As 2019 gets underway, it’s easy to dive right into all of the great things happening in the new year but I always find it helpful to take a step back and ask myself what stands out most from the previous year at Zilker Media.
Where did we win? What opportunities did we miss? How can we get better for our team and clients in 2019?
We founded the company in mid-2017, so 2018 was Zilker Media’s first full calendar year in business.
In some ways we were building the plane in the air like all start-ups and in some ways we had a running head start, with much of the foundational Zilker Media team benefitting from years of working together in the past.
In a bit of serendipity, the year of our founding (2017) was also the 100th anniversary of our namesake, Zilker Park, here in Austin, TX. Our vision is to build a company that helps clients create brands that people want to gather around in the same way that our community gathers around Zilker Park, which is our city’s gathering point, and we made great progress last year toward that vision.
Additionally, we wanted to use 2018 as the year to build the foundation for the agency with an eye on the next 100 years. In other words, as opposed to making decisions focused on short-term wins, we wanted to create a foundation that would hold strong over time, to the benefit of our team, our clients and our community.
It was a wall-to-wall year but we made a lot of progress. Here are a few of the key things that stand out as I look back on the year:
Putting Down Roots at our New Office
Zilker Media spent much of 2017 working virtually and we were eager to get into our own space in 2018. We bought property in South Austin on the edge of the Texas Hill Country late in the year and officially moved in in early 2018. We hosted an open house party with clients, partners and friends in the spring that was a lot of fun.
Putting Down Roots with a Growing Team
Growth was the second most important focus in 2018 and the first area of emphasis was growing our talent base and leadership team at Zilker Media. We added several new hires and cemented our leadership team, which includes Paige Velasquez (Digital Marketing Director), Shelby Janner (Publicity Director), Patti Conrad (CFO) and Wes Fang (Chief Strategy Officer).
Haaaavard & Beyond
Digital Marketing Director Paige Velasquez joined me on stage in Boston last spring for the 2018 Harvard Medical School Writing, Publishing, and Social Media for Healthcare Professionals CME course.
We spoke on the changing world of digital marketing and explained the importance of “owning” your brand online. We also took the stage at several other major events, including the Gazelle’s ScaleUp Summit, EO Nerve and many others.
500K Client Quizzes!
We passed a significant milestone in 2018 with 500,000 quizzes taken on our quiz marketing software platform, Catch Engine. It was validation for our focus on the importance of early stage value for community members and a big number to celebrate alongside our clients.
Clients in the Bright Lights
We booked hundreds of media hits for clients in 2019, including high profile opportunities with Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, CBS, The Hill, Forbes, etc.
Finally, one word sums up 2018 as I look back on the first full year of business for Zilker Media: gratitude. Gratitude for the opportunity to be back in the agency saddle again. Gratitude toward clients that entrusted us with their community-building last year.
Most of all, I’m grateful for team members – many of whom I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside in the past – who bought into the Zilker Media vision and wanted to be a part of building an agency we can all be proud of from the ground-up.
Here’s to an even bigger 2019!