iCrossing Names Kayvan Salmanpour as Its First Chief Content Officer

By Erik Oster 

Hearst-owned digital agency iCrossing named Kayvan Salmanpour as its first chief content officer as the agency seeks to create long-term content marketing strategies from a combination of consumer data and battle-tested branding tactics, Adweek reports. In the role, Salmanpour will report to iCrossing CEO Nick Brien and Hearst Digital Media president Troy Young.

Salmanpour arrives at iCrossing from Novel, the “creative content agency with an editorial mindset” that he co-founded in April of 2015. Prior to that he spent four years as vice president, revenue for content marketing platform NewsCred, where he was responsible for building the company’s entire sales, content and business development team after joining as its third employee. Before NewsCred, he spent five years as CEO of Mediaplanet Publishing.

Early last year, Salmanpour inspired headlines when classic but struggling political magazine The New Republic hired him as its chief revenue officer soon after being acquired by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and replacing most of its editorial staff. (TNR’s most senior reporters walked off the job in a “mass resignation” in December 2014.)

Novel was TNR’s “in-house content marketing agency,” and the pub hired Droga5 co-founder and former advisory board member Andrew Essex, who resigned from the agency just over a year ago, to oversee the effort. On his LinkedIn profile, Salmanpour writes that Novel was “incubated” by TNR but eventually signed such clients as Getty Images, Audible, IBM, Casper, Squarespace, Red and Bevel.

A related Digiday post positioned this internal agency as part of TNR’s “comeback plan,” but the pub decided to spin off the unit in March only weeks after Chris Hughes sold the magazine to Win McCormack, publisher of the (truly awesome) literary journal Tin House.

“The marketplace is quickly approaching a point where content from brands is in danger of being painted with the same brush as the banner ad today—looked down upon as an example of where we in the digital world squandered our chance to make the Internet great,” Salmanpour told Adweek. “We are focusing a lot more on building and retaining an audience for the brand themselves, rather than sort of renting out an audience. So for us, it’s just creating an offering where brands can access a full-service, content marketing studio for [clients]. Whether it’s for current clients or new clients, it’s about building that really solid offering.”

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