By Joe Pulizzi published January 25, 2014

Where Are All the Content Strategists at?

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

In this week’s edition, Robert and I talk about Contently’s funding increases, reveal the truth about Forbes’ valuation, discuss why TV is not dying, and share our thoughts on why CMOs are so bad at creating a good customer experience. In addition, Robert ponders the beyond-the-grave implications of content, and I rant about the confusion between content marketing and content strategy before we wrap things up with a This Old Marketing example from Nike.

This week’s show

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Show overview

1. Content Marketing in the News

  • Contently Raises $9 Million: Contently, the half technology/half agency, pulled in additional funding in its quest to become “the plumbing” for the content marketing industry. Robert and I feel that this is the first of many deals we will see in 2014 (contributing article: AdAge). Disclaimer: Contently has been a financial supporter of CMI.
  • Forbes’ Actual Numbers Released and (wait for it) BrandVoice Accounts for One-Quarter of Ad Revenue: A simply amazing article for discussion that goes through every financial aspect of Forbes. Simply put, based on traditional media valuation, there is no way that Forbes can get the $400 million dollars it wants. We then discuss how a non-media company (or perhaps a corporate brand) may have more to gain from the purchase than a media company (contributing article: Neiman Lab).
  • TV is Not Dead: Dave Morgan, founder of Tacoda (among other things), details how TV ad spending will grow more than digital over the next five years. Listen in as we share our take, and ask the question, “What exactly is TV anymore?” (contributing article: MediaPost).
  • Why CMOs Flunk at Customer Experience: Research from Forrester finds that only 8 percent of senior marketers surveyed can correctly define consumer personas and characterize the role they play in guiding a marketing strategy. Well, no wonder there is little consistency in the customer experience. We also talk about corporate silos, how to fix them, and what’s next (contributing article: MediaPost).

2. Rants & Raves

  • Robert’s Rant: Robert talks about a recent YouTube compilation created from a recently deceased person’s Twitter stream. A discussion ensues about who owns our stories when we publish them online? (For additional back-and-forth debate on the topic, check out Robert’s Facebook thread.)

  • Joe’s Rant: I discuss the new Coursera offering from Northwestern University on content strategy. My complaints? The course uses the terms “content marketing” and “content strategy” interchangeably throughout its materials. I also contest the accuracy of their definition of content strategy (i.e., they have it backwards). Robert and I both wonder where all the content strategists are at, and why there hasn’t been any backlash from them about this.

3. This Old Marketing Example of the Week

  • Joe talks about how Nike launched a jogging movement in 1966 by educating folks — not about jogging shoes, but rather on the overall benefits of jogging. I bet you can guess how it worked out for the brand. (I tip my hat to Garrett Moon for the find.)


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Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

  • Desirae Odjick

    Hilary Marsh has an awesome article about the Coursera description of content strategy and why it’s dangerous to equate content marketing and content strategy!

    • Joe Pulizzi

      THANK YOU for this. I just posted a comment on Hilary’s site. I’m glad someone caught it.

  • Latief Pakpahan

    Yes, awesome article as usual, Nike has done a great job with content marketing 🙂

  • wtbillmckibben

    Good content starts with at least passable writing skills. “Where are all the content strategists at.” ????? Please!

    • cwbadiey

      wtbillmckibben, I totally agree with you. I was horrified to see this headline in something coming from the “Content Marketing Institute.” Almost makes me reconsider my subscription.

      • wtbillmckibben

        Ms. Badiey~ Thx! I’m amazed that it ever made it onto the site, and more amazed that you & I seem the only ones concerned. Be well.

      • wtbillmckibben

        Ms Badiey~ As a devoted Mel Brooks nut I should have picked up on Joe’s reference to a scene in Blazing Saddles, Although it was very obscure. And if I didn’t get it, anyone outside the Brooks nut-camp didn’t have a chance. Thanks for sticking up for me.

        By the way we have a CW in our family, oldest son Charles William (named for guess who) actually goes by those initials. Be well.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Gang…actually, it was a play off the movie Blazing Saddles (which I didn’t mention). You are absolutely correct, we were just trying to have a bit of fun with it.

      • wtbillmckibben

        Sorry Joe, you are absolutely “white”! Of all people I should have picked up on that. That hood just didn’t fit my fat head.

        • Joe Pulizzi

 get double points. You got the reference and I didn’t even give you a hint.

          • wtbillmckibben

            I should have picked up on it first read. I have seen Blazing Saddles a zillion times. But then we’d have missed this fun exchange. Be well.

