From the Founders: What's Next for Boston Content?

    Image via  Unsplash


Image via Unsplash

This post was written by Boston Content Co-founder Jay Acunzo, director of platform and community for NextView Ventures. Follow him, @Jay_zo

Arestia and I founded Boston Content based on one exchange that, from that point forward, we swore we would try to eliminate from your average coffee shop. It went something like this:

Jay: I wanted to be a sportswriter, then got into business and now I have this word “content” in my title. No clue what it means.

Arestia: I hear you. I was working in Hollywood, got into business and now have “content” in my title, too. No clue what the career path looks like.

A few hours later, I got a text from Arestia: “Want to start a community group about this stuff?"

I replied in about 0.3 seconds.

“Yes! Call it Boston Content? Something like that?”

We mulled over tons of names and came right back to that one. It just felt right. It still does.

We threw together a quick event, the link to which you can still find here. (Check out that original logo!)

That Was Then. You’re Probably Reading This Now.

That was in 2012. Looking back, I am incredibly proud of what we have built, but I have long felt like Boston Content is one of the under-the-radar groups in town.

We have more than 950 Bostonians on our mailing list — all folks who are ostensibly in the marketing and media production space. We have held events with the top dog at The Daily Beast, local startup CEOs, agency creatives and executives, as well as a healthy dose of incredibly smart content producers and marketers. We even threw the #BosConBash, attracting a couple hundred people to District Hall to mingle, shoot video with Wistia, create stuff with Eventbrite, view local art with FutureBoston and dance to live music. (An electric violin trio and a DJ? Yes please!)

In 2015, however, I have a feeling this group is going to break out in a big, big way.

That’s because, in 2015, we are mixing things up in an equally big way. We have a number of changes and new initiatives coming, all intended to better serve you, our awesome members.

Update #1 — New Initiatives Galore

First, there’s this blog. It will be a true community effort, so if you ever have something to teach others about your work, whether it’s about creating content, marketing content, elevating your career in content or, hell, just ranting about content … this blog is your go-to hub. It’s an experiment, so bear with us while we figure out the right cadence to our publishing. (Something tells me you have maybe tried to blog before, so I’m sure you get it…)

Additionally, you may recall that last year we held one large event and one small workshop per quarter, with each quarter carrying a theme in the workflow we all share: planning and strategy, production and creative, distribution and marketing, and analysis. (Well, we skipped the analysis part to further our knowledge of adult beverages and breakdancing. So worth it! Thanks, #BosConBash.)

This year, our initiatives will all carry a single theme: "Creation, Collaboration and Community." 

Update #2 — Our Awesome Committee

Helping spearhead those initiatives is our steering committee, comprised of individuals all pretty much listed in the dictionary next to "kickass." They are the reason we continue to grow increasingly awesome, and are integral to Boston Content. To continue to bring you even more awesome, we’re thrilled they’ll be joined by a slew of new volunteers this year.

The BosCon committee knows how to celebrate. | Image via  Ben Lewis

The BosCon committee knows how to celebrate. | Image via Ben Lewis

Continuing to lend their time, ideas and leadership are returning committee members: Devin Bramhall, Juliana Casale, Christine Warner, Trisha Antonsen and Sarah Salbu. We’re thrilled to have them back, as they have been amazing — handling our Twitter account, planning and running events and being stellar ambassadors to new members. But we felt like to get even more awesome, we needed more help, so joining them are the stellar Lena Prickett and Lauren Landry. We chose Lena and Lauren to join us because not only are they dedicated Boston Content members, but they are proven content producers and strategists who know how to put their skills to work.

Having watched this group collaborate on a number of occasions now, I can safely say that had they worked together in the ‘90s, we would have never needed the Power Rangers.

Be sure you thank them at our next event — Boston Content would not exist without them.

Also, we wanted to let you know that WeWork, the home of Boston Content, is opening a new space in its South Station location to be able to host even more members at each event. We have already started to plan additional events with WeWork, so be sure to keep an eye out.

Update #3 — Please Welcome Devin Bramhall as the new leader of Boston Content

As the group grew, Arestia and I started talking about how to take this to the next level. Simultaneously, our committee expressed interest in doing more and taking on additional responsibilities.

Which is why we are psyched to announce that taking over as a co-lead of the group will be Boston Content committee-member-turned-leader Devin Bramhall. Devin is no stranger to putting on amazing events, creating engaging content and being a powerhouse in the community. She runs a few event-based groups, like Master Slam and TEDxSomerville, is involved in a number of Boston-area organizations, which rely on her for support, and is always a warm presence for new members. Her dedication and enthusiasm will help her excel at getting new initiatives off the ground and growing Boston Content. 

We could not be more excited about this move, which will take Boston Content to the next level, and cannot wait for this new energy to get injected into the group.

But wait, where are Arestia and Jay going?

As we previously told you all, we were thrilled to see Arestia take a ridiculously great new gig in New York earlier this year. She moves from Hill Holliday to The Daily Beast, one of the most-read publications in the country, where she’s now creative director of brand strategy. (Congrats again, Arestia!) You should all congratulate her on Twitter. Right now! Do it!

As for me, my role at NextView Ventures has always been a finite one — the expectation was to join full-time, support our companies, run content then launch or join something early-stage. While I am far from done at NextView, I have started to witness and research tons of very alarming problems facing content marketers in their roles. As such, I am focusing on one goal for the year: Help marketers master the craft of creating great content. So rather than run BosCon, I am beginning to launch little tests here and there (such as the Daily Content Inspiration email), in addition to doubling down on Sorry for Marketing and an upcoming podcast.

So, this is a positive thing! The group is growing and has never been better. But, it deserves leadership that can, and will, dedicate lots of focus and new ideas to it. We will still be around to help and advise the group, we are just moving to “non-operating” roles.

It’s been fun and truly humbling to support you in our small way, and we need to extend an enormous, Mount Everest-sized thank you to you and to all our members for supporting us back. We will see you at a BosCon event soon. (And by "soon," we mean Tuesday, February 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. Register for The Business of Content Creation here.)

Update #4 — New Production Partners

I finally finished counting, and we have had about 12 trillion new ideas for initiatives BosCon could create. (I rounded down, by the way.) To assist, we are excited to add a handful of “production partners” — members and friends of Boston Content who will be offering their time periodically and informally by contributing to the new blog and other initiatives. There are too many to name, but they hail from all over: startups, media, agencies, freelancers, large brands and more. With BosCon, they will be blogging, shooting video, taking photos and helping in many other ways.

If you’re among that list, thank you. If you’d like to be, email the committee.

Update #5 — We (Still) Friggin’ Love You All

I believe it was the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle that once said, “Y’all are straight DOPE!" 

Ah, what a wise man-slash-rap mogul he was.

The truth is, we all feel the same about you guys. I mean, almost 1,000 members?! How did this happen?! 

So, as we continue growing this group and launching new initiatives, we are reminded that, regardless of our team structure, our event themes and our blog status, the only thing that matters is community.

Thank you, truly, for participating in our little community and turning it into something great. There are so many exciting things ahead and so many great people at the helm.

Now … back to creating!

— Jay and Arestia