In this week’s episode, Robert and I discuss the $48 million purchase of content agency King Content and then predict we’ll see an accelerating trend of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in 2016. Next, we wonder if digital agencies can effectively compete with publishers that are getting aggressive about content marketing and ponder what’s behind Oracle’s purchase of web-page testing firm Maxymiser. Then, we take a deep dive into F+W’s model of audience development and e-commerce, which contains important lessons for marketers. Finally, does Facebook really draw more news traffic than Google, and why should that matter to brands? Raves include the New York Times’ successful model of e-newsletter development and big opportunities for local publishers. We wrap up the show with a #ThisOldMarketing example from Sherwin-Williams.
This week’s show
(Recorded live August 24, 2015; Length: 59:28)
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1. Content marketing in the news
- Isentia buys content marketing agency King Content in $48 million deal (4:00): Media monitoring company Isentia has acquired content marketing agency King Content, reports mUmBRELLA. The acquisition is the first major Australian deal to be done in the fast-growing content marketing space. King Content, which is based in Sydney, also has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, the U.K., and the U.S. Robert and I agree this will be the first of many acquisitions to come in the world of content marketing agencies. This article is paired with the next one from Adweek.
- Can digital shops survive the branded content boom? (6:58): Agencies that once dominated because of their digital expertise now find themselves competing with a growing number of publishers who are forming content studios to handle the creation and production of custom content, reports Adweek. Robert and I don’t believe there’s as much direct competition as the article implies because the mindsets and skill sets that publishers and agencies provide are much different. At risk are boutique digital agencies that tend to focus more on execution than strategy.
- Oracle buys Maxymiser (17:35): Oracle has signed an agreement to acquire Maxymiser, a leading provider of cloud-based software that enables testing, targeting, and personalizing web pages and mobile apps. Robert doesn’t understand why Oracle purchased this firm, other than to get access to its impressive list of blue-chip clients. I theorize it will be “bolted on” to Oracle Marketing Cloud to test the personalized web pages it produces.
- F+W chairman and CEO talks about the company’s decisive strategic shift to e-commerce (21:52): In an interview with Publishing Executive, F+W chairman and CEO David Nussbaum explains how the company transitioned from traditional print magazine and book publishing to e-commerce. In the interview, he shares the role content and e-commerce play in serving communities of enthusiasts and how F+W handled its successful transformation. I believe this proves that if you build a loyal audience and serve them well, you can sell products and services to them. Any company of any size can do this. Even e-commerce firms can reverse-engineer their way into building an audience via content.
- Facebook Has Taken Over for Google as a Traffic Source for News (31:42): Traffic analytics firm Parse.ly says its latest figures show the giant social network now accounts for more of the traffic to news sites than Google. The company’s latest estimates show that social-media sources (of which Facebook is by far the largest) accounted for 43% of the traffic to the Parse.ly network of media sites, while Google accounted for just 38%. I think they’re comparing apples and oranges, and I explain why. Robert points out that breaking news does get a lot of social shares, but most brands would say that organic search is still a bigger source of traffic for them than social.
2. Sponsor (37:48)
- This Old Marketing is sponsored by StudioD, a division of Demand Media. In The Content Marketing Files: Lessons Learned from the Last Decade, you’ll learn the ins and outs of content strategy, creation, and distribution. You’ll find over a decade of data and thought-leader tips to help you nail your strategy, track ROI, and publish content that resonates with your target audiences. Download this guide now at bit.ly/studiod-cmfiles.
3. Rants and raves (40:42)
- Joe’s rave: I love The New York Times’ major commitment to e-newsletters. It publishes 33 of them, covering topics that go well beyond sectional content from the NYT website. They are focused on subjects such as lifestyle and health, plus popular columnists such as Nicholas Kristof. Its open rates for these newsletters are remarkably high – up to 70%. According to this article from Digiday, people who sign up for a NYT newsletter are twice as likely to become a paid subscriber to the newspaper. This is an article you can show to your CMO as an example of the business impact that’s possible when you make a long-term commitment to building an audience.
- Robert’s rave: Robert loves this article from TheMediaBriefing, which suggests that local publishers are well-placed to become service providers to the communities they serve. The examples it focuses on are small firms that provide reliable broadband Internet access to remote areas in the U.K. He believes similar opportunities exist for businesses of all sizes to become service providers to their niche. But first they must overcome a significant challenge – to get good enough at content that they can build a loyal audience.
4. This Old Marketing example of the week (52:17)
- Sherwin-Williams: This paint-and-coatings powerhouse, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, has a long, rich history of content marketing. In 1896, it launched an internal company newsletter called The Chameleon. In 1910, it launched a monthly print magazine called Home Decorator, which informed Sherwin-Williams customers about contemporary design and decorating trends. It was published until the late 1950s, when the company shelved it in favor of advertising and other forms of promotion. The magazine was resurrected in 2004 and was renamed Stir. It’s now available in digital and print formats, and is focused on the needs of decorators and design professionals. It’s an excellent example of #ThisOldMarketing.
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