Why I’m Placing the Biggest Bet of My Life on Content
I’m an operator.
By that, I don’t mean you can talk to me by dialing zero on a landline, or that I operate heavy machinery. Rather, I love bringing order to things. I love helping people and businesses reach their peak performance and be their absolute best.
I started my career as a financial analyst, but the last dozen years of my career have been spent in content, on the revenue side of the fast-changing digital media and marketing landscape. At Everyday Health, Dotdash, and most recently as chief business officer at Time Inc., I leaned hard into content services to transform the business and combat fast-receding, traditional revenue channels.
The digital revolution has delivered a whirlwind of changes, but one thing has remained constant: Content is the best way for companies to connect with people. Throughout the consumer journey, it’s the essential component to delivering on the promise of your brand.
As someone who values execution excellence above all else though, one thing has always pained me: the incredible level of content chaos inside enterprise organizations.
Content is a more complicated challenge than anyone realizes. It’s one thing to create a great Instagram video, one solid sales deck, or a single one-sheet. It’s an entirely other thing to create consistent, high-quality content that ladders up to business goals across all of your channels, lines of business, and geographies. Very few brands have figured it out—a big reason that the top 5 percent of branded content drives 90 percent of all engagement.
There hasn’t been a great solution to that chaos. On one end of the spectrum, agencies and native ad studios specialize in creating one-off series, content hubs, or social campaigns. On the other end of the spectrum, technology platforms offer a way to organize and measure pieces of your content program. But neither of these approaches solves the massive challenges enterprise organizations face.
Enterprises need an overarching content strategy to align their teams and empower them to create content that builds relationships with their audience. Then, they need technology to execute that strategy, saving them from the hell of spreadsheets and never-ending email threads. And finally, they need incredible creators who can help them compete with the millions of other stories buzzing in their audience’s pocket every second of every day.
I was obsessing over this issue a few months ago, when I got the call from the recruiter.
The founders of Contently wanted to talk to me. I knew of Contently—a fast-growing startup the world’s biggest brands are using to power their content programs. But then I learned more about their vision and offering: a solution that combines strategy, technology, and a global creative talent network to help brands tackle their core content ailments, not just individual symptoms.
Then, they asked me to become their new CEO. I said yes.
I’ve been working with the team for a month now, and I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity ahead of us. It’s an opportunity to usher in a new era for content marketing; one that’s not defined by what a company is (an agency, a content marketing platform, AI enabled technology) but rather by the problems it solves.
Internally, we’re calling this the Content Solutions Era. (Trademark pending.)
It’s not just our existing capabilities that make me believe we can usher in this age. It’s also the culture of innovation inside these walls. Contently is filled with creative, visionary people who care deeply for each other and our clients. There’s a hunger here to solve the increasingly complex challenges marketers face. Everyone is willing to experiment, innovate, and unearth uncommon solutions using the tools at their disposal: incredible content strategy expertise, powerful technology, and the highest-rated, most specialized creative talent network on earth.
Our work is just beginning. I’m thrilled to dive in and uncover all the ways we can help our clients, prospects, and the marketing community at large. And as an operator, I can’t wait to help you escape content chaos.Image by Seth Webster