Why Cleveland is the Home of Content Marketing

cle - at night

In 2013, I was walking through Cleveland Hopkins International Airport after arriving home from a trip. I saw a sign for the upcoming Content Marketing World (CMW) with the message: Cleveland: The International Home of Content Marketing. As a Cleveland marketer, this added another huge reason I’m proud to be from Cleveland.

What is content marketing? Here’s how Cleveland’s own Content Marketing Institute (@CMIContent) defines it:

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

Joe - Cleveland cropped

Content Marketing World

How did Cleveland earn the distinction of being the home of content marketing? It’s mainly due to the work of Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi), who hosts CMW in Cleveland each year with his team (including this year from Sept. 9-10). Joe’s mission is to make Cleveland the capital of content marketing.

Pulizzi explains Content Marketing World’s impact on the city:

This year, over 3,000 marketers from more than 50 countries will attend the event. Why? Content marketing is the future of marketing. To Cleveland, this means more jobs, more opportunity and the chance to show off our city to people who have never been here – over half of the attendees will visit Cleveland for the first time, adding over $3 million to the local economy.”

Content marketing is creating opportunities for local marketers, as well as drawing workers from other cities. Pulizzi said, I talked to a leading Northeast Ohio agency focused on content just the other day. They just recruited five people to join them from outside Cleveland. All of these people were expert content creators. Combine the new talent coming to Cleveland with our rich history of publishing, and I’m truly excited about Cleveland being the home for content marketing.”

Inside Cleveland’s Marketing Community:

As a whole, Cleveland has a strong marketing community that understands the importance of content marketing. I reached out to a few key local marketers to get their thoughts on content marketing in Cleveland and the opportunities ahead.

paul 125Paul Roetzer
@PaulRoetzer | Founder and CEO of PR 20/20

Content marketing presents tremendous opportunities for Cleveland marketers to advance themselves and grow their businesses. We have one of the top marketing conferences in the world right here in downtown Cleveland. Every agency pro and marketer should be there to expand his or her knowledge and skills.

The biggest opportunities for Cleveland marketers are in continuing to learn and spread the practices of content marketing. Take advantage of the accessibility of the marketing community, talk to our marketing leaders and network with marketing professionals.

jeff rohrs 125Jeff Rohrs
@jkrohrs | Chief Marketing Officer of Yext

Cleveland has a passionate marketing community that understands how to develop long-term relationships. We have embraced content marketing as an investment in our customers and a way to better serve, entertain, and engage with them in today’s mobile, social & always-on environment. My career advice to any marketer – keep learning, asking questions and working to understand your customers.

I’m not sure what the future holds, but technology companies that solve real market needs stand to create more jobs and opportunity for the region. My hope is that we’ll see some new martech companies from Northeast Ohio proudly showcasing their content marketing software solutions at CMW 2016.

JasontherrienJason Therrien
@JasonTherrien | President of thunder::tech

I think our quiet strength in content marketing resides in how many trade publication companies have been in Cleveland and how much talent has spun out of those or influenced content marketers. There are dozens of legitimate publication groups that have called Northeast Ohio home, such as Penton, GIE Media, Advanstar, WTWH, Babcox and Crain’s affiliated. 

I think we need to start telling the world about it. Just because there are a lot of companies that have spun off more companies and talented people, that doesn’t guarantee the benefits that national or international notoriety can bring.

jacquieJacquie Chakirelis
@CLE_Mom | Senior Digital Specialist for Northeast Ohio Media Group

As a  marketer, I am proud that content marketing can claim its birthplace in Cleveland. Joe Pulizzi has certainly influenced the understanding and adaptation of content marketing, but we have far to go. I still see a majority of content marketing efforts relegated to a tactic rather than an holistic strategy.

The future is definitely bright. We have a unique opportunity to step forward and be a leader in this emerging space. As a homegrown cheerleader, I couldn’t feel more excited for Cleveland right now and we need to find ways to keep the momentum moving forward and enduring.

jimkukralJim Kukral
@JimKukral | Founder of Author Marketing Institute

We’re the content marketing capital of the world! A lot of people don’t realize that. Every year, Content Marketing World takes over the city bringing thousands of professionals who’ve never been to Cleveland. This not only makes our city look great to them, but also to the rest of the world.

Opportunities abound for even the smallest of businesses like a local restaurant that is creating videos of its chef cooking menu items, or a publisher using the power of images to engage potential new customers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Every day I’m seeing new businesses getting into doing proper content marketing.

Cleveland Support for Content Marketing

Within Cleveland’s marketing community are many organizations that support the growth of content marketing and help with education. We’ve got local chapters of the American Marketing Association (AMA), American Advertising Federation (AAF), Business Marketing Association (BMA) and many more.

In addition to its monthly speaker events, the Cleveland AMA launched a special interest group specifically for content marketing. Chapter president Lukas Treu (@LTreu) explains why it became one of their biggest focus areas:

Content marketing challenges many long-held presumptions about the best way to market products and services, and there are still many people that know they should do it, but not how to do it. We have a great opportunity to help some of these companies optimize their marketing investments with content marketing principles.”

 The Plain Dealer also looks to help educate Cleveland on content marketing and many of its components. Janet Cho (@janetcho) covers content marketing and has started a series that features some of Cleveland’s most recognizable marketers giving social media advice. She says:

I started my “Smarter #SocialMedia Tips” series to highlight the wide variety of ways local experts maximize and have fun with their social media skills. I enjoy hearing what people love about their favorite platform and what makes them cringe. I learn something new from every person I talk to.

What are your thoughts on Cleveland being the home of content marketing?
What can we do as a marketing community to help spread the message and continue to grow our reputation?

Tell us in the comments below!

Jeremy Bednarski is a senior consultant at PR 20/20 and native Clevelander. He’s passionate about Cleveland, content marketing, rock music, entertainment, social media and technology. These are reflected in his writing for the PR 20/20 blog and at www.jeremybednarski.com.