By Joe Pulizzi published December 26, 2015

This Week in Content Marketing: Sure, Social Media Platforms Will Never Change

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PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

In this pre-Christmas episode, Robert and I discuss the meteoric growth of T Brand Studio, The New York Times’ content studio, and predict what will happen to Madison Avenue agencies if they ignore it. Next, we ponder Shafqat Islam’s 2016 content marketing predictions, and point out where our opinions align with and diverge from his prognostications. Finally, we question the wisdom of Basecamp moving its blog to Medium. They’re doing this under the premise that Medium won’t try to monetize the Basecamp blog without its permission. We think Basecamp executives may end up with coal in their Christmas stockings. Rants and raves include the renaissance in scripted TV content and a review of Joe’s 2016 predictions. We wrap up the show with a #ThisOldMarketing example from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

This week’s show

(Recorded live December 20, 2015; Length: 1:01:41)

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1. Content marketing in the news

  • Industrial strength branded content (5:20): Last year, The New York Times set up an entire division devoted to producing and commercializing content for its advertisers, T Brand Studio. In less than 12 months, it has a staff of 50 people and sales in the neighborhood of $30-40 million – 15-20% of the $200 million the NYT will make this year in digital advertising. Robert warns what will happen to Madison Avenue agencies if they continue to ignore the growing threat posed by big media content studios. He and I agree there’s a lot of risk in simply outsourcing content creation and distribution to an ad agency or content studio, and we explain why.
  • 2016 content marketing predictions (17:45): In 2015, content marketing peaked, according to a new article by Shafqat Islam, the CEO of NewsCred. 2016 will be a challenging year, as marketers struggle to justify their investments in it. But those who persevere and focus on their strategy will emerge as long-term winners. Budgets will continue to grow, but will require more justification than ever, he predicts. Robert and I agree with many of his predictions, including focusing on specific channels and content types and creating more immersive experiences for customers.
  • Signal v. Noise moves its blog to Medium (27:58): Basecamp’s blog, Signal v. Noise, has moved to the Medium blogging platform in order to leverage its polished authoring environment and to leverage the reach of its huge community. Since making the move, Basecamp founder and CTO David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) reports that two of its articles have been viewed more than 500,000 times – far exceeding the size of its audience on the Basecamp website. Robert and I are stunned that Basecamp would abandon its owned blog in favor of this shared platform, which is likely to change and won’t help them build an audience. We predict what will happen by the end of 2016.

2. Sponsor (36:25)

  • Visual storytelling takes a village: In most businesses, the creation of rich-media content is not a scalable process. Whether your organization is using in-house teams, agencies, or freelancers to create these assets, creative efforts seem to be more disparate, ad hoc, and siloed than ever before. To put it simply, great visual storytelling takes a village – but that village seems to be more and more spread out. This new white paper from Widen explains how to transform it into an efficient community that can work together to streamline critical creative processes. You can download this white paper at http://bit.ly/widen-visual-storytelling.

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3. Rants and raves (39:23)

  • Robert’s rant: A new article from The Wall Street Journal has raised Robert’s ire this week. It says there are a record 409 scripted television shows on broadcast, cable, and streaming services this year, according to research by FX Networks. It tries to build the case that a glut of scripted shows is to blame for depressed network ratings. Robert calls bullshit on this claim, and explains why new distribution models are driving an unparalleled creative renaissance in television content. The key to success in the Brave New World of television content is remarkably similar to the challenge content marketers face today.
  • Joe’s rave: I’m excited that CMI is sharing its 8th annual content marketing predictions, by far the longest-running set of predictions of this type. It contains insights from the best and brightest in the world of content marketing. I share three of my predictions with Robert, and we discuss his outlook on them.

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (53:52)

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: During the first part of the 20th century, department store chain Montgomery Ward produced Christmas-themed coloring books, which were given away to children as holiday gifts to entice parents to visit and shop at its stores. In 1939, Montgomery Ward chose Robert May, a copywriter employed by the company, to write the coloring book. Inspired by the story of the ugly duckling, May wrote a marvelous tale of a misfit reindeer named Rudolph. During this project, May’s wife died after a lengthy bout of cancer, leaving him with a mountain of medical bills. During the 1939 Christmas season, 2.4 million copies of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer were distributed. In 1947, as interest in this wonderful Christmas story grew, May convinced the company’s president to turn the copyright over to him. Soon after, he was able to parlay this gift into a best-selling song performed by Gene Autry, two stop-motion television animation shows, games, toys, clothing, and much more. The misfit reindeer with the glowing red nose that helps Santa save Christmas is now recognized and adored worldwide. This is Robert’s favorite example ever of #ThisOldMarketing.

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For a full list of 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, including best-selling Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) and the new book, Content Inc. Check out Joe's two podcasts. 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.

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  • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne – NoteTakingNerd

    I always love hearing stories of resourcefulness being exercised.

    I never knew the origin of Rudolph but now the story has added level of meaningfulness to me.

    What was cool was how May set out to write a story but didn’t bog himself by thinking he had to start from scratch. He thought about another winning formula out there and built his story based on that premise.

    Many a marketer would be served well by following in May’s footsteps by not re-creating the stone wheel… but instead looking at creating the next better wheel… or even better looking at how wheels can facilitate something bigger like flying.

    This May story also makes me want to start thinking of how I can use tell stories about the stuff I’m selling using the baseline of stories like the Grasshopper and the Ant, Goldilocks, The Ugly Duckling, etc.

    There are pages and pages and pages of confusing fluff out there but that little paragraph about Rudolph had more value packed into than many websites do. Thank you Robert for deeming that story worthy of sharing with us.

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

      Lewis… I know right? When I read that story – I was so struck by how wonderfully “christmas” it was – and I hadn’t heard it. And, you’re right as well – how May truly took the architecture of a “well-worn tale” and turned it into something new and different. Thank you so much for the kind words. Happy Holidays!!

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  • https://myprintcloud.com/ Faisal Qureshi

    Well, totally agree. Social media has become one of the powerful tool and also a factor for SERPs for Google. Trust me without social media a business specifically cant survive that longer. I started marketing on social media and now it is getting more leads from social media as compared to organic. Imagine the power.