Max Adagio talks elevator pitches, content and creativity.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington DC – in a Goldilocks zone between busy city and quiet country. I did a lot of museum-hopping to skip out of cross country practice in the city and lots of outdoorsy stuff like camping and hunting and fishing further out in Virginia too.
What’s something you learned from your childhood that’s relevant to your work today?
Getting to the heart of any subject in conversation starts from a position of calmness and respect.
What brought you to Australia?
I think many if not most people in my age group want to travel. I’m no different! I was working for Brafton Inc in Boston when I heard they had a sister company in Australia and New Zealand – Castleford. Nine months later I had a job there. Throughout my time at Castleford I’ve had the opportunity to travel and move to different cities, which I’ve really enjoyed.
How did you get in to Content Marketing?
I’ve always loved making things. My room growing up, my dorm in college, my apartment in Sydney are all strewn with paintings, little entries in journals, film equipment and projects – so doing it professionally was the logical next step. When I started at Castleford almost four years ago I was excited to learn more about all mediums: editorial, graphics, video, etc. I’m excited to be a part of a team full of expert producers to learn from.
You actually went kind of viral with some of your projects – what was that about?
Haha yes, the projects that I put out have had varied levels of “success.” Should you be interested in harvesting sustainable food or rare fine-dining ingredients, you might have stumbled upon “How to Catch and Eat Sea Urchins.” This was the first video I made since stitching skateboarding clips together in high-school. I wanted to learn to edit videos better, and thought what better way of doing so than making a video about something I like to do. I applied some of the things I had learned from my professional experience, but you never really know why a video goes viral. I think it struck a chord between common cultural topics like food, adventure and sustainability and just being fascinatingly weird.
Elevator pitch time: sell me on Content Marketing in 8 seconds
Content marketing is a fully trackable way to get business returns while offering free value to customers and prospects. In essence, you get ROI from being nice to your prospects.
Oh dang – the elevator stalled. Organic or paid? 8 more seconds – go!
I don’t pitch strategies from the hip – tell me your marketing objectives, unique selling points, and business detail, and I’ll tell you how to drive results with content. That being said, I’m assuming you want results fast – you’ll likely have to pay for that!
What strategies are working well out there these days?
The barrier to entry for content marketing is getting lower and lower. In this more saturated world, content that works well is 1. strategic, or well aligned with a unified marketing vision for a business that is supported by data and research and 2. produced by experts at their craft, whether video, editorial, or graphics.
I’ve really enjoyed making some “let us help you with that conversation” pieces recently. Some examples would be whitepapers like “How to convince your CIO to invest in X” or an article titled, “6 quick marketing budget stats your CEO should see.” These pieces help influencer personas (non decision-making audiences) do what they’re meant to do for you – influence! They also show that as a business, you are thinking of your audience’s day-to-day struggles and interactions, and care to make their lives easier.
What are three key things an account director needs to know?
1. Ya gotta let people have a bad day
2. Listen. If you think you’re listening, you’re probably not. If you’re rehearsing what you’re about to say, you’re not listening.
3. You might deliver an amazing product, but people won’t work with you if you’re not a delight to work with.
You spend a lot of time underwater – what’s the appeal?
I’m a big lover of the ocean. I have an innate want to explore and discover new things. I’d get upset in my teens that all the world has been photographed by satellite, and all the big species have been discovered. I think this anger came from a feeling that it had all been seen already. Luckily, the ocean is a place where I’ve been able to satisfy that yearning for pioneering and discovery. Even next to one of the most famous cities on earth, I can swim out, dive down, and maybe see something that nobody has ever seen before.
What’s the key to safe spearfishing?
Don’t go alone.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
Probably a harpy eagle. Who wouldn’t want to fly?