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The Agency of the Future is Remote Working



The Agency of the Future is Remote Working

When you think of an office, you’re probably picturing something like this:

Or if you’re feeling fancy (and worth billions of dollars) like Google is, so you’re thinking something like this: 

These days you can even think of an office as a rented, shared space like WeWork:

Thanks to 2021, more offices than ever before are looking like this, home offices that we’ve set up in the quietest corner of our homes:

Although let’s be realistic…how many of your home offices actually look like this:

Yep, I’m raising my hand too.

When you think about work in 2021 and beyond—we’re no longer just thinking of this:

We’re thinking about a hybrid or totally remote model:

And that changes how we build our agencies.

Our offerings and products can stay the same—but the way our agency works internally…can completely shift.

There are 3 organized models that you get to choose to run your agency from nowadays:

#1: Gig Model

Short-term tasks that can be managed by one, or at most, a handful of people. With the Gig Model, you’re the opposite of a stage 5 clinger. Your business runs project-to-project and you’re focused on excelling at each of those projects—and then moving on.

There’s no need for water stations or happy hours because your team is distributed. You’re entirely remote and all of your workers are freelancers. Chances are you’re the only person on your payroll.

This model works great for startups that can’t afford full-time employees yet and are still getting themselves off the ground.

#2: Corporate Model

Hire a team to work on long-term open-ended jobs that can last for years. This is what you picture when you think of an office—lots of computers and people. We’re thinking of water station conversations and in-person team happy hours (remember those?!).

This is how DigitalMarketer ran pre-March of 2020. We had some freelancers, but the majority of our workforce was in-person, full-time employees. And it worked!

This model used to be an inevitable transition once your business required some full-time staff. It usually starts by bringing on some sort of operations or marketer—and quickly turns into full-time HR people, office managers, and interns.

But there’s a model in-between that most of us have missed—and it wasn’t our fault. We missed it because pre-March of 2020…we just weren’t thinking this way.

We were all thinking home offices and gig workers → rented office space and full-time employees. That was success in terms of an agency. Especially if you could afford the *good* coffee and the fancy snacks for your team.

Having to figure out how to run our businesses entirely remotely for months and in some cases over a year has taught us that we don’t need all of that fancy stuff. 

  • Do we really need every employee to be full-time?
  • Do we really need the fancy, expensive office space?
  • Do our employees even WANT to spend 40 hours of their week in person with us?

The answer is no, and I’m not even offended!

Forbes found that 61% of employees prefer being fully remote. 

And Fast Company found the number of people who considered freelancing as a long-term career option increased from 18.5 million to 28.5 million between 2014 and 2019.

I know I’m not the only one thinking that with all these changes coming to market…there’s no way a new business model can’t emerge from them.

And I’m calling this new model…The Hollywood Model.

The Hollywood Model

Stay lean and bring in the best on a project basis. This means that you have some full-time employees and the rest of your workforce are contractors/freelancers/gig workers (all the same thing).

Chances are your full-time employees are your decision-makers, they’re your executives and the people who report directly to the CEO. There might be a set of employees under them as well, depending on the size of your business and your service offerings. 

The rest of your employees get brought in on a project-by-project basis. 

  • Your copywriters are on retainer to write your email campaigns as needed
  • Your graphic designers are on retainer to create your social media graphics
  • Your Facebook ad expert is on retainer on a per-client basis

“A project is identified, a team is assembled, it works together for precisely as long as is needed to complete the task, and then … the team disbands.” – Adam Davidson, Co-founder of NPR’s “Planet Money

If the majority of employees want to continue remote work…and we have more people than ever starting to freelance—the Hollywood Model was made for times like these.

Times when businesses most want to stay lean thanks to the unpredictability of the markets, and employees are A-okay with switching up how they used to work.

