James Perrin

Organisation: The Key To Content Marketing Success #ContentMarketingShow

5th Nov 2014 Content Marketing Blog 7 minutes to read

James' PresentationToday I had the opportunity to speak at the Content Marketing Show in Brighton. The event has grown into one of the biggest free Content Marketing conferences, and as such it was huge privilege to share my knowledge on organising yourself, your teams and your campaigns to better improve the chances of Content Marketing success.

The key messages to take away include:

  • Organising your time at the start of a campaign to focus on:
  • Planning: improving internal and external communication; dedicating time to research and plan
  • Scheduling: using project management tools, editorial calendars and having a daily plan
  • Creation: organising time to be creative, tips on idea generation, sticking to goals, ensuring you innovate and not imitate
  • And not to forget important daily habits that can have a huge impact on Content Marketing success

You can view the slides below or you can read through this post, which should help to give you an overview of what the talk was about.

The Slides

The Need For Organisation

Content has seen a huge increase in interest and investment. In fact, 74% of brands increased their Content Marketing spend in 2014. Whilst this is great news for those looking forward to bigger clients, with bigger budgets for bigger and more creative ideas, only 34% of us currently believe we are effective at Content Marketing.

When looking into this, Marketing Sherpa have revealed that marketers attribute the following reasons as barriers to achieving success:

Barriers To Marketing Success
  • Lack of time
  • Lack of strategic thinking
  • Lack of ability to develop content
  • Lack of insight into target audience
  • Lack of clarity on goals and objectives

All of these barriers point to one thing – organisation; making sure we spend the time to organise our campaigns and focus on the important things at the right time will help us achieve Content Marketing success. To do this, we need to allocate and organise our time in the following areas:

  • Planning
  • Scheduling
  • Creation
  • Daily Habits


Ensure your internal communication is effective

  • Avoid silos
  • Avoid email
  • Have a kick off meeting
  • Record vital information
  • Keep to the point

Get your external communication spot on

  • Relationship building:
  • Visit – see the white’s in their eyes
  • Frequency – once a week/bi-monthly/once a month site visits?
  • Understand their business – put yourself in their shoes, understand why they sell what they do – understand how their business is doing
  • Establish their goals – what does success look like to them? Speak to sales team, not just the manager
  • Talk their language

Research your client and campaign thoroughly

  • Competitors – their current CM efforts, their backlinks. Run this through Majestic or LinkRisk and pick out the top backlinks
  • Influencers – who are the best people to target? Groups, journos, bloggers? Use tools like Followerwonk, BuzzSumo, Buzzstream
  • Audience – buyer personas, look at the products and services and work backwards – keep asking yourself why
  • Publications – trade, industry, regional, national – what is your audience going to read and why – use BuzzSumo, speak to the client
  • Keywords and key themes – based on user intent, you need to establish the themes of your content. This will be closely tied into audience types
  • Performing content – if an Infographic for that industry isn’t appropriate then don’t do it – think about your audience and the best types of content for them

Use your research to strategise

  • Use your research
  • Mind map
  • Start with end goal and work backwards
  • Identify audience
  • Establish goals

To emphasise, the point of organising your time in the planning phase is asking the following question…who is the better content marketer?

Hare and Tortoise

Is it the individual who gets up and sprints for one day – perhaps becoming an overnight sensation?

Or is it the person who gets up each day and systematically produces high quality work, day-after-day, consistently?


Our perceptions of success in work, life and Content Marketing are skewed. We need to shift from this sporadic, off-the-cuff mindset to one that is consistent and reliable. To do this we need to be structured and organised.


Project Management

Loads of project management tools to use – Outlook, Basecamp, Trello, Assembla – find the one that’s suitable for your needs/team. We use a variety, but nothing beats out trusty whiteboard. The whiteboard is a visual representation of all the clients we have and what stage of the Content Marketing process each client is at. This keeps everyone up-to-speed and accountable for their clients and their tasks – and everyone can see.

