Building a content marketing plan with James Schramko (part 1)

Yesterday I chatted with James Schramko on my Web Domination podcast about content marketing and how he’s built a $2m+ business on the back of his own authority. You can listen to the episode below or check out the full episode here.

[buzzsprout episode='53783' player='true']

Building your own strategy

In this 2 part post I’m going to lay out a step by step plan to use content marketing in your niche based on what I’ve learnt myself over the years and what I learnt from James yesterday.

In this post I’ll outline the strategy and some high level considerations before getting into the individual methods on the next post.


To me a lot of content marketing has to do with attitude. Putting yourself out there requires that you are confident and consistent, it forces you to ship content regularly and put yourself out there.

Do you relate to this statement?

I like my website to have corporate information and I’m worried if I give too much information away my competitors will steal it or customers will just take the free stuff and not buy anything. 

If you relate to this, change your attitude or look for other ways to market your business.
If not, do you relate to this?

I will tell everyone everything I know, I’m not worried about competitors stealing my information (if they want to be one step behind me then great). I’m confident that I will build my authority to the point where I will be seen as the expert in my field that enough customers will want to buy from me and I’m happy to help out people who want the free stuff aswell. 

This is the level of confidence required to really succeed at content marketing. When you meet people who excel at this they are:
  1. Supremely confident
  2. Generally pretty thick skinned
  3. Huge producers of work (articles, ebooks, videos etc)

If you don’t have these characteristics or you can’t build them it’s going to be tough to succeed at content marketing.

High level considerations

Before you look into the individual methods to use it’s worth considering a few things strategy wise as these will impact on how successfully you can pull off the various methods.

A team

James has a team of 76 people in his business and I know he gets a lot of help with every aspect of his content marketing efforts. In the past I’ve employed a number of support staff that have helped with content marketing (see my post How to hire virtual assistances from the Philippines). Whether or not you have a team will impact on your routine and process and your leverage efforts as well.

Routine and process

All of the people I have spoken to (including James) who are doing a great job with content have a routine and a schedule of some sort.

In my case I use a combination of recurring calendar appointments in Google Apps and Evernote. I know Dan and Ian from the lifestyle Business Podcast use appointments and Google Docs. Every Thursday they record a podcast, it doesn’t matter if they are in a cafe, on a bus, whatever they’ll record one.

Content marketing is a lot of work you need to think about how you will get through all the work. If you employ a team they need to be part of this process as well.


James has a well thought out strategy of how all of his content will be leveraged in other places. A few examples are:

  • His daily business updates are recorded in video and his team rips out the audio and he publishes a video version for his site as well as an Audio version as a podcast for iTunes.
  • His physical events are all recorded and in his private forum, he posts all of the videos and uses it as a selling point to get people into the forum.
  • His podcast episodes are summarised and fully transcribed for his blog.

These are just a few examples and if you are producing a lot of content it’s worth thinking about how you might do this particularly if you are in a position to utilise a Virtual Assistant to help with some of this stuff.

Engagement with your audience

One thing that content marketing requires is a regular engagement with your audience. Here is what I mean:

  • The best blogs have lots of comments, the best bloggers will respond to these comments (often every single one of them).
  • The best podcasts have listeners that leave reviews or call up and ask questions.
  • The best people on Twitter are constantly engaging with their followers.
All of this is a lot of work and you have to want to engage with people so keep that in mind before you start.

Strategy Mapping

Lucid Chart is a free web based tool for mapping out ideas

Assuming if you’ve made it to this point then you are ready to start thinking about how you might build a content marketing strategy. It’s unlikely that you will be able or prepared to implement every single one of the methods that James talks about on the podcast. So where I would start is working out which ones appeal to you and your market and picking out the ones you want to start with.

I have done this for my content marketing strategy for my new Web Control Room app business using the free online flowcharting tool Lucid Chart. This is still work in progress but here is how it’s looking (click on the image to download the PDF).

Click on the image to see my ‘in progress’ authority marketing plan in PDF form for Web Control Room.

Part 2

In the next part in this series I’m going to address all of the different content marketing I discussed with James and how to get started with each method.

If you have any questions about the high level stuff feel free to comment below.

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About Alex

Alex Retzlaff is the owner of A Website Designer and Web Circle.

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Twitter @webcircle
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Web Circle website

23 Responses to “Building a content marketing plan with James Schramko (part 1)”

  1. Kasi July 20, 2012 at 1:49 am #

    This statement is currently causing me a lot of frustration: “I like my website to have corporate information and I’m worried if I give too much information away my competitors will steal it or customers will just take the free stuff and not buy anything.” I am fighting so hard to change this attitude at my company so that we can be a more approachable business. I just got turned down to add a blog to the site. :-(

  2. Dan July 21, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    Ha, yeah I know the feeling. It’s an attitude thing, it’s either there or it aint!

