My Migration Strategy: Search Friendly, Multimedia Content

Bob Hoffman of Hoffman/Lewis and I had breakfast this morning in downtown Portland. One of the things Bob said that really resonates with me is: “There’s money to be made in the cracks.”

So true.

Last Wednesday, I had lunch on NW 23rd with another agency principal, Kent J. Lewis of Anvil Media. I don’t know if search marketing is “a crack,” but no one’s turning off the hose in Kent’s world. Quite the contrary. Lewis is starting another company, Formic Media, to address the search marketing needs of small businesses.


I asked both gentlemen what they thought about how I’m presently positioned in the market. Kent suggested I bundle search marketing and social media to my content strategy expertise and “go sell it to every agency in town.”

I like big thinkers, and these two serial entrepreneurs are big thinkers.

Bob suggested I find ways to monetize AdPulp. We also talked about my taking a more news-oriented editorial direction, since the bloatosphere already offers opinions aplenty.

I said I’m very interested in starting a content company that develops its own media brands like AdPulp, while also working with clients directly (or through their agencies) to develop branded multimedia content on their behalf.

I’m wondering what other sage advice is available to me via this forum. If you have some, I’d love to hear it.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Search engine optimization is the name given to the process of ensuring that a website is compatible with the requirements of search engines. It involves ensuring web site code is search-engine-friendly, writing keyword-rich text content, and deciphering how links affect the flow of information.

  2. David,
    It sounds like you’re in a very similar situation in Portland as I am in Boise. There’s a ton of “opportunity” out there, but figuring out just how to go get it is the tricky question. Here’s what I’ve done so far:
    I started up Almost Live Productions as a podcast production and new media consulting company. The original idea was to mainly do podcast production, but over time that has evolved to focus more on social media, search, and yes, even a little podcasting from time to time. The services have been mainly pitched to local agencies for their clients, although there are also a few instances where I work directly with companies or other organizations. With my background and contacts in the agency world in and around Boise, I’ve had an easier time finding work, scheduling meetings, etc. than someone new to the area might have. Business has been okay so far, although it probably would be a lot better if I was more aggressive on the new business side.
    Also, for the past several years I have been writing / running the Idaho Ad Agencies blog. Similar in theory to AdPulp (although on a much smaller scale), this has been more of a pet project of mine than anything, although there are ways that it could generate some revenue.
    So, what advice do I have for you?
    You have a loyal following / audience with AdPulp. But I’d be careful not to use it too much to promote your ‘commercial’ interests. There are some ways that I could see AdPulp monetized (and I’m thinking about doing the same for the Idaho Ad Agencies blog) such as:
    Creating a directory of resources – be it printers, agencies, publishers, PR firms, etc. You could offer a free basic listing, or give them a chance to purchase premium placement in the directory.
    Create a directory of freelancers – this one could be a bigger project to try and tackle, but the same concept applies – free basic listing or paid premium placement.
    Use the AdPulp content as a portfolio of sorts, and become a contributing writer to a newspaper’s website or other online channel.
    On the professional front, it really is a matter of taking your experience and knowledge, and packaging/presenting it (either to agencies or businesses) in a way that they can’t afford not to work with you. For example, being able to understand the online audience and how they consume content gives you a better ability to create original content that is relevant to that audience – regardless of what form it might take.
    In short, it’s being able to sell your experience as a unique set of services that can be customized for prospective clients. That then becomes a skill set that an agency or business would not otherwise have. Positioning it this way also gives you a leg up on the competition – you’d be creating custom solutions or programs for individual clients, rather than trying to sell an agency/client on a particular tactic, such as blogging, podcasting, etc.
    Is this the definitive ‘what to do’ kind of comment? Unfortunately, no. It’s more of a ‘this is how to think about and approach the situation you’re in’ kind of comment. I’ve been through the same thought process myself, so hopefully it helps.

  3. Thanks for all this thoughtful commentary, Brian.
    Regarding the AdPulp as portfolio concept, I’ve been using Delicious lately to bookmark some “best of AdPulp” posts. Here’s the path:

  4. You asked for ways to monetize this blog (I’ve just started visiting per The Ad Contrarian – nice to find it) and I’d be remiss if I didn’t send you ASAP to soak up Naomi Dunford’s salty wisdom at — she’s got a thing going right now called Online Business School and it’s a straight-ahead, practical explanation of how to use these 6 income streams that she uses to make money with her blog (a super-small business marketing site.) You can buy it, you can hear 1 of the 6 mods for free, she has tons of great posted content to walk you through. I’m just a fan, but you’ll get what you need there, and if you like TAC, you’ll LOVE Naomi. She’s also @IttyBiz on twitter.
    I’ll look around a bit more and sub to your pub, (thanks TAC.)

  5. Thanks GirlPie. I took a look at IttyBiz. Her course costs $197 at this time. It seems from her free offering that it’s mostly common sense, put into action. She recommends the following revenue streams from one’s site: consulting and coaching; freelance writing or design; selling physical objects; selling eBooks that don’t suck; creating a bunch of ad-supported niche sites ; and working the affiliate marketing angle.
    I like all those paths except the last one.