I have spent a lot of time thinking over the last 6 months…
…about how I got into online marketing to begin with, how it evolved quickly to a focus on social media marketing, and how much I love it.
…about starting my own company, then co-founding Alpha Brand Media and later also co-founding BlueGlass.
…about my family, my wife, and my son.
During the last year I have seen a significant change in content marketing via social promotion. Sites like Propeller and Yahoo Buzz closed down, while sites like Digg failed miserably trying to reinvent themselves. Established sites like Reddit and StumbleUpon continued to grow and strengthen, while more and more social sites continued to launch, like Pinterest and Google+.
Content marketing however, has remained as strong as ever. In the last couple months alone, we have run campaigns that received more traffic than I had ever seen before, even 200,000 visits in a single day on one campaign.
It seems like a lifetime ago I was searching around on a small business forum, looking for ways to benefit and grow my small safety certification consulting company. I came across this concept of the long tail of search, which eventually led me to learn about the concept of SEO.
I had been trying to get links, not for SEO but just to get potential clients, and ended up ranking #1 on MSN for the most important term in my small little industry.
Shortly after I found myself needing more steady employment and looking for work. I applied to a company called AssistGuide, which ended up hiring me as their SEO. A few months later I took a huge chance, packed myself up and moved to San Francisco with really nothing but a hunger and passion for online marketing.
With content marketing, it was love at first sight. I had initially just been looking for some extra links, so the social media user profile pages and also the ability to submit content for some deeper links was ideal.
I will be the first to admit that I did everything wrong when I started participating in content marketing. However, it is those mistakes and the learning I was forced to go through, that taught me how to really succeed promoting content in social media.
I had built a site to test social promotion called Weird Asia News, and even with all my stupid mistakes, I managed to get one of my articles to the front page of Digg. My server instantly crashed from the Digg Effect, which started my painful line of server company nightmare stories (thank you TigerTech for ending that). However, even after being down for 3 days, when the site came back up I had thousands of new inbound links. A couple months after launching the site, the PR was updated and the site had a PR6 out the gate.
That was when the power of content marketing was really obvious to me and when I decided that was where I wanted to dedicate my career.
Years later, on a call with Chris Winfield, I took another major step when I decided to merge with 10e20 and Search & Social, to form BlueGlass.
I had always wondered why there where so many great online marketing experts working in this space, but no one had really come together to make an agency that could provide a number of online marketing services, but still have the specialized experience and ability to provide real results. So when I looked at the people involved and what we could accomplish together, it took me a matter of minutes to make my decision.
I later decided to move over to another of our companies SteelCast, under Hua Marketing, where I worked to expand their content marketing system and offering.
I learned more than I can even put into words over the last year and a half with BlueGlass and Hua Marketing, and the companies continue to grow stronger every day. With Richard Zwicky being named Chairman of the Board and Dave Snyder as the CEO of SteelCast, I am more confident than ever that we made the right move in creating the two companies and they will continue to grow and remain leaders in online marketing services and tools.
However, I have decided that my personal interests now lie elsewhere, and it is time for me to move on from both BlueGlass and SteelCast (Hua Marketing).
Over the years I have started many projects that I now plan to spend more time working on in 2012 and beyond, such as Alpha Brand Media, Golf Sliced, and many others.
Of course I am still super passionate about content marketing, so I will be continuing to provide and expand my consulting and content marketing services, along with Infographic creation and some blogger outreach, but I will be more particular on which projects I take on for those services.
Really enjoyed reading the post and the extremely honest approach. If you don't mind, I'll just throw in my favorite quote:
"It is better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb than halfway up one you don't."
Credits go to Ricky Gervais and The Office (BBC) and best of luck to you Brent, in your new ventures!