My first main marketing objective, after the rebrand, is to get our content marketing plan in place.

We are literally starting from ground zero.

This is a brand new domain and it means this is our current situation:

launching content plan

  • zero links
  • zero keyword rankings
  • zero presence

Now, we’ll get some early juice from redirecting pages, but there aren’t any blog posts and the rankings are minimal as up to now, nothing was put into SEO or content.

That’s why I’m here. 😀

A little background…

In September, I came aboard as COO / Partner and my primary responsibility is growth.

I started as an entrepreneur in 2008 with a digital marketing agency, so this is my cup of tea.

I founded a software company called LeadFuze in 2014. I actually live blogged the launch of the business over a 24 hour period.

And I never looked back when it came to content. It started on day 0 and it’s something that LeadFuze still invests into.

Gist is different.

This isn’t bootstrapped. We’ve no raised a little over $1 million USD for our seed round.

When I came we were nearly 20 team members and no one was in marketing. Everyone was either in engineering or support.

My first order of business was to bring on a content marketer and a product education specialist.

I understand this isn’t a luxury everyone will have, but everything I lay out in this post can be done with or without a team. All that changes is the timeline.

Getting Started

The Gist

  • Choose Relevant Topics to Your Brand and Industry
  • Find a Few Formats that Fit (Huge list in an image below)
  • Decide on the Tone of Voice for Your Brand and Content Medium

The first order of business is getting a content strategy together. I’ve written on this before for Hubspot. I get tweets on this almost daily despite having compiled it nearly five years ago, but it’s still relevant.

Additionally, we recently did an interview with Alfred Lua of Buffer to discuss how they are completely revamping their content marketing strategy.

We needed to decide what we were going to talk about (topics), how we were going to talk about it (content format), and the way we were going to talk about it (voice).


Luckily, Gist is a pretty broad product that helps marketing, sales, and support teams to have a central source of truth for managing the entire customer journey. This gives us a lot of topics.

To boost the effectiveness of the topics, we’ve decided to give our content a running start by creating content “hubs”.

One main piece of content based on a lucrative keyword (or keywords) written to include all of the information around the topic. Then, whenever we create something related, we link to it. Over time, we’ll have a mountain of words and videos pointing to our key phrases.


This didn’t take long as I knew the first order of business was making this blog the best that it could be. We’ll be branching out over time to webinars, podcasts, more video, and repurposing content in a number of other ways – but this blog is the focus for now.


We decided on a more personal and casual tone while focusing on actionable and how-to type content. We’ll be sharing tons of case studies, and everything that went right 🍻and wrong 😳with our own strategies.

“The Gist”

One thing we came up with was a concept called “The Gist”. This will be placed into each blog post right after subheadings, to summarize what readers are about to read in that section.

The idea is that most readers are skimmers (and probably aren’t even reading this 👋) and are scanning through subheadings. This will come right after it to ensure skimmers at least have a deeper experience.

The other benefit of these sections, is that we’ll take these and put them into quick consumption videos to use for Instagram and Facebook stories. The goal for The Gist sections is to be “thumb-stopping.”

Our Content Guidelines

The Gist

  • Research and Set Content Guidelines (for You and Guest Contributors)
  • Weave in Your Content Marketing Strategy into Your Guidelines
  • Decide on How to Launch or Re-launch Your Content Efforts

Once we got the topics, the format, and the voice finalized – we needed to have our content guidelines.

Although we use these as guest post guidelines, they serve as the rules for us internally as well.

Some highlights to mention:

  1. We have the email of our content manager at the bottom to ensure rules were read.
  2. We have a minimum of 1,000 word count. The more content, the better chance it has to rank for more keywords.
  3. Emphasize the topics and voice we’re looking for as outlined above.
  4. The writing style to include bullet/numbered lists like this, subheadings, imagery, linking, and overall formatting rules.
  5. We contain full ownership of the content so we can continuously update and optimize the post to keep it relevant.

Another worthwhile thing to mention, this is actually part of our overall link building process. This is because instead of doing a guest swap (it takes a lot of effort to write quality content), we instead require the guest post author links to us within an existing piece of content they have published.

Without a link to us from one of their existing pieces of content, we won’t go live with their post.

This will help ensure links for us, while doing the same for them (on top of any email and social promotion).

Of course, we’ll be doing guest posting ourselves to help us establish authority while being another channel for link building. When we do it ourselves, we get to target specific sites we can partner with.

Our Research Process

How we’ll do research for topics and keywords

Content Promotion

Unfortunately, everything I’ve talked about up to this point is only 20% of the battle. The other 80% is all in how you go about promoting the content you’ve created.

Here are some of the content promotion items on our task list:

content promotion checklist


We’ll be going into much more detail with our promotion process (and the results of those efforts) in future posts.


We actually “went live” with before the actual launch / announcement of the rebrand.

We went live with almost 10 different pieces of content (including this one). This way, when readers came to the blog there was material to read.

Additionally, I wanted to get the benefit of being indexed in Google and hopefully start gaining rankings sooner rather than later.

That said, we won’t actually be promoting all the content to the email list right away. We’ll drip it out every two to three days over the coming weeks. This is a way for us to stay top of mind.

Note: You can still launch or pivot your content, even if you currently have a blog, podcast, etc.. It’s necessary to evolve your strategy to what’s working over time. One example of this is Buffer.

What’s Next

We plan to publish multiple pieces of content each and every week.

We’ll be experimenting a ton with send times, send days, email format and more.

Since we’re documenting everything we do, we’ll be sharing many of these insights as we go. If you want to see how we execute on our content marketing strategy – be sure and subscribe to the blog!


Justin McGill
About Author:
Justin McGill is the COO/Partner of Gist, an all-in-one single source of truth to manage every interaction during the customer lifecycle.