  3. Jeff July 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Nice article, based on your criteria, I will need to find someone to run the content on my site, very very time consuming.

  4. Bird Deterrent July 28, 2012 at 3:03 am #

    Ideally I’d like to share as much content as I can but I’m in the same situation as Kasi. My company is reluctant to embrace transparency and that presents a problem for me as an internet marketer. My company has a blog at least but all the content posted there has to be approved by management and that takes forever. Very interesting post. Looking forward to part 2

  5. Dan July 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    Yep that’s for sure, it takes a lot of time.

  6. Mel July 31, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    I absolutely agree with your statement about telling everyone everything you know and not being worried about the competition…

    Once you have got this mindset and genuinely work to build a reputation based on this principle – you can’t fail. These mindset habits date right back to the thinkings of Dale Carnegie – they still apply now. Thanks for your insights..

  7. JanB August 3, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    In some lines of business the use of blogging to promote their products or servicesis almost non existent. For instance Insurance and Banking. Transparency is (in Holland, where I come from) mandatory and governed by law.
    How do you see the right approach to convince them to invest in blogging?

  8. Faissal Alhaithami August 5, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

    Attitude does make a different when it comes to planning an effective content marketing strategy. Unless you have truly made up your mind to help your target audience at no cost and not worry about the competition, you won’t be able to obtain success with your content marketing efforts.

    Thanks for sharing these insights!

  9. David August 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    People are tired of impersonal information online, the information that is copied from one site to another. That’s why the project that show personal attitude to the readers, followers are so popular today. They show that it is matter for them what people will find on their resources.

  10. Alex August 10, 2012 at 12:51 am #

    Hi David, I could not agree more. This blog is all about “real” and unique content.

  11. Alex August 10, 2012 at 1:18 am #

    Hi Jan, things are changing, CBA is working hard to “be social”, use blogging, etc… and the rest will simply follow.

  12. sam August 10, 2012 at 7:09 am #

    I think we all are aware that some people just copy and paste other people´s stuff and make a blog post, I am toying with the idea of writing stuff from the heart, after all, we are humans with emotions dealing with other humans with emotions, real life experiences always capture peoples attention I think

  13. Dan August 10, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Hey Mel, thanks for the comment. I’m not sure about ‘Can’t fail’! I don’t think it guarantees success but it’s certainly an approach that works for me.

  14. Thompson August 18, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    Guys, Attitude should be different in different business and in case of content marketing needs attitude like Dan have. And people follow the blog/post/magazines having healthy and open information in today’s world of competition.

    @sam you are right but people doing copy and paste will never get success in their as they can get with their own ideas.

  15. Amcee@AZ World August 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    I agree, I guess having a strong and positive attitude could bring you a certain distance where success lies and waiting. I guess the law of the universe applies here, as such being a giver will return 10 folds in you.

  16. Alex August 29, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    Hi Sam, I agree that some people copy and paste. Not good. You can always get ideas from other people, but I also agree, content from the heart always connects.

  17. Alex August 29, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Hi Angelina, I agree that different businesses have their own unique requirements, including attitude. Some attitudes though are common to all success.

  18. Lopez September 2, 2012 at 4:22 am #

    Yes, you are correct, A team is the high level consideration for content marketing and our team can spread all around the world.And the essential skills for Content Marketing teams are – While it depends on the role but there are certainly some skills needed – a good communicator(people should feel welcome by their communication),creative in work, and good business skills.

  19. Thompson September 11, 2012 at 7:43 am #

    Every body knows some people are doing copy and paste things for the contents on their site but I really don’t think its a good idea. If you want to see your website to perform well then you should provide genuine contents on your site, By genuine I mean contents should be original and should be written from the depth of heart that makes the content perfect. Anyways thanks for nice article and now I want to read part 2.

  20. Alex September 16, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    Hi Faith Thompson. Thanks for the feedback, and I agree with the need for original content. Stay posted for part 2.

  21. Alexander October 13, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    You did a very great work Dan. I am very much impressed with your writing and the information you provided here will be really helpful for the people looking for content marketing. I am in content marketing for last 4 years and with my experience I can say that you are absolutely right about plan making for content marketing. Please keep this good work going. Now I am ready for reading next part.

  22. zumbafitnessonxbox October 14, 2012 at 1:21 am #

    I think content marketing is now intersecting with the thinking around the changing customer and how to engage with him/her. We’ve been push marketing for so long that many businesses have forgotten how to engage in a marketplace.

  23. Alex October 14, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    Thanks for the feedback. I think you brought up an important point about the lost art of engaging in the marketplace.

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