Simon Thompson on Building a Content Marketing Machine



Today, on Hubstaff’s Agency Advantage Podcast, I’m talking with Simon Thompson of Content Kite who shares how to build a content marketing machine for your agency.

Simon’s spent years working for agencies and big corporations, creating content strategies for major brands like Disney and BMW. He saw the power of content, but realized so few agencies were actually using these strategies to grow their own business that he launched Content Kite to do just that.

In our chat, Simon lays out how he builds lead generating content marketing machines for his agency clients, everything from coming up with topics and how to promote the content to the process for repurposing it.

He doesn’t hold anything back. This is a truly actionable interview.

If your content strategy is lacking, but you don’t think you have the time to change that, then this is the episode for you.

Grab the transcript of the episode here.

Key Takeaways

A content strategy for your agency

Simon seriously simplifies the content creation process by using what he calls the hub and spoke model. First, you come up with a central idea to base your content around, for example, a digital agency advising their readers on how to better their business through technology.

Once you have that central idea, you create spokes from it: ideas that spring naturally from the central idea. So, in our example, the digital agency might write an article about the advantages of a mobile-friendly site versus a separate mobile app.

Simon advises his clients to start with at least 12 ideas that branch off from your central idea. Then you have 12 weeks worth of content already started.

Promoting your content properly

Of course, it’s not good enough to just create content: next you have to bring traffic to that content. Simon argues that agency owners really miss the boat here. You can have the best content in the world, but if no one’s looking at it, it’s not generating any leads.

Posting links on Twitter or Facebook won’t help you if you don’t yet have a large following. So many agency leaders reach out to influencers in their field, people who have a large following, and ask them to take a look at what they’ve written, which really means, “Please share this with your followers even though you have no idea who I am or what this is about.”

According to Simon, this is a great way to get your content ignored. If you reach out to someone with a request that benefits only you, and that person doesn’t know you from Adam, they’re not going to want to help. What Simon suggests is instead to ask that influencer for a quote or a data point or some other juicy tidbit to add to your article.

Nine times out of ten, people are far more willing to do that. After all, you’re not just asking them to promote something for you: you’re saying you respect their influence and want their opinion on something they know a lot about. And if someone agrees to be quoted in an article or supplies a key data point, they’re more likely to promote it, since it enhances their brand as an expert.

Using content upgrades to capture leads

Many content creators subscribe to the idea of lead magnets, i.e. a little call to action at the end of the post, something like, “Want to see more of this? Sign up for our newsletter.” Simon argues this isn’t going far enough. General calls to action are great for more general spaces, like a homepage or a landing page. Odds are in that case the client came looking for your company and is more open to the idea of general information about what you do.

However, according to Simon, if a client clicks on your article from a different source, like Twitter or a Google search, the only thing you as a content creator know is that the client likes that article. Therefore, Simon argues for a far more specific call to action with that article.

Don’t just offer the client your newsletter; offer them something specifically related to the article, which will then hook them back to the newsletter. For example, white papers or an e-book related to the article topic is going to be far more valuable to your customer.

This might sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. A checklist is great. So is even just a PDF of the article. The idea is to give your client different ways to consume your content based on your preferences, just like we post a transcript of the podcast for people who prefer to read the interviews rather than listen to them. Be creative.

Want to learn more?

Simon offers a free, seven-day email course to help digital agencies create content in a way that is well leveraged, well promoted, gets the most email subscribers and ultimately drives more leads. Go to Sign up for it there and receive the first lesson instantly.

Be sure to also check out Simon’s new podcast, The Growth Lever Podcast, at

Resources mentioned:

Agency Advantage 65: Michael Gass on Fueling New Business With Content Marketing

Agency Advantage 63: Johnathan Dane on building a $3.6mm/yr (and growing) agency in 2 years

Agency Advantage 24: Johnathan Dane on Building a $1M Agency in Less Than 1 Year

Thanks for listening!