Content Czar Update: The Finalists!

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Most people think Web 2.0 is about “The Conversation.” Nope. It’s really about harnessing talent.

Six weeks ago I started taking applications for a Content Czar. Someone who would help me take 1000 pages of raw, unpublished or under-utilized content, hours of audios and videos, and turn it all into products; assist with product strategy and promotion.

  • I charged a $25 application fee. Harshly criticized by some people. Handily weeded out the whiners and complainers, very glad I did.
  • Got 18 applicants; only one was a dud. Eliminated quite a few that were “OK”. To the rest, assigned a project.
  • I gave contestants a few hundred pages of raw material and existing products (what I gave them was easily worth $1000 – they sure got a lot for their twenty-five bucks…) and said:

“Pick a sub-topic within this material and make me a mini-product. Something I can sell for $20-$40. Create the product, write the sales letter, build a whole sales funnel for it if you’re so inclined. Show me what you can do.”

  • Got ten submissions.
  • Six were quite respectable.
  • Four were excellent.

Honorable mentions go to:

Ryan Healy
Richard Beatty
Nicholas Neilson
Darrel Hawes
Jenna Lloyd
Markus Trauernicht from Germany

All of the above ladies and gentlemen contributed products that may well become part of future products that I sell. If so they will receive credit and compensation.

"So many options for growing my business, but what should I do NOW?" Tell me your most pressing business problems and I'll show you your BEST next step.

As I said, four were excellent:

Denise and Jeremy did a random roll-of-dice and of these, Joshua Boswell was chosen as “Interim Content Czar”. Joshua’s job is to take the four, set them up as products and we’re going to see how well each of them sells.

After that leg of the race is complete, I will choose the winning Content Czar.

Meanwhile, I already tabbed one of these four to work on a special project for me. It is a very cool, very ambitious project. Top secret, for now.

Principles I employed for this process:

  1. I’ve nurtured my email list for seven years. Now I am harnessing it as a talent pool.
  2. By charging an application fee I eliminated all those who didn’t think they could win.
  3. Judge people by what they do, not what they say. Run them through the maze. I gave applicants a task to do and was able to observe how they do it, and how well.
  4. By doing so I have thorough evaluations of several people whom I did not select, so when a project comes up, I can easily go to them and have available talent.

Most people think Web 2.0 is about “the conversation.”

Nah, that’s just the shallow end of the pool. I think it’s actually about vetting and harnessing TALENT.

May the best man or woman win.

Perry Marshall

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

6 Comments on “Content Czar Update: The Finalists!”

  1. Perry,

    Everything Ryan said…

    It was a great experience I have enjoyed every step of the way.

    Darrel Hawes

  2. Hello Perry,

    Surprise – we finally agree on something.

    We’ve been doing in situation testing with selected applicants for about nine months now.

    In-depth training on a tiny part of our work – then live work. If the candidate can’t manage this small piece of our work then there is no point in going further.

    On the other hand, you see almost all of the good candidates in action. Nice post. Thanks for sharing the names.

  3. I have worked with one of your finalists, Jay Cross, on several occassions and witnessed both the quality of his work and dedication to the task in hand. He’s very qualified based on my previous experience working with him.

    I believe your method of finding the right individual for the job is pretty unique but very effective. If every institution in America would employ this sort of dedication to hiring, we’d probably end up with an industrial-revolution type game changer and be back on the top again!

  4. Great post and I completely agree. I’m consistently in amazement at the top talent that my early stage company is able to pull in, talent that we never would have been able to find even 5 years ago.

    In 2009, it’s WAY easier for talented people to hook up and collaborate on projects than ever before. I have to think this will be a game-changer of epic proportions.

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