By Joe Pulizzi published April 19, 2014

The Importance of Strategy in Successful Content Marketing

this old marketing logoPNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

In this episode of PNR’s, This Old Marketing, Robert and I reveal the one thing that both publishers and brands need to focus on when aiming to build a business around successful content marketing. We also discuss how some big-money deals will likely impact the content marketing industry over the next 12 months, examine a move from Cosmopolitan that is causing a stir, and review Shutterstock’s launch of a new education and training platform, before getting fired up by this week’s This Old Marketing example from the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.

Sponsored by:

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This week’s show

(Recorded live on April 15, 2014; Length: 1:00:07)

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Show overview

1. Content Marketing in the News

  • Digital Technology and the Future of Publishing (2:15): Robert and I talk about an article in Publishing Executive in which the author encourages publishers to disrupt, lest they become the ones being disrupted. I believe agility is the key to survival in today’s turbulent marketplace: You must innovate fast, fail fast, and learn as you go. In addition, Robert observes that marketing organizations need to resemble newsrooms in the way in which they create and manage staff and content development.
  • Will Start-ups Be the Lifeblood of a Renewed Publishing Industry? (7:43): Speaking of disruption, Michael Bhaskar, author of the excellent book, The Content Machine, compares today’s disruptive business environment to the Cambrian era — a period of Earth’s history during which evolution became rampant — and rapid. In our current, highly disruptive environment, start-ups that are prepared to harness technology, innovate, and adapt quickly will likely have the best shot at survival. Robert and I consider this to be a wake-up call for our industry, telling us that we need to experiment with new forms of content development and delivery and learn how to adapt and iterate more rapidly and responsively so that we don’t go the way of the dinosaurs.
  • Content Marketing as a Cash Crop (14:32): In a recent VentureBeat post,Shafqat Islam, CEO and Co-Founder of NewsCred, explains why investment dollars are flowing into content marketing so rapidly right now. While Robert points out that the previous gap in this market was filled by start-ups, not by existing enterprise solutions addressing it, I believe that’s because incumbent companies are so busy working on their existing business that they tend to ignore start-up opportunities and emerging needs.
  • IBM Acquires Silverpop, and Act-On Gets $42 Million (21:25): New business deals involving Silverpop and Act-on are indicative of the feeding frenzy that’s going on in the content marketing space today. Enterprise software companies, SEO firms, agencies, and others have slapped the label “content marketing” on their wares, hoping to get a piece of revenue from this hot trend. Robert and I make our predictions on what will likely happen as this revolution sorts itself out.
  • Cosmopolitan Courts a Sponsored Cover Controversy (26:16): AdAge reports that Cosmopolitan has caused quite a stir with its May issue by featuring a pasted-on cover for its subscription copy — native advertising sponsored by L’Oreal. Robert and I discuss why print publishers need to branch out into new disruption techniques, including cover treatments like this.
  • Shutterstock’s Online Learning Platform (32:27): The stock photo house has created Skillfeed, an online marketplace for learning that includes 10,000 instructional videos. Interestingly, Shutterstock plans to charge subscribers $19 a month to access this online library — which signals to photographers and other customers that this is valuable content.
  • Brian Clark Discusses the Road from Content Marketing to Media Company (35:00): In a keynote presentation delivered at SMX West 2014, Copyblogger Media Founder Brian Clark characterizes his company as a media company that sells a diverse range of products — not just a content marketing platform. Robert and I discuss how the Content Marketing Institute is also using this type of strategy to grow the value we provide for our audience.

2. Big Ideas from Our Sponsor (43:13)

  • This week’s PNR is sponsored by Oracle Marketing Cloud (formerly Eloqua), which has released an excellent white paper called, Marketing Automation Simplified: A Small Guide to Big Ideas. The guide provides tips to help marketers optimize and automate data and targeting, email marketing, lead nurturing and scoring, content marketing, and sales/marketing alignment. Robert and I both feel that it’s a wonderful introduction to marketing automation.

marketing-automation-simplified-oracle-eloqua

3. Rants and Raves (45:29)

  • Robert’s Rant: When Actress Kathryn Heigl was photographed leaving a Duane Reade drug store by a paparazzo in New York City, the retailer tweeted the picture and implied that she loves shopping there. She is now suing the drugstore chain — a development that really raised Robert’s ire. If a media company, like the publishers of Us Weekly or People, can run pictures of celebrities going about their daily lives, why can’t brands? Just when does a tweet become an ad? This is a critical issue that content marketers need to watch, because it could become a slippery slope.
  • Joe’s Rave: I give a big thumbs up to Jay Baer for his recent blog post, 8 Things I’m Trying to Improve with This New Convince and Convert Website. I love that Jay is being so open about the issues he’s struggling with (which many readers share), and the steps he’s taking to deal with them.

