When Ohio Governor John Kasich stopped in Cleveland last week there was a phrase he said that has always bothered him. "The rust belt, who wants to live in a rust belt," he asked. "We're not a rust belt we're an idea and a knowledge belt now."
An example of that can be found on the fifth floor of Terminal Tower in the new offices of BrightEdge, a Silicon Valley-based content marketing software company that held the grand opening for it's new Cleveland office Wednesday. It's a 10,000 square foot space that is home to 21 employees now with space for another 45 positions.
BrightEdge Co-Founder Lemuel Park said they were drawn to Cleveland because of its growing role as a hub for the rapidly growing content marketing industry and the pool of talent that Northeast Ohio provides.
"What happens often times is they move out to California to find work at a startup but why not bring that over here and so we definitely saw a huge opportunity here," said Park.
Cleveland established itself as a major player in content marketing years ago and is home to the industry's annual leading convention Content Marketing World started by the Content Marketing Institute's Joe Pulizzi.
"When we started Content Marketing World we were hoping for can we get a hundred people to come to Cleveland," Pulizzi said. "We ended up getting 660 that year, we'll have 4,000 or more this year."
Content marketing involves the creation of content; videos, blogs, social media that generates interest in a product or service.
It's the type of publicity that businesses used to seek out traditional media outlets, advertising and public relations to generate but in the age of mobile technology not anymore.
"Consumers can get any kind of information they want 24/7 from their mobile devices and brands are starting to say 'well if we don't create valuable, relevant, compelling content on a consistent basis our customers are going to ignore us,'" Pulizzi said. "So these brands are starting to publish just like media companies are, so they're creating blogs and articles and magazines and doing their own events."
Pulizzi believes Cleveland's future in content marketing is directly tied to its publishing past.
"I think it's this rich history of publishing we have here. If you look at business to business publishing in the Northeast Ohio area we're probably third to New York and Chicago," he said.
"I think that a lot of people forget that Cleveland has a rich history of publishing and whereas the publishing industry, that business model has changed quite a bit we're seeing that adapt into this new content marketing industry where brands are starting to publish more and more," Pulizzi said.
"But we've got a wealth of publishing talent here in Northeast Ohio and it's nice to see companies move to this area and start to take advantage of all of that talent."