Thursday, December 22, 2011

Scratching the seven-year itch

What were you doing seven years ago tonight?
Odds are it was more fun than what I was doing -- which was sitting at my desk and launching this blog.

I don't have a very clear memory of  that night -- and that seems strange to me now, given how important this blog became to my career. Rather, I have a hazy recollection of coming home and feeling sort of fed up. It seemed clear to me that the entire world of B2B journalism was entering an extraordinarily exciting and important era of rapid change. But my working life was filled with people who didn't share that belief. I really just wanted someone to talk to about this stuff. But my family, friends and coworkers weren't interested.

So I came home, turned on the computer, and started talking to ... whomever happened to be out there in the newly born blogsphere.

If you don't know what happened next, feel free to take a look at this post from September of this year. In it I tried to spell out how wonderful and important this blog became to me, but how I had lost my taste for it.

But if there's anything that has changed more than my relationship to this blog, it's the world that I wrote about here. B2B media is dramatically different from what it was in 2004. I'd like to think I played a small part in that change. And I'm grateful for the opportunity to do so.

Reviewing the past

Early this morning I received an email from someone who described himself as a "longtime fan" of my work. He wanted to share a link to a piece he'd read on FINS, the career site owned by Dow Jones. The article, titled "We're All Media Companies Now and We're Hiring," is about the extraordinary surge in hiring of traditional journalists to create content for non-publishers.

The writer of that email was kind enough to point out that the article "sounds like what you've been preaching for a long time." And there's no doubt that is true. This new world of content marketing (or, if you prefer, brand journalism) has excited me tremendously.

But I've also developed some concerns about this new world. If you're one of the hundreds of B2B journalists who has made (or is considering) a move into content marketing, I urge you to read my recent conversations with John Bethune. You can find them here and here. You should also read John's interview with Jesse Noyes, one of the better-known and more talented players in the brand-journalism world. (Note that Jesse draws an interesting distinction, calling himself a brand reporter rather than a brand journalist.)

Predicting the future

I didn't intend  to write anything about tonight's anniversary. But that email from a longtime reader left me feeling like I should say something.

Then, in the late afternoon, the Content Marketing Institute and Junta42 published their annual list of predictions for the upcoming year in Social Media and Content Marketing. Joe Pulizzi, the boss at Junta42 and CMI, had asked more than 80 people to share their predictions. But his favorite, according to his blog post today, was mine.

And I realized that I couldn't think of a better birthday gift for me and this blog than this:
Joe, as you probably know, is the father of the content-marketing craze. And I, at least for today, am his favorite child.

So as we enter 2012, as new challenges arise in B2B, and as this blog begins its eighth year, check out my predictions and those of some of the smartest folks in the content-marketing world.

(If you're interested, check out what I said on the six-year anniversary of this blog here.)

3 comments:

Joe Pulizzi said...

Paul...congratulations for seven powerful years of helping to change this industry around. You deserve a lot of credit for getting marketers and publishers to think differently about their content, staffing and...thinking. Keep up the great work.

Ralph Braseth said...

Communication takes many forms with new ones created by the month. Regardless the area (in my case, journalism), Conley always seems to be the smartest guy in the room. He's also the first one to want to share his ideas. Scratch the itch, and keep on keepin' on.

Paul Conley said...

Thanks guys!
The best thing about doing this blog for the past seven years is that it's introduced me to wonderful people like you two.