How The Hollywood Model Works

The thing about the Hollywood Model is that it has to be done right. If you don’t do it right, your life can easily become:

  • A perpetual state of hiring as you look for gig workers who have the experience and availability for your projects
  • A mess of workflow as your full-time employees fail to efficiently teach your gig workers what platforms to use, how to send in deliverables, and how to communicate with the team
  • Tight, impossible deadlines due to lack of communication between full-time employees and freelancers leading to delayed launches, campaigns, and products

You can learn more about the Hollywood Model here. 

Business has changed—and in some ways, it’s for the better.

Maybe we weren’t being as efficient as we could have been by having our employees come into the office and spending all this money on rent, utilities, and snacks when people are happier working from home.

But that doesn’t mean we have to go back to the Gig Model—DigitalMarketer, Scalable…they wouldn’t succeed with that model. They’re past the stage of being able to survive with just gig workers.

But they don’t need an entire full-time team.

The Hollywood Model is the lean business model that works in 2021 and the foreseeable future. It creates consistency with our full-time employees and the opportunity to tap into highly qualified talent through our freelancers.

It’s the model we’re running at Scalable and DigitalMarketer—and it’s working.

Time to turn this around for your business.

You can generate $3,500/month retainer clients and build a marketing agency that sets you apart from the competition.

Not just because you’re better at marketing…

…But because your business runs lean, is highly adaptable, and uses high-quality talent to get the job done.

And that’s something your competitors using the Corporate Model or the Gig Model can’t compete with.

Grab our free Fractional CMO Playbook so you get the exact, 4-step client attract, convert, and onboard process we teach our agency partners at DigitalMarketer as well as:

  • Understand the math behind a $336,000 a year, part-time “Fractional CMO” practice
  • The one-sentence “pivot script” that has prospects begging to book a meeting
  • A simple little “trick” that filters out virtually all the “lookie-loos” and crazy clients with unrealistic expectations…
  • When to sell retainers (and when NOT to sell retainers)

This training is for:

Coaches & consultants thinking about expanding into marketing services.

Freelancers & solopreneurs sick and tired of giving away their time for free.

Marketing professionals thinking about making the leap and launching their own marketing coaching or consultancy.

Anyone thinking about making the leap and launching their own marketing agency or consultancy.

And I’m teaching it.

Register here for The Fractional CMO Playbook to learn how to generate $3,500/mo retainer clients and build a marketing consultancy that sets you apart (thanks to the Hollywood Model).

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State of Content Marketing in 2023



State of Content Marketing in 2023

I just pressed send on the manuscript for my book to be released in September. It’s called Content Marketing Strategy (snappy, eh?), and Kogan Page will publish it.

Last week, marketing professor Philip Kotler wrote the foreword. I won’t spoil it, but he mentioned the need for a strategic approach to owned media.

He writes, “(T)he company doesn’t carry an account of showing these marketing assets and their value. As a result, the company cannot show the CEO and company board members a return on owned assets or content.”

Luckily, my upcoming book shows exactly how to do that. Funny how that works out.

In any event, all this struck me that now is an opportune time to look at where the beloved practice of content marketing stands today.

First, let’s go back to 1999 when Kotler published Kotler On Marketing, one of his more than 70 books. The latter 1990s – a time of tumultuous change – fueled most of the thinking for the book. But he knew that it was merely the beginning.

Kotler concluded the book with a section called “Transformational Marketing.”  In the next decade, he wrote, “marketing will be re-engineered from A to Z. Marketing will need to rethink fundamentally the processes by which they identify, communicate, and deliver customer value.”

Well, it’s taken over two decades, but it’s finally happening.

Consumers have changed, but marketing operations are just starting to

In case you didn’t notice, almost every marketing conference these days starts with the same four or five requisite slides:

  • Digital technologies, such as search and social media, empower consumers today.
  • Consumers research, engage, buy, and stay loyal to brands in ways that have fundamentally changed.
  • First-party data and privacy are of the utmost importance.
  • Artificial intelligence begins to threaten the idea of the usefulness of search and pressure companies to deliver better and more personalized experiences.

You get it. Consumer expectations in the age of the social, mobile, and AI-driven web are different than they were.

