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Editor's Notes

  • I have six things to share with you in less than 30 minutes. Let’s get to it.
  • In the year 2000, Penton Media was one of the largest B2B Media companies in the world. I was hired by Penton in February 2000 as an account manager in the Custom Media group. At the time, their stock price was $34 a share with revenues of almost a half a billion.
  • Penton went public in 1998 at $16 a share. By 2000, the stock had doubled and was headed toward a half a billion dollars.
  • 2 years after I was hired, the stock went from $34 to 7 cents. A comination of 9/11, the recession and being drastically overleveraged crushed Penton.
  • Then 9/11 happened. Then the recession. Penton was overleveraged and let go of hundreds of people. I took over the department simply because I was cheap labor and Penton management really didn’t care about our content marketing division.
  • In my first meeting with my new boss, let’s call him Bill, I put on the dog and pony show…all the good things we were doing, our corporate mags and newsletters. I thought it was amazing. At the end of the presentation, he asked me why I was wasting time on all this and not selling advertising.
  • I did an Andy Dufresne. Every two weeks I sent an interoffice memo to my boss, his boss and his boss talking about amazing content marketing case studies or the wins we were having. And we continued this effort consistently for four years. We ended up growing our little group that no one cared about, in a horrific environment, from 10 people to 30, from $2 million in revenues to $14 million.
  • Believe it or not, it worked. Slowly, we won over my boss and the CEO…more divisions bought into the concept and the group is still around today as part of Informa Engage.
  • You can bet that anyone in a position of power in your company has no frickin clue about content marketing. Content Marketing Programs don’t get killed because of a lack of results, they get killed because the people with the purse strings in your company just don’t get it. They have no idea what you are doing. You want to keep your program? Start your own content effort to your executive team and tell them about the benefits of content marketing…every week without stop.
  • Remember when Casper’s shut down their sleep site Van Winkle. IT wasn’t because of lack of results…it was because the executive team didn’t have a clue what they were doing.
  • I made a mistake. I’ve been preaching about why content marketing programs die for years…mostly because of a lack of a documented strategy, or a lack of consistent publishing, they don’t differentiate, the content’s not truly valuable, or a severe lack of patience. While those things are critical, I realized I was wrong. Content marketing programs die because we don’t sell them internally.
  • Slide with reasons why content marketing fails – Internal Buy in #1
  • Okay…so let’s hedge your bets. Internal selling is a must, but so is revenue diversification.
  • $260 million in branded ecommerce sales, up from 130 million. This is a media company folks.
  • Tripled revenue since 2016. Almost covering entire costs of operation. Chart of CC’s model

    ·         Display ad revenue (both direct and programmatic) – this is by far the biggest (seven figures per year)
    ·         Sponsored content packages (directly sold, primarily on ConsultQD/physician content side of things and mostly tied to medical meetings/conference campaigns)
    ·         Syndication revenue
    ·         Content creation projects (like Google)
    ·         Increases brand awareness and patient volumes
    ·         Consulting opportunities as result of the success
    Hope that helps? Let me know if you need anything else.
    I’ve totally blown up my team and have a new operation focused on increasing revenue. Goal is to 5x traffic and ad revenue in the next 3 years. Looking at traffic data differently now too – ComScore data is the key now… Kinda crazy. Really building out our “media organization” within the enterprise. I’m now responsible for content across the entire Cleveland Clinic website. J
  • I’m an entrepreneur. What I know about first-time entrepreneurs is that they fail 90% of the time.
  • Stanford loves entrepreneurs and unicorns. But that’s a huge risk. What’s less risky and more successful? Acquiring businesses. Why does Stanford have this class? Because acquired companies survive as a MUCH MUCH higher rate than startups.
  • You are launching content startups with the worst possible odds. In actuality, that should be your last resort. You should first get out there and purchase something already in the market, already with an audience. Learn the art of content acquisition.

