John Shankman is a salesman and proud of it. As he once tweeted “We’re all sellin’ something, brother.” As the publisher of The Awl network of blogs (The Awl, The Hairpin, Splitsider, etc.), he’s a matchmaker. He makes sure the Jameson Irish Whiskey ad runs next to the Ask Polly article “I Am 40. Will I Be Alone Forever?” (Either answer deserves a swig.) And that the Pure Protein banner dwells atop “Today I Will Go To Chipotle For Lunch.” That’s called strategic content marketing, brother. Shankman is so one with content that he coined the word JOHNTENT as a way to brand his own. (A wordsmith as well as a salesman, he refers to The Awl’s audience as “indielectual.”)
While some other Internet media mavericks battle each other over the lowest common denominator, Shankman sees high quality editorial as an engine of growth, not its enemy. And he knows how to bring the client along. He refined the tricky art of how to combine inventive content with big brand clients like HP and Target while paying his dues at The Huffington Post and at the heavy-hitting Federated Media Publishing. FM founder and CEO John Battelle said of Shankman: “his energy and enthusiasm for taking care of clients is infectious.” Which, by the way, is another word for viral.