Successful content marketing is much more about “perspiration” than it is “inspiration.” Most marketers can come up with an idea for a clever e-book, quirky video or trippy infographic, but few invest the energy in actually producing any of those things. Creating content is marketing’s lunch pail discipline, and the best content marketers are those that work the hardest.

Enter Michele Linn, the director of content development for the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). Michele’s marketing time card has taken more punches than George Foreman. Her output, of course, speaks for itself. Today she published a remarkable case study, titled “How To Launch A Killer Content Marketing Campaign In A Few Months.” Seriously, download it. Like, now.

Because the case highlights the work Eloqua, along with our partner JESS3, has done in this area to increase awareness and drive revenue performance, I had the luxury of watching Michele work, first-hand. And, although she cheers Eloqua’s efforts in this area, I learned a lot by observing her approach to the content marketing trade. I learned this: the bluer the collar the better the output. Here are some examples:

  • Michele did her homework. Lots of it. As you might expect, a 10-page, data-rich case study required dozens of conversations, on- and off-line. But what was unique to Michele’s approach was the work she put in prior to these exchanges. Even before our first communication, Michele was already well versed in the details of Eloqua’s content marketing program. Her investment allowed our conversations to center on context, personalities, challenges, regrets, surprises – you know, the kind of thing that separates good work from exceptional work.
  • Some people claim they “don’t watch the clock.” Forget the clock. Michele doesn’t watch the calendar. Know when she sent me a preview of the case? New Year’s eve.
  • “Quality is job one.” Michele lives up to the tagline that Ford (at the time) couldn’t. She makes quality “job one.” That is, she was not only diligent about the accuracy of what she wrote (remember the art of fact checking, anyone?), but she was also focused on the way the case looked. She knew that substance and style form the Yin and the Yang of great content, and she refused to ship this case until it met her 101-point inspection.

I believe in fast. I would rather deliver 80% first than 100% last. (Heck, sometimes I’d rather deliver 80% first than 100% second.) Michele taught me that I’ve been making a false choice. Fast and “killer” need not be mutually exclusive – as long as you are willing to wear out a few time cards in the process.

Oh, and for those who want to know a little more about the content highlighted in today’s CMI case study, here is Michele’s blog post on the case, and embedded below is Eloqua’s summary:

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