Hi, I’m Mark.
I’m a creative director, consultant and the founder of Content Hubble. I help marketing teams in agencies and brands come up with better content ideas.
The campaigns I’ve been responsible for have gained over 38,000 links, 2.8 million social shares and 44 million visits.
But it didn’t start out that well…
My first two campaigns completely bombed!
My introduction to marketing was working as an SEO analyst at Distilled, a leading search marketing agency with offices in London, Seattle and New York.
When I joined the company, I didn’t even know that coming up with ideas would be part of my job. My first campaign earned only one link and two Facebook likes — and the second one did even worse!
This resulted in a visit from a very angry client.
It was by far the most uncomfortable meeting I’ve ever been in. And I never wanted to find myself in that position again. So I set out to find the answers to these two questions…
How do you come up with ideas?
And what makes a good idea?
My exploration took me into a number of different fields, including advertising and data visualisation.
I was trying to learn what I could, where I could, and piece things together… and eventually, I started having some success.
The first big campaign I launched was The Evolution of Dance Music, which generated 320,000 social shares and was linked to by over 1,500 different sites including Wired, The New Yorker, CNN, The Next Web and more.
I soon became the go-to guy for creative advice within the agency.
My inbox was flooded with emails from the data analyst, designer, developer, and consultants across the company, all asking for my help on their content campaigns. It actually got a bit too much — this wasn’t supposed to be my job!
But it got me thinking… maybe it should be.
I decided to forward all the emails to Will and Duncan, the company’s founders, and I made my pitch for a new role. I thought the company should start a creative team, and I should be the one to lead it. They took a little convincing, but decided to give it a go.
We started with a team of 4, and over the following years, I built the team up to 15 people. And in the process, we created some of the most well-known content campaigns in the SEO industry, many of which are still spoken about to this day (and not just by me).
Following these successes, the CEO asked me to step up and speak at the company’s SearchLove Boston conference in 2014. I spent months breaking down everything I’d learned into that presentation.
The slides from my talk ‘How to Produce Better Content Ideas’ have been viewed over 4.1 million times online.
Eventually, after 6 happy years at Distilled, the time came to move on.
As soon as I left the company, a number of brands and agencies got in touch, asking me to help them do what I’d done at Distilled – to develop their content teams and transform their creative output.
Aira was one of the first agencies to get in touch. When we started working together, their team was small, and they hadn’t had much success with their content and PR campaigns.
I was brought in to help carve out a creative process so the team could deliver the results their clients wanted. We worked on improving their content strategies, idea generation, feedback loops and more.
As a result, the content team at Aira has grown from 2 to 14 people, and they’re now an award-winning content agency, known for consistently delivering successful campaigns and earning thousands of links for their clients every year.
“Mark has been on our journey at Aira since the beginning and was an inspiration in shaping our creative team and the direction we wanted to move in with our services.
He helped us grow a team of experts by providing structured training, processes, ad-hoc support and mentoring which has played a huge part in the work we’ve been able to deliver.”Paddy Moogan – Co-founder of Aira and Author of The Link Building Book
The same two questions that drove me back then, still drive me to this day.
How do you come up with ideas?
And what makes a good idea?
I’m obsessed with breaking the creative process down into processes and frameworks with clear, concrete steps for others to follow…
Many top content creators and agency owners in SEO and Digital PR have been kind enough to credit me as an early influence and inspiration.
“My day one inspiration. Mark is honestly my favourite content creator (and presenter). I have a long list of inspiration in my bookmarks and his portfolio is top of the list.”Carrie Rose – CEO and Co-founder of Rise at Seven
“I was at the Online Marketing Network event when you first talked about the How Music Travelled piece back at the end of 2011. Feels like an age ago now, but it was one of the pieces that first inspired me to make stuff that was bigger and more adventurous than just words on a page. I don’t think I ever thanked you for that, but the pieces you were producing at Distilled back in the day were a massive influence on me.”James Finlayson – Head of Strategy at Verve Search
“I came into digital marketing from a traditional PR background. I knew nothing about data-driven content campaigns — Mark taught me that. And now I’m teaching people! He’s really creating the next generation of digital PRs and content marketers.”Shannon McGuirk – Head of PR and Content at Aira
About Content hubble
Back when I started coming up with ideas for content campaigns, there wasn’t much guidance available. I had to find insights wherever I could.
I studied books, blogs, case studies, conference presentations, courses… in all sorts of different fields — copywriting, design, data visualisation, advertising, content marketing, SEO, PR, and more.
None of them had the complete answer, but over time, and through a process of trial and error, I was able to piece things together.
This was an incredibly rich period of exploration and learning, but it was also frustrating and time-consuming!
I really wanted a mentor.
For about a year, I ran around asking everyone I could think of to mentor me — consultants, PRs, digital creatives, advertising strategists, and more. Some of the insights they shared with me were invaluable in my quest, but nobody was able to teach me exactly what I needed to know.
I wanted to follow in the footsteps of those who’d gone before me. The problem was, there weren’t many to follow.
This is the site I wish existed when I was starting out.
Not a site that shows a bunch of cool campaigns with no further insight (although those can be very useful). Not one that trots out the same old tips you can find on various blogs. And not one that gives some generic, woolly advice on creativity.
None of that!
A site that offers concrete, actionable steps… complete processes, frameworks, insights, substance, depth.
This is what you need to get good at this stuff.
This is what I’ve fought hard to discover. And this is what I want to share with you. This is what this site is for.
This is Content hubble.
The space to explore content ideas…