stineandersen1 asked:
Hi Joe. We're launching the first content marketing magazine in Denmark going out to CMOs all the major companies. For that we are gathering the world's 10 leading experts. That is way we would like to make a feature with you in the magazine. You would be joining experts like Joe Pulizzi, Marcus Sheridan, Michael Brenner and Doug Kessler. We know you're extremely busy, but it would be fantastic if you could find the time to answer some questions? Kind regards Stine Andersen, Brand Movers

Certainly. Please email me at jchernov AT hubspot DOT com

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image

Given the hubbub that surrounded my joining HubSpot, I thought I’d share my observations after clocking a week on the mothership of inbound marketing. Dig it:

1. Lean forward meetings. CMO Mike Volpe was “kind enough” to load up my schedule with 25 meetings over my first few days. When I saw my calendar I feared it was going to be a brutal start: hours of sitting in semi-silence with semi-strangers. But that’s not how it played out. Meetings start on time, end a little early, and participants tend to lean forward, actively engaged throughout the session. Conversation is animated, regardless of the subject matter. There’s something very … very … “alive”  even in meetings, which in most companies is where productivity goes to die.

2. Disorientingly empowered employees. I’m still sort of reeling from realizing how much authority individual contributors have over decision-making. Never once in the 25 tell-me-what-you-do-and-what-you-want-from-me meetings did anyone say, “I’ll have to check with [executive] to see if we can do that.” Not once. The authority to deliver an enthusiastic yes or a (data-supported) no extends to all levels — and all levels seem aware of their authority. I raised this point to a colleague who said something to the effect of, “We value evidence over eminence.” (This point is reinforced in the above image, which is a visualization of who influences whom at HubSpot.) 

3. Rampant humility. I confess that I’ve always found HubSpot’s “we’re humble" boasts to be, by definition, ironic. (After all, isn’t boasting of humility itself a brag?) A large part of me feared I’d quickly discover the culture would be filled with cocky people who were smart enough to feign humility. Not the case. When the head of funnel says in a meeting, "I am concerned that too few people are complaining about me," you know that self-awareness, if not outright humility, has taken root.

4. Manners. “Thank you” is said … a lot. Walking from one meeting to the next, I counted three separate people thanking a colleague.

5. Logan’s Run. Walking past the massive clusters of desks and peeking in the rows of glass-walled conference rooms, I found myself reminded of Logan’s Run — a utopian society populated solely by people under 30 years old. CEO Brian Halligan wasn’t kidding when he talked to the New York Times about empowering young workers.  

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Embedded is the presentation – 10 Rocking Products for Advanced Content Marketers – that I delivered at Content Marketing World 2013. The session itself was a bit foreign to me – it was the first time I presented not as a “practitioner” (case study style), but rather as an industry observer (analyst style).

While this presentation is in no way intended to be the definitive list of content marketing tools, I do very much believe in the companies profiled. They include:

Creation / Curation

Distribution / Amplification

Analytics

In post-session conversations, the companies I was asked about most often were TrackMaven and Little Bird, leaving me to wonder if these solutions address a pain-intensive problem, or if I “sold” them more emphatically – possibly because articulated a personal use-case for each.

Lastly, if you like the creative, the deck was designed by the ace team at Beutler Ink. I’d also like to thank Altimeter’s Rebecca Lieb for her guidance on the research.

 

How many rock-and-roll puns can you squeeze into a presentation? Odds are, not more than Joe Pulizzi (“The Dick Clark of Content Marketing”) and Lee Odden (the guy I never, ever want to compete against … again) managed to jam into their sure-to-be-a-hit presentation: “36 Content Marketers Who Rock”. 

The rock theme is not arbitrary. The deck was published to help promote this year’s Content Marketing World (#CMWorld) event in Cleveland, home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

As I’ve said on Pulizzi’s own blog, I have grown a bit weary of “ego trap” marketing - persuading people with ample followings to contribute to your content, so their networks will later amplify the distribution. But that’s because most ego traps have become obvious and lazy. There’s little unique about the sources, topics or even packaging. And, unless you have a book to hawk, there’s little incentive for the contributor.

But the Pulizzi/Odden collaboration is unusually well done. It includes lots of “new” voices (new to me anyway). The input is, for the most part, fresh and interesting (to me, strategist/columnist Scott Abel's tell-it-like-it-is, jail-house wisdom stole the show when he copped to the reality that we aren't in the “content marketing” business, but rather the “people manipulation” game).  The design is thematically consistent with many of the other (awesome) materials the event’s creative lead, Joe Kalinowski, has been producing.

But most of all, it’s useful — something author/speaker Jay Baer advocates in his his best-selling title, Youtility. You see, all contributors are also presenting at Content Marketing World, and each of their profiles in the deck includes details on their session.

Simply put, it’s “content with a purpose,” but I’d expect nothing less from the people behind the project.

 
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So clever.
When content marketing firm Beutler Ink announced that data visualization A-lister Leslie Bradshaw joined its advisory board, they didn’t issue a press release (that nobody but content farms would “read”). Instead they did exactly what they do: presented it visually, shared it socially, and characterized it playfully.  In the firm’s own words: 

"Some things are meant to go together: milk & cookies, peanut butter & jelly, and now Leslie Bradshaw & Beutler Ink. Our President and Founder William Beutler and Leslie have been friends and colleagues for nearly 7 years. They’ve worked together for dozens of clients and on hundreds of projects. We are ecstatic to make the partnership more official by welcoming Leslie as our company adviser.”

If content marketing firms can think like this, why can’t PR firms?

So clever.

When content marketing firm Beutler Ink announced that data visualization A-lister Leslie Bradshaw joined its advisory board, they didn’t issue a press release (that nobody but content farms would “read”). Instead they did exactly what they do: presented it visually, shared it socially, and characterized it playfully.  In the firm’s own words: 

"Some things are meant to go together: milk & cookies, peanut butter & jelly, and now Leslie Bradshaw & Beutler Ink. Our President and Founder William Beutler and Leslie have been friends and colleagues for nearly 7 years. They’ve worked together for dozens of clients and on hundreds of projects. We are ecstatic to make the partnership more official by welcoming Leslie as our company adviser.”

If content marketing firms can think like this, why can’t PR firms?