Michael Stelzner can do about 100 voices and animal impersonations, but it is his voice leading Social Media Examiner (SME) that attracts hundreds of thousands. His “Social Media Marketing” is a top 10 marketing podcast on iTunes. Over 300,000 people subscribe to the newsletter. Thousands attend Social Media Examiner online summits, and more than 2,500 from over 30 countries travel to San Diego for the annual Social Media Marketing World.
In this week’s episode of “The Pivot,” host Todd Wheatland sits down with Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, during Content Marketing World to discuss the rapid growth of SME, the pivot he took to get where he is, and his goals for the future.
What may surprise you
- Michael likes to have a lot of fun with his kids. He can do about 100 voices and animal impersonations.
- He grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with two younger brothers and he loved being outdoors.
- He grew up emulating famed DJ Wolfman Jack, recreating radio shows with his brother.
- Michael has a master’s degree in speech communication.
- While in graduate school, he started a creative services agency after being wrongfully terminated from a high-level agency.
- Around 2002, he chose to specialize and launched Writing White Papers.
- His 2011 book, Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition, came from what he learned rebranding and building the successful Social Media Examiner.
Through his company, Writing White Papers, Michael developed significant relationships in the marketing space. Good friends Ann Handley (MarketingProfs) and Brian Clark (Copyblogger) encouraged Michael to get connected on social media. He joined social platforms in late 2009 and invested some of his company’s profits to fund Social Media Examiner in 2010. If SME took off, he planned to delete his name-branded domain and rebrand himself with Social Media Examiner.
Collaboration is the business
Michael wanted Social Media Examiner to be less about him and more about other experts who had something valuable to share. He envisioned a multi-author blog that provided top-quality information from writers who wanted their work on a high-traffic platform.
He set a high editorial bar and modeled SME after a traditional magazine-editing process. Each article goes through five editors before being published. This high level of quality and consistency has made Social Media Examiner a top resource that receives dozens of guest post submissions every week.
What I did was build it. I recruited. I brought the experts. I gave them the platform. I taught them how to be writers. A lot of our friends today are really great writers because they have gone through our process.
Listen to Todd’s full interview with Michael Stelzner here: