GTD (Getting Things Done) for Content Marketing

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Getting Things Done, or GTD as its commonly known, is a productivity workflow proposed by David Allen and subscribed to by millions. This time management methodology works on the philosophy of taking actions on tasks instead of spending time recalling what is to be done.

The essentials of GTD are:

  1. Record all planned tasks and projects in a central repository called the Inbox.
  2. Sort tasks and projects and break them down into smaller action items that are either carried out immediately, or scheduled for execution at a later time.

How do you go about applying the methodology of GTD to help you create order in your content marketing?

GTD for Content Marketing

Step 1: The Inbox

We tackle the behemoth by starting with the first rule of GTD – put all the content your organization already has into your inbox. This would include product demos, videos, PPT slides, articles, blog posts, white papers, case studies, and testimonials. Once you have collectively pooled all your content it is on to content curation.

Step 2: Curate Content

According to Gregg Freishtat’s article on “A Balanced Formula for Effective Content Curation”, content curation revolves around 3 R’s – recent, reliable and relevant.

Recency is necessary as your target audience is always looking for the latest information and statistics. Out-dated content offers little value and often impacts your brand negatively.

Reliable content may not be the most recent but generally has a longer shelf-life due to its usefulness. Think about “how-to” guides, top 5 tips, infographics on key processes, and FAQs that address core issues relevant to your industry and organization. Reliable content retains value and relevancy for your audience and requires little effort and cost in revising it to keep it current.

Relevancy, the final component, is perhaps the one to be most stringent about. Check all content for consistent messaging about your brand and its relevancy for your customers.

Once you have your curated the content it is time to sort.

Step 3: Sort

Sort content by mapping it by three main criteria – Persona, Medium and Sales Cycle.

Map by Persona

In B2B we typically deal with multiple personae as there is no single buyer. Instead there is a set of buyers. These buyer personae range from the technical decision maker to the purchase decision maker , end user and influencers. Understanding each persona and analyzing what content maps best to which persona is crucial.

Map by Medium

All content is not created equal and neither is it suitable for every medium. Content created for newsletters may not be suitable for social media platforms like Twitter and vice versa. Even if you are using the same content for both platforms, it may be necessary to edit or repurpose the content with slight variations for different media.

Content that is meant to create and or enhance brand identity, usually meant for your website, should be tightly focused on your core business; while promotional or marketing material, disseminated via your blog or social media platforms, has license to be more personal and even border on the quirky.

Map by Sales Cycle

While every organization and industry has a slightly different sales cycle it can be broadly broken down into several steps that are common across all. An example of this can be found in Barbra Grago’s article on content mapping in B2B marketing. Identifying which content contains the information each buying persona needs throughout the sales cycle is an intricate but also an essential process to be undertaken.

The right information presented to the right buyer at the right time contributes to closing a sale and building your relationship and position as a trusted partner/vendor.

Step 4: Analyse Gaps in Content

Chances are after going through this whole process you will identify some missing links in your content and need to do a further content gap analysis. With this analysis you can identify the type of content you need for the different personas at the points in your sales cycle that need more attention. The strategy you formulate can include creating new content or repurposing existing content.

Step 5: Plan an Editorial Schedule

The last step in using GTD for your content marketing is to plan an editorial schedule and break it down to actionable tasks for yourself and your team. Do remember that you need to keep churning out relevant, reliable content to keep and grow your mindshare with your target audience.

Have you benefited from GTD? Tell us how it’s worked for you in marketing!

Read more: Thoughtful, well-designed content marketing solutions to engage your audience, from GetIT Comms


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February 4, 2013


For implementing GTD you can use this application: Gtdagenda 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.