Jimmy Daly On Content Marketing, Entrepreneurship, And Everything In Between
Jimmy Daly is the co-founder and CEO of Superpath, a career resource for content marketers.
Prior to this he was the Marketing Director at Animalz, a premium content marketing agency, and has been a long-time B2B content marketer.
Jimmy also ran content marketing at Vero and Quickbooks, he’s advised Fortune 500 companies, worked in account management and started successful blogs from scratch.
That’s not all, he also started CMCG (now Superpath), one of the largest communities for marketing professionals.
In this exclusive interview, he talks about everything from starting his own business to content marketing, philosophies that inspire him, and his secret passion.
Let’s dive in!
Q1. What is the story behind Superpath? What inspired you to start this business?
I started the CMCG Slack community a year and a half ago. I put no effort into it and it kept growing. It was obvious to me that there was a need in this space for people to talk about career development and skill development.
That got me thinking and I started batting ideas around with my then boss, Walter Chen. We started coming up with some ideas for a job board and some courses and things like that.
And, eventually, he said, “Hey, why don’t I help you fund this thing, and let’s get it going.” So that was the catalyst.
Q2. In your experience so far, what are the three things that most brands get wrong when it comes to content marketing?
There are so many things. I think one is oversimplifying content marketing. What I mean by that is that companies just assume that content marketing is for building top-of-the-funnel traffic and they don’t think about it with enough context.
Content marketing can be used to support sales, it’s a key part of product marketing. It’s part of your support. There are various ways that content marketing can fit into a business and be more helpful than just growing top of the funnel.
This is why we often see websites with plenty of traffic and no conversions. That’s a misapplication of content marketing.
Another mistake is that companies try to publish too much content. They try to treat their blog like a publication when it probably ought to be more like a library. When you publish too much content, you don’t allow yourself space and time to do really good work.
Also, I think companies have this idea that they’re going to build up an audience, like a group of people who come back to read the site regularly. That’s not how it typically works, especially in B2B SaaS.
Most folks would be better off creating really great SEO assets, building a very flat site architecture.
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Q3. What is the key difference between a good content marketer and a great content marketer?
A good content marketer can take an idea or a content brief and put together a decent article. They can go and do research, they can cite examples, they can format it correctly, they can optimize it for search, they can do that on a regular basis.
A great content marketer can see the whole field. They can see the 30,000-foot view. They understand exactly how their work is supporting the business and they take that perspective and use it to frame everything that they do. They tell a narrative about the work that they’re doing.
They build a strategy that is very specifically designed to help the business in maybe just one or two ways. They don’t just rely on traffic generation to measure whether or not their work is successful.
They can really hone in on great ideas and they’ll elevate those great ideas over just another SEO post.
A great content marketer also understands how to use a spreadsheet if not even write a little bit of SQL. Like they’re very analytical. They can take all the data they have available to them and use it to make really good decisions.
I know that’s a lot but in my experience, that’s what makes for a really great content marketer.
Q4. What is that one thing that you wish you knew before you started your own business? What advice would you give to someone who wants to start something similar?
It’s harder than I thought, for sure. I think I was pretty naïve, in some ways. If I knew it was going to be as hard as it is, I don’t know, maybe it would have scared me off. So in some ways, my naivete was a good thing.
One other thing I wish I knew was that self-doubt is real, imposter syndrome is real. Those things sometimes weigh very heavily on you and can make it really difficult to have the right perspective.
There are days when I feel like it’s not working and if I were to look and think more clearly, I could look at it and say, actually we’ve built a real business here. It’s not everything I hope it to be right this second, but we have built a great business.
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Another thing I wish I knew when I was starting this business was that, if you can’t delegate and automate as much of your work as possible, you’re going to be miserable and you have no one to blame for your misery but yourself. I try to do so many things myself. That doesn’t scale, it just doesn’t work for very long.
It’s only been two months since I’ve finally started delegating work and hiring people to help me out that’s making my life easier. It’s still not easy, but it’s been easier. I still have a ton of work to do.
But basic things like managing my inbox, my calendar, getting other people to help me write content, getting help with moderating the community, and more. I’ve wanted to do all that myself but getting people to help me with that, that’s been great.
In terms of advice, I would say that make sure it’s something you’re really excited about because there will be bad days and there will be hard times.
You’ve got to really want it or else when you hit those challenging times, if the WHY isn’t strong enough, it will be very tempting to give up and to get a job. Make sure it’s something you’re really, really excited about.
Q5. What are some of the philosophies that inspire you in your work?
I would say one is that I am trying to build a life that I love living and currently I think my life’s pretty awesome. I’m pretty excited about it and I’m trying to get this business to support that in a new way.
I hope that in five years I am not working 40 to 50 hours a week. I hope I’m working 20 hours a week. There’s kind of this long-term view that does not involve me at a computer eight to ten hours every single day.
Another is that I’m really trying to lean heavily into things that I love doing. I love content marketing. I’m trying to create a business that allows me to do the thing I want to do.
That’s a key part of our Superpath membership where I’m creating content for our members. So, if I can monetize things I love doing, that’s gonna make me happier.
Q6. What’s your secret passion?
That’s a pretty easy one, it’s ultra-marathoning. I love running very long distances. I live in the Rocky Mountains, we have trails everywhere. Two summers ago I ran a hundred-mile trail race.
I’m scheduled to do that again this summer. I just love being outside, being on trails, running up mountains, it’s just the best.