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Why I bet my career on influencer marketing and the creator economy after years of dismissing the industry, now valued at nearly $14 billion

Why I bet my career on influencer marketing and the creator economy after years of dismissing the industry, now valued at nearly $14 billion
IZEA president and COO Ryan SchramRyan Schram


I was very skeptical of influencer marketing when IZEA CEO Ted Murphy founded his company in 2006.




In 2011 I had never heard of the "creator economy," but Murphy convinced me to join IZEA.A 




US influencer marketing spending is expected to pass $3 billion this year and nearly $14 billion worldwide.


This as-told-to essay is based from a conversation with Ryan Schram, president and COO at IZEA, an influencer marketing company.A When IZEA's CEO and founder, Ted Murphy, first told me in 2006 he was setting up shop to pay bloggers to create content for brands on platforms like LiveJournal and MySpace, I told him that was an awful idea a?? that no one would ever want to do that and he was wasting his time. But when he approached me to join as chief marketing officer five years later, the influencer marketing landscape already looked a little different.A Terms like "macro-" and "nano-influencer" still weren't in wide use in 2011, and everyone's idea of a successful influencer marketing campaign back then was throwing a "Twitter party" where influencers tweeted out a series of pre-approved questions that their followers answered. Still, the smartphone was taking off and newer platforms like Instagram and Pinterest offered compelling glimpses into the future of social media.A When Ted was looking to scale IZEA to eventually go public, he called to ask what I was doing one weekend in April 2011.A 
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