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Israeli Startup: Managed For Mimi Provides Content Solutions For Your Company Brand INTERVIEW

So you’ve got your own company and everyone around you has a blog. This isn’t a new situation for today’s business owner. More and more businesses are adding blogs with actual content as part of their web presence. Content can be anything from a CEO’s daily ramblings, to content related to their business type.

More often then not, you’ll find great travel blog entries on hotel and airfare booking sites. If your favorite insurance agency has a blog they may talk about events they are going to sponsor and insurance needs. If you run a hunting and fishing store your blog may contain your personal hunting and fishing exploits or tips on the best gear to buy.

No matter what your business is, blogging and social media are some of the best ways to market yourself and your company.

The problem faced by most business owners though is that they are too busy to write a blog every week or every month, much less everyday. That’s where startups like “Managed For Mimi” come in. This Israeli startup helps provide, aggregate and churn out branded content for others’ sites.

We got a chance to find out all about this lucrative new startup, growing up in the Startup Nation. Check out our interview with “Managed For Mimi” below, and no we didn’t find out who Mimi is.

What is ManagedforMimi?

We’re called Managed for Mimi, and we provide new media content marketing services to small and medium businesses. Our service plans are extremely modular and affordable, but our writers churn out branded storytelling of the highest quality, for use on corporate blogs and email marketing promotions.

There’s so much buzz nowadays about managed web services, dynamic engagement, inbound marketing and establishing authority via colorful content. But we feel like there aren’t enough options out there for organizations that can’t spend big to enjoy a high level of genuine value from marketing agencies, freelancers, or hiring in-house.

The idea behind Managed for Mimi is to help these guys leverage the space that they’ve carved out in niche spheres to be engaging and dynamic, but to do it in a manner that’s straightforward, with cut-and-dry deliverables, and awesome service. It all comes down to the quality of the content, and that’s where we come in.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

My partner Harry Rubenstein and I first started working together full-time when we were both journalists at the same major newspaper, in the arts and entertainment beat. From those days about ten years ago, I have distinct memories of Harry telling me about blogs, Podcasting and other grassroots, social-web trends of the day.

At the time, I was much more interested in print, but we loved working together. He was the editor and section manager for the weekend entertainment supplement, and with a background in design and a degree from Boston University in mass communications, I was in charge of layout and pre-press production for the section. We both wrote quite a bit for the paper as well, running concert reviews, interviews with international entertainment figures and columns about media trends.

So the shared background in media and the love of storytelling and the “next big thing” had us in cahoots from the get-go.

A few years later, we launched our first website together, a metro blog, and started offering services as an international managed web services agency, providing community management, marketing content and social branding services to big businesses. Under the name Action Packed Media, we had built up a well-oiled project management infrastructure and rich network of talent. Managed for Mimi was the logical next step for us as a team. We developed the service to be co-branded with the Mad Mimi email marketing web app, and we’ve been working with the Mimi team on the new product for about a year now.

Where are you based?

Our company is officially located in downtown Jerusalem, Israel, but we retain team members all over the world. When we launched Managed for Mimi, my partner Harry and I decided to structure it as a US-based private partnership for the time being, so we also maintain presences in metro Los Angeles and Boston, where we often find ourselves.

Over the years working as Action Packed Media, we’ve gotten really good at the virtual office thing, maintaining a strong organizational culture despite the physical distances.

So far, with Managed for Mimi, we’ve been enjoying the flexibility of this “work from anywhere” arrangement, which we feel reflects in the upbeat vibes of the content we generate.

What is the startup culture like where you are based?

Israel has been dubbed the “Startup Nation” for all of the vibrant ingenuity that’s been coming out of here over the past few decades. Most of the action happens in the greater Tel Aviv-Herzlia area, nicknamed “Silicon Wadi.” But Jerusalem, a city not as famous for its tech scene as its antiquities and religious significance, is home to many startups as well. There are two office parks full of tech startups, there’s a venture incubator organization, and the municipal government is doing a lot to foster the scene — the mayor himself is a startup man, having entered politics following success in the private sector.

While the technologies and product innovations have changed a lot over the years, overall, in terms of their business approaches, Israeli startups seem to rely on the late-1990s model whereby someone has a “big idea,” shops it around for investment, opens a swanky office, hires dozens of engineers and creatives, attempts to conquer whatever the sphere is, and only then considers monetizing the thing. And in this respect, Managed for Mimi is the black sheep of the Israeli startup scene.

I’m sure there are others, but we’re the only Israeli startup I know of that’s interested in autonomous business profitability from day one. We could obviously do a lot more to grow quickly if we weren’t as gung-ho about bootstrapping, but we’re proud of being built from scratch for financial sustainability.

What problem does your startup solve?

Nowadays people are recognizing more and more that successful branding online necessitates quality content. When people running websites want to provide real engagement value to their audience, and potential audience, it all comes back to niche authority storytelling. This is true no matter what the organization’s goals are — being more visible on search, gaining relevant referral traffic, generating leads, getting in on the conversation, or even simply building long-term brand awareness.

The problem comes when people are too busy, or just don’t have the confidence, to keep churning out good, compelling marketing content regularly — you know, the tough part. That’s where Managed for Mimi comes in. For a reasonable subscription fee, we’ll coordinate with you and make sure your web brand is publishing blog posts and sending out email promotions that are on-message, and with regularity.

What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?

I’d say that our biggest challenge is scalability. We feel that it’s super important to provide the best possible service, to make ourselves available for as much coordination with the clients as they’re interested in. As our customer base continues to grow, we’ve had to evolve our organizational structure so as to be able to continue and provide that value. It’s something we’re keeping a close eye on as our brand matures.

Who are your mentors and role models?

Gary and Dean Levitt, the brothers in ownership over at Mad Mimi are amazing guys. They’ve taught us quite a bit about what it means to provide top-tier service value. By showing us what they’ve done with what they call “the Mimi way,” an organizational culture of going above and beyond always with a smile, they’ve for sure set the bar high for us. They’ve also forged this world of user experience that’s simple, straightforward and elegant. It’s really important to us that we live up to the Mimi name.

Mick Weinstein, who was one of the founders of Seeking Alpha and is currently the head of content at Covestor, has been an invaluable friend and trusted adviser to us.

I’m also a big fan of Jason Fried and the 37signals organization. I love their books, I live my life on their apps, and I find myself aspiring to their approach towards work-life balance, and towards optimized remote team operations.

And Brian Clark from Entreproducer is someone whose material really resonates with me. When I read his columns, where he talks about how creating branded worlds online needs to come from a place of storytelling, I always come away with an overall feeling of, “Oh man, this guy just gets it!”

What’s one thing the world doesn’t know about you or ManagedforMimi?

We’re planning a team outing to go see Skyfall, the upcoming James Bond movie, when it comes out in the fall. As a group, the Managed for Mimi team is really into Bond.

What’s next for ManagedforMimi?

Aside from a field trip to the movies? We launched our website with the goal of being as straightforward as possible, so people looking for content marketing services can see what we’re all about at a glance. I love the feel of the site. From a content perspective, it’s really an exercise in minimalism, which is a big part of what we were going for.

But as straightforward and successful as it is, content minimalism is kind of an ironic approach for a content marketing engagement agency. So we’re already hard at work on a new version of the site that we’re hoping will be true to the original UX and aesthetic, but will also give us a new platform to go all-out with rich and dynamic sections for those who really want to drill down.

Linkage:

Check out ManagedforMimi here

Here are more startup stories from Israel

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