Today on the blog, I’m lifting the lid on how I found myself to be part of an exciting community, all centred around one of my passions – content marketing.

Why am I sharing this with you? Well, it’s just a few days before I attend the very first ‘You Are The Media’ Conference; an event being organised and hosted by content marketing expert, Mark Masters. And I’m excited!

Thanks to Mark, I’ve been able to fuel my passion for content marketing. I’ve attended his events,  I listen to his podcasts, I’ve read his book and I enjoy his weekly ‘You Are The Media’ emails.

So, I thought I’d introduce you to Mark so that you can discover all his great content too!

You Are The Media Conference May 24th 2018

So, who is Mark Masters?

If you haven’t heard of Mark before, tut tut, you’ve obviously not been reading my blog! 😊

I’ve interviewed Mark, reviewed his book, ‘The Content Revolution’, and, if you follow me on Twitter, you may have also seen me mention or share Mark’s stuff.

In a nutshell, Mark is a marketing pro on a mission to inspire businesses to embrace content marketing.

He believes that businesses should use their ‘owned’ media spaces to generate a loyal and engaged audience, rather than pay for space on the ‘paid’ marketing channels such as Facebook and Google.

He believes in the potential of becoming our own ‘media’ companies.

And, he believes we can and should be in control of the medium and the message, and that great marketing ‘content’ is a powerful way to grow our businesses.

“Stop giving your money to the likes of Google, Facebook and buying lists of strangers. They do not care about the development of your business”, he says.

Content marketing expert MarkMasters

Mark is also an international speaker and podcaster (he hosts the You Are The Media podcast). So, yep, he’s definitely one to watch if you’re interested in content marketing.

The You Are The Media Conference

The You Are The Media Conference seems to be a natural next step for Mark. It follows on from his popular ‘You Are The Media’ weekly email and the thriving lunch club events he hosts monthly in Bournemouth.

And I’m excited to be going along – it should be a good one!

You see, Mark’s made friends with all the big names in content marketing, here in the UK and abroad. So he’s managed to pull together a stomping line up of content marketing heavyweights to speak at the conference, including the likes of Mark Schaefer, Chris Marr, Sonja Jefferson and Jon Burkhart, among others.

Mark Schaefer is one of the speakers at the You Are The Media Conference

Check out Mark’s intro video about the You Are The Media Conference here.

And this one, with Mark on Bournemouth beach going back to basics – using sand and a stick – to illustrate what content marketing is all about!

Content Marketing: My first steps

When Mark first came to my attention two years ago, I was already creating content as a way of marketing my business and my client’s businesses. But I was still keen to know more about this new approach, that had been coined ‘content marketing’.

I was reading a lot about the subject (and I still do), and the Content Marketing Academy run by Chris Marr was one of my main sources of info. Along with Marcus Sheridan (a.k.a ‘The Sales Lion’).

Marcus is an American business owner who literally saved his swimming pool business, thanks to using content to build trust and loyalty in his products. (Do check out his fantastic book ‘You Ask, They Answer’ by the way).

A Content ‘Revolution’

Back then, in 2016, all the buzz around content marketing was getting me very excited about how this approach to marketing was potentially going to change business, forever.

For sure, I wanted to know more. And, ideally, to meet people who shared my interest.

But, I hadn’t found anyone local championing content marketing. That was, until I discovered Mark.

Finally, I had found someone, living practically on my doorstep, who was flying the flag for content marketing and on an international level too – I just knew I had to meet him.

The You Are The Media community

The first of Mark’s events that I attended, and his book, left me keen to know more.

So, I did some training with him and, later, when he started up his monthly ‘You Are The Media’ lunch club, I jumped at the chance to become involved.

What do I like about what Mark’s doing?

Well, without wanting to sound like too much of a Mark Masters fan-girl, he is someone walking the walk as well as talking the talk.

He’s grown his consultancy business off the back of the content (the blog, the newsletter, the events, the podcast) that he creates.

He’s created an engaged audience – a community around his beliefs and what he stands for as a content marketing consultant. And, he’s reaping the benefits.

Plus, his commitment to putting out a weekly ‘You Are The Media’ email every single Thursday without fail, for years, and maintaining the weekly podcast, inspires me. That consistency is admirable, as anyone who has ever tried to maintain a regular content schedule will know!

You Are The Media weekly email

Also, his events are great fun! He’s developed a friendly community that is a joy to be part of. They’re fast-paced, thought-provoking and – like his weekly emails – are always packed with content.

And, hats off to him! He’s making a name for himself on the international content marketing circuit. That’s no mean feat!

A growing community around the You Are The Media philosophy

Over time, it’s been great to see how Mark’s community has grown. The number of people attending his lunch club has quadrupled, at a guess, since those early events.

But, what’s so good is that he’s never one to stand still (both figuratively and literally!) – you’ve got to see this video to see what I mean!

You Are The Media lunch club

He makes sure his monthly lunch club events evolve. And by doing so, keeps them fresh.

Case in point. He’s begun to invite people from his You Are The Media community to take a more active role at the lunch clubs.

Rather than just be the star of the show himself, community members are given a platform and invited to share how they are incorporating content marketing into their businesses.

I was even invited by Mark to take part. Last month, I spoke briefly at his lunch club session which was all about ‘owned’, ‘earned’ and ‘paid’ media. I shared my two-penneth on why I think PR and content marketing work so well together and it inspired this blog post. It was a pleasure to be involved.

The You Are The Media lunch club with Mark Masters

Photo credit: Mark Masters / Darren Slade of Bournemouth Echo

So, to wrap up…

I’m anticipating this week’s You Are The Media Conference to be an absolutely brilliant event.

Mark’s pitched it as “a guide to help you build within the spaces that are yours and no one can take away.”

He’s using the conference to reinforce his widely-shared beliefs that as business owners we have the power to build our businesses without spending our hard-earned cash on advertising, lining the pockets of traditional media.

I strongly believe in content marketing. And I support Mark’s claim that “It is time for you to be recognised as the trusted source.”

Or, as Joe Pulizzi, the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, has said: “It is time to realise that YOU ARE THE MEDIA.”

Learnings from the You Are The Media Conference

In my opinion, content marketing really is the way forward if you’re looking to build trust and a loyal audience around your products and services.

So I’ll report back on what I learn and take away from the conference in a future blog, and hope that’ll interest you.

In the meantime, let me know in the comments below how you are using content to market and promote your business. Or, ask me any questions you have about content marketing and I’ll do my best to answer them.

I love to talk about this stuff, as you can probably tell, so it would be great to hear from you.