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.