4. This Old Marketing Example of the Week (54:14)

  • Fire Protection Engineering Magazine: This is the publication of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE). It has been an authoritative source for this industry for over 15 years. All of the content is donated by members; the association has developed a proven process to vet submitted articles. It ensures that the magazine’s content is of the highest quality. This is a great lesson for brands, which are often reluctant to reach out to customers to ask them to submit content. It also showcases what’s possible in an industry that some content marketers may consider to be “not very exciting.”

magazine cover-fire protection engineering

For a full list of the PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page. 

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Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers. Joe's latest book is Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill). If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    Thanks for sharing this podcast Joe!I agree.In order to keep your business on track you must innovate fast,fail fast,and learn as you go.

    • http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Barbara…and thanks for listening!

  • http://twitter.com/joecardillo Joe Cardillo

    Interesting episode. Makes me think of a bunch of things, but primarily that not many people really understand disintermediation, and what the unbundle / bundle thing is doing to marketing (FTR: Marc Andreesen has a much more eloquently stated explanation of this than me… http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2013/11/21/marc-andreessen/)
    The other thing is, and I have to be honest here, fail fast is a great mantra, but wow, I’m not sure most marketers are ready to do it. Scaling, especially in regards to content creation (which I know something about), isn’t easy and most marketers’ options tend to be
    a) depend on internal resources, which are often limited
    b) DIY – obvious issues there w/quality and getting stuck in the weeds
    c) outsourcing – which requires a solid, pre-thought out strategy and collaborative skills (something many people struggle with, esp. in regards to the silos in their own co’s)

    • http://www.adaptivemarketer.com Robert Rose

      Joe thanks…..
      I’m hopeful by “interesting” you didn’t mean it like the Chinese curse (“May You Live In Interesting Times)… :-) But in any event… You definitely have a great point. I would agree that many (maybe not most) are not ready to adopt the “fail fast”. But in so many cases that we see, it’s a factor of a reticence to change the design (aka culture) of the business — not necessarily an unwillingness by the individual.

      I think your three points – resources, the NIHS (Not Invented Here Syndrome) and outsourcing are all reactions (rather than proactive strategies) to the culture of the business. In short (and as I’ve been saying in talks lately) the answer to the question of: is our business designed to produce what we produce – is always “yes”. You can’t change what happens (e.g. an unwillingness to embrace “fail fast” or experimentation or agile or whatever) until you change the design of the business itself.

      • http://twitter.com/joecardillo Joe Cardillo

        That’s a fair point – I think you’re right about how the overall design / structure of a business sets the tone for marketers, and it’s something I hear a lot, that they feel they are the furthest forward part of their org and are constantly evangelizing doing it differently despite resistance.

        I don’t know if you follow Eric Ries / Ben Yoskovitz and the lean startup model, but I’ve been watching their efforts to teach lean in the enterprise…I think they’re more focused on prod. mgmt and product/cust. development, but it has some interesting implications for marketers too.

        • http://www.adaptivemarketer.com Robert Rose

          Great point Joe… And yes, I do… I’ve read Lean Startup a couple of times now… The funny thing (and to be clear – I so respect the work they’ve done) is that I actually don’t think they go far enough…. They discuss how it’s important to uncover that viable market – and then codify that into “running the business”… I actually think it may be more fluid than even that… I think the true purpose of marketing now may be to be in a constant state of disruption – where “developing a customer” in *whatever* manner they need will be the new mark of excellence. Great discussion.

          • http://twitter.com/joecardillo Joe Cardillo

            Interesting, I’ve never heard it quite that forcefully before.
            I think I agree with you. Marketers can’t just sit and wait for companies to catch up, they have to shake some trees. No easy task though, esp. given lead gen pressures. Writing something about that now, any links, resources, people’s brains I should look at etc are welcome =)

          • http://www.adaptivemarketer.com Robert Rose

            Awesome… can’t wait to read what you’re writing.. Do keep me posted on that… I’ve just started reading this guy (and am about 25% through his Radical Leadership Book) – hope it’s helpful…. http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/