I worked on Wall Street in the beginning. I got out of school, had an economics degree, found a job on Wall Street, and then very quickly ended up on a bond trading desk, municipal bonds, and I loved the action. I loved all the excitement, I loved the real-time nature of bond trading, but I was a crappy bond trader. So I ended up then actually working behind the scenes in the data business. I was working for companies that were delivering real-time content. I actually started to make some sales calls in Japan at night on the telephone. I went back to my boss and said ‘hey maybe I should just go to Japan for a couple months and see what’s going on there’. Sales were wonderful, and so I ended up starting the Japan office for a company called Right and Associates. A couple of years later I joined a company called Knight Ridder, and I was their agent marketing director responsible for all of Asia marketing. Knight-Ridder at the time wa s a Fortune 200 company.
Where Does “Content Marketing” Come From?
I have this really strong understanding of real-time electronic information all before the web. This was in the late 80s and throughout the early 90s, before the web. When the web came around in 1995 and into the the late 1990s and very early 2000s, what’s going on now is we have this incredible real-time publishing platform that anybody in the world can take advantage of. All you needed to do is in the early days write a blog, later on do a YouTube video, have a twitter feed, get on the social networks, and you can publish content for free. So I was probably one of the very first people to recognize that there is a vast difference in the way that people were approaching the web in the early days.
The ways that I understood that we can make web work much better for companies and the very big difference and it’s really simple understand is the vast majority of people, 99.9% of people, said “to market on the web we just do the same thing we did on television and newspapers and magazines and radio, we create ads” and I’m like no no no no no no no no. To market on the web you create content – a video, a blog post, photographs, images, all of these wonderful things.
We were doing crazy crazy things at the time like writing press releases not to reach the media but to reach potential customers that they would find in Google. And that sounds obvious today, but in 1998 that was not obvious. I was like wow this is like magic! People are finding us, we’re getting sales leads. In 1998 and 1999 I was doing email newsletters, but putting the content up on the web for free. Outside of the email component people could then see it on the on the website and see each of the newsletters and we kept running a database of those newsletters. It was radical at the time when people thought you should keep your content secret. No, I want my content to be freely available.
We were getting high search engines rankings as a result of this, it was like really working great. I’ve been able to be successful with these marketing tactics and strategies, maybe I should just do them for other companies. So that’s in fact what I did. In 2002, I went out on my own and started working for some select clients, and then in 2007 a book called The New Rules of Marketing and PR came out. The New Rules of Marketing and PR was really radical at the time because it completely questioned the ways that people were marketing and doing public relations. And then that book became an instant bestseller. Since then I’ve updated it now five times, it’s in the fifth edition right now, and it’s been published in 28 different languages and has sold nearly 400,000 copies around the world.