Top 5 Things to Know About Content Marketing

27 April 2017 | 18 Comments

I’ve written thousands of  words over the last few years discussing the merits of content marketing, but a few days ago I listened to a a discussion between Chris Rowlands and Gabe Barrett on the Board Game Design Lab podcast that said it better than I ever have.

Content marketing is attracting and building an audience by creating regular content, whether it be a blog, podcast, Youtube channel, etc. It’s something you do well before you seek to sell anything, and it’s something you continue well after you’ve started to sell.

I’d highly recommend that you listen to the podcast, but I thought I’d summarize my 4 favorite points made by Chris and Gabe, and I’ll add 1 of my own.

  1. It’s all about social equity. I’ve learned not to underestimate the goodwill generated by helping people through the content I create. My estimation (a general rule of thumb) is that about 10% of the people who consume your content will support the first thing you try to sell. We saw this happen last year to an extreme with The Oatmeal’s impact on the Exploding Kittens Kickstarter campaign.
  2. It’s not a trick. People can tell the difference between someone with a genuine passion and desire to add value to the world vs. someone who is trying to leverage an audience to their advantage. It’s an odd thing, but the key to content marketing really is to not think about marketing. Like, take my Kickstarter Lessons blog. I write it out of a genuine desire to help my fellow creators. Even if I never sold another product, I would still write this blog.
  3. It’s an opportunity for people to know you (and you them). Gabe says this really well on the podcast, “You’re more likely to support people you feel like you know.” Content creation is a fantastic way to expose yourself to the world and create relationships with those who consume and interact with it.
  4. It can be as easy as documenting your process. You don’t have to approach a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel with an intent to teach. Rather, you can add value to other people simply by documenting your creative process. The key is to have the mindset of helping others as you do–that means being transparent with your mistakes and your successes. Recently I was elated to see Michael Iachini start blogging again for this very reason.
  5. It’s not enough by itself. You might have a fascinating, invaluable YouTube channel with 100k followers, but if you try to sell something to those fans that isn’t well made, looks terrible, and has a hugely overinflated price, it’s not going to matter that you spent years creating all of that content. In short, when you’re creating your project page, pretend that you don’t have a single fan so you can strive to make it as appealing as possible.

Who is one content creator you will gladly support if they ever try to sell something? Maybe try to pick someone who doesn’t already have a big audience, and feel free to share a link.

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18 Comments on “Top 5 Things to Know About Content Marketing

  1. I’ve recently started a blog/vlog about my journey into crowdfunding. I want to expand the scope of my content beyond just my personal journey and talk about game design in general. Right now I’m facing what I imagine a lot of other people face when trying to break into the content marketing scene – impostor syndrome.
    I really believe I have a unique (or at least rare) take on tabletop games and game design, but when I see so many blogs and podcasts from people who have already designed half a dozen games or more, or who have a masters degree in game theory or who have been in the industry for decades, I think to myself – what could I possibly bring to that table?!

    But where I come from there is a saying “The cow wants to give milk just as much as the calf wants to get it” (doesn’t translate well, I know…)

    So right now I’m trying to cultivate the mindset that these are training wheels for me and that I want to get this content out there and reach people, even if, at first, I am not able to compete with these Goliaths of content.

    1. I think it’s great that you’re seeking to process your thoughts in writing and add value to others! I would recommend continuing to pursue it with that mindset–it’s not about competing with other content. :)

  2. Thanks, I will take a look at them. Right now I am reading Content Inc by Joe Pulizzi. I have found it very informative while also doing a good job of asking questions for the reader to answer. I think this is good because it helps you go from being a passive reader to an active participant. Have you ever taken any courses that you found beneficial?

  3. Hey Jamey,

    Your blog is great and you do an amazing job with content marketing. I’ve really seen the value of it through what you do and the community that it builds. Is there any books or articles about content marketing that has really inspired you? I’ve read a few books that talk about it (including yours) and I was wondering if you had a book or something else that really inspired you to buy in and determine that this type of marketing was right for you?


  4. Great post – content marketing is really important! It’s how I found you. :)

    Question- do you have any suggestions about finding your niche for content ideas (that isn’t just documenting your progress)? Things that are interesting/useful that aren’t talking about yourself?

    You primarily write about your Kickstarter experiences… what would you write about if you didn’t have that knowledge to share?

    BTW, Your articles have been super helpful. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Ron! My overall advice is (a) find something you’re consistently excited about and (b) talk about it in a way that adds value to other people.

      If I didn’t have crowdfunding/entrepreneurship insights to share, I may just write about a bunch of random stuff like I do on my personal blog ( or about game design (as I do on my YouTube channel (–ZnaYNw).

      There’s more recommendations here:

  5. Jamey,

    That was a great podcast…I’m hoping to catch-up with Gabe at some point. For me, the big “take away” was “just start doing something for the community.” It’s really that easy. So many designers and developers would love to have the assistance…or on the other side of the coin, we’re not done with content because of The Dice Tower, as evidenced by the now hundreds of board gaming-related podcasts, blogs, vlogs, etc.

    For me, I only listen to a few podcasts, but I heartily enjoy the Company Bard by Steve Ruduski. He’s conveyed quite a bit of knowledge over the past nearly two years if memory serves, so I would certainly back something that he’s created.


  6. Great post jamie!

    I would back KS by Nick from BoardGameBrawl, or Cody from The Discriminate Gamer.
    They work incredibly hard, mainly for benefit of gamers.

  7. Hey Jamey,

    Another great entry! I know that as a blogger I really struggle with writing consistently and not feeling like I’m the only one that reads what little I write. You make a good point about it being as simple as documenting your process, which is what I’ve been trying to do, but at times I feel like how much more can I add to the plethora of information out there. I think I just need to set aside a set time to write and just do it, but with only so many hours in a day…….

    As for someone who i love and would back anything they put out I would have to say that the hosts of Cardboard Architect fit into this category. Chris Renshall is one half of TGIK Games and they successfully funded their first campaign later last year. While I was only able to pledge a dollar (and wish I could have done more) I tried to support the campaign in other ways by sharing it on social media as much as I could. And if Joe Brogno ever puts anything on Kickstarter, I would likely do the same for him :)

    On a more self promoting front, the author of the post at is not half bad and could use some support :)

  8. I insta-back everything Stuart Garside and District31 launches since it’s first try last year. Though British, his sense of humor is appealing to anyone! :P

    Seriously, he has done an amazing job with his card games, and I am eager to see the upcoming bigger games! The communication in the Comments section (if I dare say), reminds me of you, Jamey!!

    Currently running:

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