It’s not often that employees make a significant impact on a company’s success during their first year on the job, but that’s exactly what Phillip S. Williams did.
As director of Knoxville, Tennessee-based DIYnetwork.com, the online arm of Scripps Networks’ DIY Network, 34-year-old Williams has racked up impressive results for the firm. Highlights include the first-ever quarter of consecutive months averaging more than 2 million unique Website visitors; two best months ever: one in March 2005, when the site posted 42.9 million page views, and one in June 2005, when the site received 3.2 million unique visitors; and a 50% increase in packaged content, which are sponsored “mini sites” within a Website that contain content on a specific topic.
Williams has accomplished all this in the short time since he began overseeing the management of the popular how-to site in July 2004. He takes the achievements in stride and credits his nine-person team with helping to drive DIYnetwork.com’s recent successes.
As a provider of in-depth, step-by-step lifestyle information — from crafts and home improvement to gardening and woodworking — DIYnetwork.com caters to cybersurfers who want to learn more about those topics and the advertisers, such as Lowe’s that want to reach that population.
Linda Fisk, vice president of online marketing and analytics for Scripps Networks, says Williams “really pushed the envelope when using inventive, creative approaches to displaying and serving up content online.” Fisk points to the new interactive features where consumers can access topic-specific kits, workshops, and tutorials.
“A lot of rich media and broadband-intensive features have been added to the site,” says Fisk. “Some of those additions have set a precedent for all of the Scripps Networks sites in terms of interactivity and the inventive, creative use of broadband.”
A graduate of Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana, Williams found his niche at the intersection of media and technology. With a political science degree, he got his feet wet as a field producer with Fox News Chicago and later as a campaign associate for the United Way’s Crusade of Mercy.
Williams’ desire for more media experience led him to New York City, where he worked for several media outlets, including NBC Studios and McGraw-Hill. Eager for a challenge, Williams took a position as online entertainment project manager for CBS.com, where he produced major Webcasts, including the 1998 People’s Choice Awards. He later managed major multimedia projects for BET.com.
Williams recalls the dark days in 2001, following the dot-com demise, when technology workers were suddenly fighting for survival. “You never knew when your day was coming,” he says. “I basically tapped every available resource I had, put my resum├ę in everyone’s hands, and let all of my contacts know that I might need their help in the future.”
Luckily, that day never came. So after “exhausting himself and his position” at BET.com, Williams posted his resum├ę on Monster.com last year. Within 48 hours, Scripps Networks’ senior vice president was on the phone with a job offer. “After taking a visit to Knoxville and exploring the opportunity,” says Williams,