However, the continuing challenge in 2023 is that content and/or marketing operations in enterprise companies are only beginning to evolve. Most marketing departments have remained as they were when Kotler wrote his book — they still work from mid- to late-20th century hierarchies, strategies, and processes.

Most marketing departments still work with mid- to late-20th-century hierarchies, strategies, and processes, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Content marketing isn’t new, but a content marketing strategy is

For hundreds of years, businesses have used content to affect some kind of profitable outcome. But the reality is this: Whether it was John Deere’s The Furrow from the 1800s, Michelin’s guide to car maintenance in the early 1900s, or even Hasbro’s GI-Joe partnership with Marvel in the 1980s, content was not — and is not for the most part now — a scalable, repeatable practice within the function of marketing. In short, companies almost always treat content marketing as a project, not a process.

That fundamental change will finally take hold in 2023. It could happen because of the digital disruption and ease by which you can now publish and distribute content to aggregate your own audiences. It could happen through the natural evolution that the ultimate outcome – more than the marketing – matters more.

As we roll through 2023 and beyond, content — and the exponentially increasing quantities of it produced by every organization — deeply affects not just your marketing strategy, but your business strategy. Content in marketing is now bigger than simply content marketing, and it should be dealt with as a component of that business strategy throughout the enterprise.

#Content in marketing is bigger than #ContentMarketing. Treat it as a component of the business strategy, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In 2023, the No. 1 focus of my consulting and advisory practice these days: help companies transform content into a repeatable, scalable, and measurable function that drives value through a multi-channel strategy. It’s bigger than publishing a blog, creating a lead-generating resource center, or sending an email newsletter. Today’s content marketing team is being absorbed into marketing because marketing and its various operations are fundamentally transforming into a content-producing machine.

It is not good enough to produce content “like a media company would.” The goal must be to operate as a media company does. Your job is not to change content to fit new marketing goals. Rather, your job in 2023 is to change marketing to fit the new business content goals.

Your job in 2023 is to change #marketing to fit the new business #content goals, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The unaware builds a case for the aware

The term “content marketing” continues to evolve. Even today, I run across those who still call it “brand publishing,” “custom content,” or “inbound marketing.”

My take matches with what Kotler described in 1999. I always thought the term “content marketing” would become part of “marketing” more broadly. In 2023, that happened. So, returning to the lexiconic debates of 2013, 2014, or 2015 doesn’t seem terribly productive. Content marketing is just good marketing, and marketing is just good content marketing.

That said, two kinds of companies do well at the broader view of content marketing. Some of them, such as Cleveland Clinic, Red Bull, Arrow Electronics, HubSpot, and REI, have purposely devised content marketing strategies as differentiating approaches to their marketing. They are succeeding.

Others, like Amazon, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and Peloton, backed into a smart content marketing strategy. But executives at those companies probably don’t recognize it as such. If asked (and some have been), they would say acquiring or launching a media company operation was just a smart business strategy to diversify their ability to reach their consumers consistently.

They’re right, of course. Many have yet to read books about content marketing, been influenced by the Content Marketing Institute, or even recognize content marketing as a separate approach (as far as I know). And they are also succeeding.

Consider this proof: As I write this article, six companies have a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. Four of the six wholly or partially use the business model of media creation to further marketing and business strategies. Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon are all, in part, media companies that also sell products and services.

Why would you not avail yourself of that same model?

The future looks cloudy and bright

As for the overall state of enterprise content marketing, it’s in transition, as all marketing is. As a focused project-based approach, working in ad-hoc ways across a business, content marketing appears to have proven its worth. Hundreds of entries every year to the Content Marketing Awards feature myriad case studies using content marketing techniques in strategic ways to profitably affect business results.

And yet, it remains to be seen whether you can make content marketing a scalable, repeatable, measurable function within marketing.

As to what the discipline’s future holds? At last year’s Content Marketing World, one of my favorite events, the Executive Forum gathered senior leaders from brands succeeding with content marketing. As we talked about the future, one participant said: “The only certainty is change. I can’t tell you where or when, but I do know there will be change, and this is the principle we build on now.”