    Great Publishing companies always look to buy first, while marketers always look to create fresh…almost a failed strategy from the beginning.
  • Computer hardware manufacturer Raspberry PI wanted to start a custom PC and photography magazine. Instead of starting from zero, they want out and purchased them from Dennis Publishing.
  • Arrow Electronics wanted to build the largest audience in the B2B electronics space. Instead of launch a massive undertaking, they bought there way there.
  • Why didn’t Nike or Under Armour or Adidas buy this site?
  • Purchase by Yeti Coolers, or Remington or Winchester Rifles.
  • Bought by who? This could have been Pepsi or 5 Hour Energy.
    But they were never even considered, because no one is thinking about this. It’s madness.
  • Mailchimp recently launched a collection of content meant to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit. I love mailchimp. I’m a customer.
  • All in, they launched 9 different shows, including documentaries, podcast, film series and more. And I’m almost 100% sure this is going to go down in flames.
  • Every great media enterprise since the dawn of humankind has started by doing one thing incredibly well. A great podcast, and exceptional magazine, a cutting-edge blog or video series. Most of you are doing many things in mediocrity. The solution is to kill the losers and put your energy toward the one that can be truly exceptional. Restart and rebuild.
  • Or. Ryan Seacrest…I’m getting ready to go to a meeting in the morning and he’s on the morning show…then I get in the car and he’s on the radio…then he’s on American Idol at not. I hate you Ryan Seacrest.
    Ryan Seacrest is not a human being.
  • Good line…generally mediocre at best. This is most of us.
  • Here’s the great line.
  • You actually give yourself a chance to produce 10x content.
  • 15 Years ago…started with just a blog and an enewsletter.
  • Most of us are looking for a hookup. We are looking to sell more of a product over a short period of time. That has to be the worst thing in the world.

    CM Awards – 10 of 14 Project of the Year submissions were started and stopped in less than a year. On purpose.
  • Did Jeff Bezos create Amazon prime to sell more products? Well, yes and no. Amazon’s goal with their subscription programs is to sell you stuff forever, and turn you into a better customer, not a one-time sale. Amazon knows if they can get people to subscribe to great content, they buy more over a long period of time. They become their best customers.
  • Amazon doesn’t want to date you.
    Amazon wants subscribers – to Prime and to Kindle – because they stay longer and spend more money. Amazon wants to marry you. And they’ve done a pretty darn good job of it.
  • Content marketers want a hookup…we are using content to get our customers to buy as quickly as possible, and then we stop and date someone else.
  • We’ve been seduced to thinking that content marketing is creating content to get a sale. This is not true. Content marketing’s goal is to create better customers over a long period of time. REPEAT
  • You move on leaving the customer high and dry. You got what you wanted…time to move on to the next.
  • date date date…propose to you

    Do they dishes, dust the family room, take the kids to a movie so you can have some alone time.
  • Apologies to all your devils out there.
  • The Republic of Cyprus is an island country in the Mediterranean. Population is a hair over one million people. If you heard about this, in 2013, they went bankrupt. In order to stay solvent and remain in the EU, the government raided the bank accounts of the citizens of Cyprus.
  • At the same time, Facebook was taking away our access to what we thought was our audience. But the worst is yet to come.
  • Begin the decoupling process. First they took access, next they will take our freedom to publish.
  • Here’s my big six. Right now, they allow our content on their platforms, because it’s good for their business. But there will come a time in the next few years where it doesn’t…where they will more and more be blocking our content…and trading it in for their own or creating algorithms even more than they are right now, give special status to a select few.
  • Our content is a major liability. It is going to go away.
  • Leveraging social media to pull subscribers into their 100+ different email newsletters, and now has 4.7 million subscribers, adding 200k per quarter. This is where we need to go.
  • Buzzfeed’s enewsletter saved their business and launched their ecommerce business.
  • You’ll only be able to advertise on those platforms.
  • Just say no. Just say no.