It’s been a long and frustrating online marketing career- carving a path in the content marketing sector. I didn’t know what I was initially doing; I knew it wasn’t reporting if taking someone’s money, and writing, publicizing and cheerleading for them online. I knew I wasn’t a journalist- no one gives a shit about the dinner specials in downtown Fort Lauderdale- they want to know about the shooting near Opa Locka. I started reading about online permanence, search engine rankings, and com scores- not to have more tools to sell print ad space, but to make the print ads work. I knew that there were only 75k weekly physical copies of my product hitting the street- but millions of online eyeballs seeing different memes, videos and catfriendly parodies. I figured that if I pimped my products to my own network- and threw in free
Gig or Small Business Listings on Craigslist and Backpage- I would be adding eyeballs to the clients- redirecting them to my dying print product.
There was a way with a will? Not if working in a corporate setting- highly against providing technology and infrastructure to grow and expand. I was frustrated with my publisher- he had no juice, and couldn’t optimize our online product to compete with the likes of shitty community papers (Parkland Life magazine has better SEO than the New Times). I was annoyed that I knew how to add front end metatags- that still aren’t on the media outlets homepage. I was flabbergasted that the paper blocked Facebook- and didn’t realize it was my main source of finding their local businesses to advertise! I would bite my tongue, go home, and spend 2-3 off work hours- trying to find new companies to buy someone else’s generic audience (that wasn’t as effective as my own network).
By 2009 I’d had enough. Said boss was convinced that Digg would destroy Tumblr and Facebook (I wonder what type of Kool Aid he was sipping), and thus, I had no way to make real money: the online product and media exposure I was selling produced no quantifiable of tangible ROI, and still can’t compete with targeted Facebook and Google ads.
Inevitably, instead of cultivating a social media presence to bolster and assist the media outlets community growth, the old men in charge of the south Florida alternative weekly newspapers did whatever it took to keep the networking out of their world- pegging them into the corner, positioned against thousands of better websites dissecting south Florida.
It’s been 3 years since the Tuesday nosebleeds stopped. Like clockwork, almost like the guarantee of a pregnant ladies water breaking, I would turn into a bloody face faucet- all because of the internal stress and external pressure I was under. I was 26 and juggling $250k quarterly in print and digital sales- and had no support from these anti-tech, male-dominating men.
They mocked me to my face, and now try to have their new sales reps add me in LinkedIn for leads.
At night I went home and discovered people like Dara Albright- and AngelList. By the time 2009 (my 3.5 year anniversary at corporate media demarcation mark) rolled around, I’d exhausted my own patience. I missed smart people. I missed people who thought outside the gray and recycled materials. I was pissed off every time I heard the publisher refer to the paper as the only corporate startup- it did nothing innovative, and wouldn’t let people rise up.
I knew then that innovation could only happen by my OWN walking away. I could never help someone thrive, or a product resuscitate, if consistently prodded for bad revenue streams (great idea: tell a restaurant owner about the 75k papers but not bundle real online exposure). I get angry thinking about all of the south Florida businesses I hurt because of fearing men with hiring and firing power. I lived with my parents until 2008 (bless them for letting me cry WEEKLY in fear I would lose a job I was really good at).
So, when you get to the point where you have NOTHING to lose by losing a job- you start putting out your resume. You learn from the biggest radio station in south Florida that you’re not in an nda, you sell your contacts and leads…you diverge into a world where your own content is the wanted information. You transition. You remember the types of things you had to do to survive- and the crap you walked through, and fell face first into.