As for my take, Kotler’s idea of transforming the marketing function seems to have gotten lost along the digital road traveled by marketers. In so many cases, marketing – and especially content – remains just an on-demand service function within the business. Its sole job is to produce ever more voluminous amounts of content that describe the value of the brand (or its products or services) so that sales can sell more efficiently, customer support can serve more effectively, and all manner of customer interfaces are more beneficial to both sides.

However, and maybe because I need to rationalize now that my book is finished, I passionately believe it’s finally time for marketing to reclaim its ability to create value — not just reflect it in the polished shine of your traditional products and services.

Almost 27 years ago today, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an essay called Content is King. In it, he said that “(C)ontent is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

It certainly was one of his more prescient moments. Nearly three decades later, his words have proven true. The essay title has become the rallying cry for thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs who now make their living on creating, managing, optimizing, and measuring content on the internet. (A Google search for “content is king” nets more than 1.7 million results.)

But it’s the last line of his essay that I find the most visionary: “(T)hose who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.”

That’s what content marketing is for me in 2023. It’s just marketing – optimizing the value of ideas, experiences, and products in a marketplace of content.

Time to get to work.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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27 Best About Us and About Me Page Examples [+Templates]



Your about page summarizes your history, values, and mission — all in one place. That’s a tall order for just a few paragraphs. If you’re feeling stuck, turn to these about-page examples for inspiration. 

about us page example: laptop held in palm of hand


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MarTech’s marketing operations experts to follow



MarTech's marketing operations experts to follow

Marketing operations is what makes the magic happen. These are the folks who see that your martech stack doesn’t get stuck. They are the maestros, modelers and makers who make sure the trains run, the data is digestible and that you have the programs you need. Where would we be without them? That’s too scary to think about. Here’s our list of MOps experts who have the ear of the profession.

Darrell Alfonso

Darrell is director of marketing strategy & operations at Indeed and the former global marketing ops leader for AWS. He’s the author of “The Martech Handbook: Build a Technology Stack to Acquire and Retain Customers.” In addition to speaking at many conferences, Darrell was named one of the Top Marketers in the US by Propolis 2022 and among the “Top Martech Marketers to Follow” in 2020 by Martech Alliance. He’s a regular and popular contributor both to MarTech and the MarTech conference; you can find all of his articles at this link.

Eddie Reynolds

Eddie has been in business a long time, starting his first company when he was 14. “A pretty minimal enterprise,” he told one interviewer. “I had a tax ID number, a legal entity, and a company name. I even had the IRS coming after my dad for sales tax that I failed to report properly.” Today he is CEO and revenue operations strategy consultant of Union Square Consulting. He publishes The RevOps Weekly Newsletter and the podcast RevOps Corner. Eddie’s large LinkedIn following attests to the quality of the insights he shares there on  sales, marketing, service, and admin roles. 

Sara McNamara

Sara is an award-winning marketing and sales operations professional whose work has been recognized by awards from the likes of Salesforce (Pardot), Adobe (Marketo), Drift, and LeanData. She is a Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Slack and a martech stack (+ strategy) solution architect. That and her passion for leveraging technology and processes to improve the experiences of marketers, sales professionals, and prospects, explains why she’s a regular guest on MOps podcasts.

Ali Schwanke

Ali is the CEO and founder of Simple Strat. The firm specializes in helping companies get the most out of HubSpot — from CRM strategy and setup to marketing automation and content creation. She is also host of HubSpot Hacks, “the #1 Unofficial YouTube show for HubSpot Tutorials” and has been a guest speaker at the MarTech conference.

Mike Rizzo

Mike’s career in marketing operations showed him that there is a real and significant MOps community. That’s why he founded MO Pros/, the fast-growing online community for people in marketing operations. He is also co-host of Ops Cast, a weekly podcast. 

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About the author

Constantine von Hoffman

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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