictures are always fun :). I completely agree with you that content is now how we speak to our buyers. Here is what I do when creating content tailored to the customers needs.

    I keep consumers in the buying part of their brain. This is crucial when using types of indirect marketing, such as websites, a marketing item, e mail blast, social websites or blog post. Make content material which is so good it becomes ‘forward-able,’ meaning it is so great people forward it to buddies or business associates that could become potential clients. This can alleviate a few of the pressures a consumer feels when ‘being sold’ on a product or organization.

    Thanks again for a great article,
    ‘TC’ Teresa Clark

    • Hi Teresa:

      Thanks for reading. Just so you know, the author is Justin Gray from LeadMD. So, thank him for the great article!

  • Hi Justin –

    What’s the best way to delegate the creation of copy in content marketing? Without losing the feel of the brand, of course.


    • Ian,
      Great question and the answer, for us, centers around an advocate – one person who is responsible completely for corporate messaging & content. This can be broken up by market (US, EMEA, APAC) if necessary but should remain a sole point for as long as possible. This is why I advocate Content Marketing Platforms and GTD as heavily as I do, that task simply becomes impossible without technology and repeatable systems. I spoke at a content event a few weeks ago and I was happy to hear that other successful content marketers feel the same way – Jon Miller of @Marketo fame has eyes on everything that goes out the door – when you consider the amount of content Marketo curates, that’s really impressive, and so necessary.

  • Gtdagenda

    For implementing GTD you can use this web-application:

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.

  • This is the best elaboration, Justin.

    The best thing to start doing a modern content for marketing tactic (aside from reading other materials) is also for being practical. Do these articles worth reading? or just a crap? or what.
    And at the end, what can people get from it? and most importantly, what am i up to?

    Anyway, your article rocks. Thanks for this.