Content Marketing Startup is an online service run by me, Tom Kuder, to teach you practical and affordable ways to start (or restart) a business using content marketing—but what is content marketing?
Content marketing is simply a method to help your prospects and customers learn information that’s important to them, while forming a trusted business relationship. You can find out more about the basics of content marketing on my Getting Started page.
Who is Tom Kuder?
AND HOW DOES HE KNOW THIS STUFF?
I’m a guy with a grown family who learned about content marketing later in life – because I needed to. Like many of you, I’m in Plan B of my career (or maybe C, or even D).
After writing code and managing technology for Medtronic, NCR Comten and Open Systems, the world of marketing caught my eye. Over the next couple of decades, I worked my way up from product manager to executive marketing positions in some amazing companies. The largest of these were Deluxe Corporation and Pitney Bowes. But I also led marketing at several startups including Springboard Software, Coda Music Technology and Trisense Software. It was a great mix!
Then the recession hit the software industry hard. In 2008, late in my career, I was laid off.
Ummm, now what?
A ROLE MODEL AND AN INSPIRING QUOTE
At this point, I faced a choice: look for a senior-level job during high unemploment, retire way too early, or create my own future somehow.
I’d always admired my wife Kristi’s appproach to work: she’s been a freelance graphic designer since shortly after our first son was born, and enjoyed working from home with a flexible schedule and plenty of freedom.
And, she loves quotes. Goethe (“what you can do, or dream you can, begin it”) was pinned on the wall in her home studio just as I was deciding “what’s next.”
I decided to start my own business for the first time in my life.
Content Marketing Startup origins
A SHORT STORY ABOUT A LONG JOURNEY
Content Marketing Startup didn’t begin in 2008. I needed revenue, fast, so I began with something I called “AFB” consulting: Anything For a Buck. In a way, it was my first lesson on how to start a business:
Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers. (Seth Godin)
I networked like never before, and asked everyone I met what their business issues were. Usually, it boiled down to not being able to convince enough people about their solution’s value.
I studied everything I could about new communication tools: social media, ebooks, blogs, explainer videos, email marketing – and eventually, this thing called content marketing.
That was the beginning of Entente Marketing, my solo content marketing agency. I’ve been very privileged to help some awesome technology clients both large and small, including Pitney Bowes, Sage Software, ReliaFund, Clear Peak, IFX Forum, GrayHair Software, RainKing and Argos Risk.
I struggled mightily at first, and there were some very lean times early on as Kristi and I tried to make it as two freelancers with a big mortgage. But for over eight years now (and counting!) I’ve listened to what my clients needed; experimented with and delivered practical content marketing strategies and tactics; and helped support my family.
Lessons from the trenches
MORE ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER
Besides delivering an income, my agency taught me that content marketing can help small businesses define their messages better, focus on who their ideal customers are, and generate genuine interest in their solutions.
Since then, content marketing technology has gone into the stratosphere. Large brands and enterprises have invested millions in content marketing people, platforms and tools. Prices have skyrocketed, complexity has mushroomed and advice sites abound.
But what’s still missing is a way for smaller organizations – early stage startups, non-profits, freelancers, boutique agencies, even established businesses – to leverage the power and connectivity of content marketing, affordably and sensibly.
That’s why Content Marketing Startup exists —
and why I say I’ve got the content tools you need to fuel your new-business startup.
I want to share everything I’ve learned in my journey. I want you to see what works and what doesn’t, what you can do yourself and what to consider leaving for the experts.
And, I want to learn from you. What are you trying to build? What are your marketing challenges? What content questions are unanswered? What successes have you had?
Why I'm doing this
A NEW WAY TO HELP OTHER PEOPLE LEARN
I didn’t always know this, but I do now: I like to teach. I like to explore. And I like to build things.
Outside of work, I really like spending time with my family and enjoying everything that Minnesota and the world have to offer.
This website is a way for me to teach what I know, explore what I don’t, build an online business, and have more time with my family! It’s the next logical step from “in-person” consulting.
And about that life outside of work…
I love walleye fishing
I usually fish on 14,000-acre Otter Tail Lake in west central Minnesota. Every fall I go to the enormous Lake of the Woods in Canada to fish with my brothers. I practice catch and release for any fish over 20″ long, like this beauty.
- My walleye record: 25-1/2″, released
- Muskies caught, ever: 1, 36″, released
- First real fishing trip: age 12 with Dad to catch bluegills
- Why I fish:
- trying to understand my “target market”
I love Music
I’ve been a trombone player since grade school. I’ve played:
- In community bands
- In big dance bands
- In theater pit orchestras for musicals
- On a paddlewheel boat
- On a parade float
- With my niece and nephew, both talented trombonists
I’m still an amateur, and I’m still learning.
I love My family
Although our two sons Hans and Jonathan are grown and out on their own, it’s great to continue being a part of their lives.
Kristi and I recently welcomed Kaitlin into our family as our lovely daughter-in-law, and in late 2016 we met our first grand-daughter, Solvei!
Our whole family loves the outdoors and we’ve enjoyed many relaxing days at our home on Otter Tail Lake.
Ready to begin?
BEGIN A BUSINESS. BEGIN CONTENT MARKETING.
Now is the perfect time to begin. Whether you’re starting a business, starting to learn about content marketing, or both, I’m here to help you.
Spend some time exploring my Getting Started page to get the lay of the land. Read my Blog, paying special attention to posts in the “Focus” and “Aim” categories to learn what to do before creating any content.
I’ll be sharing most of my best advice for free in my newsletter. I do hope you’ll subscribe. You can do so right now using the form below.
Thanks for being here. I look forward to learning together!
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