Editorial Calendar

Every client must have an editorial calendar. This helps keep your campaigns focussed, so you know what you’re creating and when you need to create and publish it by. This also allows anyone else working on the campaign, as well as client’s, access to see what is being created and when.

Free Editorial Calendar from the Content Marketing Institute: https://kooz.ai/editor-cal

Daily Plan

Ever come home from work and said “I didn’t get anything done today”? This is because you didn’t plan your day or week. Give yourself daily, weekly and monthly tasks and prioritise them. If you calendarise your tasks, you can visualise what to do and when. Finally, use something like StickyNotes to make lists.


Being Creative

Time to be creative

To help with the creation process, organise yourself so you have time to create or establish good ideas. If you don’t you’ll be shooting your campaign in the foot. Tips to help with organising time include:

  • Coning – Put a cone outside your door when you do not want to be disturbed – allowing you to focus on a single task, without being disturbed.
  • Time Blocking – Author of The One Thing, Gary Keller blocks out 4 hours a day for one task.

And finally to ensure this time is structured, for example when establishing ideas, make sure you use a method like the following:

  • 3-6-5 – 6 people, one worksheet and 30 minutes. Start with a problem statement. 5 minutes, 3 ideas. Pass worksheet to the left, and write 3 more ideas. Repeat for 6 rounds. 108 ideas in 30 minutes. Idea taken from Stacey Cavanagh.

Always keep your eyes on the prize

Create a system that’s based on clear outcome metrics. Every piece of content you create must have an objective or end goal that feeds into your major Content Marketing goals – so break your goal up into manageable tasks.

Innovate don’t imitate

Make sure your ideas are unique and you’re searching for that whitespace. If you repurpose what’s already out there it won’t make an impact, so go for the unique and the original.

Daily Habits

Daily Habits

One of the biggest factors that drives the success of content marketing initiatives – is having powerful daily habits. In fact, one study found that 40 percent of all the decisions that we make are driven by habits.


The first thing anyone does when they get to work is check their emails. It’s one of the biggest time-suckers for any office worker.

  • Respond to emails at set times – morning, lunch and afternoon
  • 4Ds (and one R) – delegate, dump, do, defer, respond – set up folders in outlook and add emails to each of these 4 folders
  • Merlin Mann’s Inbox Zero – allocate a time and choose one of the following categories
  • Other tools – Inbox pause (for gmail – pauses you emails until you want to read them)
  • Unroll.me – goes through your subscriptions and gives you options to manage and unsubscribe
  • Mailstrom – Identifies bundles of related mail and makes it easy to act on it as a group

Phone Calls

  • Arrange your day to batch client calls or to batch similar types of calls.
  • Not only will ‘batching’ your phone calls save you time, but it will mean you’re more focused and intentional when you do talk to clients or colleagues.
  • Use your DND or voicemail. Give yourself ‘you’ time – even if that’s an hour each day with no phone calls.
  • Don’t say yes to everything that comes through – remember the 4Ds – alternatively say ‘no’


The average meeting lasting approximately 45 minutes. Many meetings can be avoided and replaced by:

  • A group chat / skype
  • A quick phone call or conference call
  • Sticking to an agenda if absolutely necessary

Final Thought

Dave Trott

Busy isn’t productive

Insignificant tasks don’t contribute to the bottom line. Another way of looking at this is with advertising – Dave Trott’s predatory thinking is a great example here. 90% of advertising gets stuck at the first stage: impact – it doesn’t make it to communication. This is because everyone spends all their time talking about persuasion: how to tweak the font, the colour, this word or that word. If we get persuasion right, what chance has it got working if impact is missing? If we get impact right, then even poorly thought out persuasion has a chance of working.

Good ideas can survive bad delivery, but delivery cannot save a bad idea. So give yourself time to establish good ideas. And always think if the task you’re performing will be making an impact.

If you’d like to get in touch with us regarding our Content Marketing services, speak to our friendly team today.

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