  • Filip Galetic

    I thought that the Coursera course actually too strongly divided content strategy from content marketing. Also it’s valuable to take into account it’s an academic course with a more theoretical approach rather than practical and also that often same terms can have different definitions, according to their scope and focus. So, I’d take it with a grain of salt.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Filip…I only went through the first part of the course, but noticed right away that their definition of content strategy was not content strategy at all. Strange.

      • Hilary Marsh

        I agree completely with this observation, as you commented on my blog post:

        While smart, well-written, user-focused content that exists to help a business meet a specific goal is the heart of content strategy, there’s so much more that an organization needs to think about in conceiving, creating, managing, promoting, measuring, and retiring content.

        Content strategists have been discussing this both publicly and privately.

        Great podcast episode, Joe and Robert!

  • Garrett Moon

    Thanks for the mention guys! The Nike example is one of my favorites, partially because it was sort of accidental – which coincidently can result in some pretty great content marketing.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Great stuff Garrett…keep it coming.

    • Jeff Korhan

      What’s interesting about the Nike content is we’ve since learned that the heal/toe movement that most of us were taught back then is no longer considered good form.

      I remember hearing about Nike for the first time in the spring of 1975 while still running track in high school. The shoes were only available via mail order. As a result, nobody knew how to pronounce NIKEE – instead it was thought to be simply one syllable: NIKE.

      What really got our attention was Steve Prefontaine’s association with Nike, which unfortunately was short-lived due to his untimely passing. I don’t recall how much Nike’s sold for at that time, but I remember the outrageous price of $13 for a pair of Adidas!

      • Joe Pulizzi

        Love this take Jeff. I can cross off learning something new today 😉 Done!

  • Tracy Fitzgerald

    Hey guys! Great discussion and thanks for pointing out the dire lack of differentiation that Northwestern has. I actually posted a discussion to the CMI Linkedin page a couple of weeks ago to try and rouse some conversation around the difference between content strategists and marketers but I may do a follow up on this.

    Here’s the original post – the most interesting thing are the replies I think…

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Wonderful Tracy…you were ahead of the game on that one. I’ll definitely check it out.

      • Tracy Fitzgerald

        Thanks! Hope you like it. Some of the replies are really insightful.

  • Eric Wittlake

    Joe and Robert, thanks for flagging my recent article, it was great to hear your perspective on it!

    I wanted to add a couple comments the opening discussion of SEO and native advertising. Like Robert, I’ve heard a number of publishers pitch the SEO benefits of native advertising (or more specifically, what I’m calling native publishing) programs. Note Google and Matt Cutts have already come out against this though. Links in an article you paid to have the right to distribute are paid links and should be nofollow links. If not, you are buying links and by now we all know that is a big no-no. (Remember Interflora in the UK?)

    More interestingly, Google News is also treating those native publishing articles differently, not just the links in them. Add a Google News hit to the drop in traffic headlines tagged [sponsored] naturally see and some publishers are doing something very un-native to get marketers the page views they are expecting: they are heavily promoting those native publishing articles. Yikes.

    Here is Google’s recent reminder to publishers about how paid content should be treated:

    Thanks again for the mention, looking forward to more native ad rants! 🙂

    • Robert Rose

      Eric…. Great points… and thanks for expanding it… It’s an extraordinary time now with how content is flowing….. Basically, I think marketers just have to start looking beyond a Google First strategy…

  • Lucy Sutton

    It looks like the organisers at Northwestern are listening to you guys and others. I just received the following revised definition in a Coursera email:

    “Content Strategy uses credible, trustworthy, transparent media to communicate stories and information to enhance an organization’s strategic goals.

    “The term “Content Strategy” became common in the late 1990s. It referred to the planning, development, and management of content in written or digital media. While content is still managed and developed, Content Strategy in Organizations focuses on how enterprises use stories and smart-data to communicate strategic information to important internal and external audiences.

    “Around the world, for-profit, non-profit, volunteer and government organizations know that the people they want to reach have less and less time. Unless an organization can reach those people with content that matters to them — where, when and how they want it — those individuals won’t give their time and attention to engage with the content that is critical to the organization’s success.

    “To accomplish this, content strategists must have a far deeper understanding about their audiences — what they care about and are willing to pay attention to. They must use that knowledge to create engaging, credible, trustworthy and transparent content that enhances their target audiences’ ability to make important decisions in their work and personal lives. When that happens, content advances the organization’s strategic goals.”

    It’s a tough concept to define in a small space, but I think that gets closer to the heard of it. Do others agree?

  • Wave

    Nice article but you guys should know better than to end a sentence with a preposition. I’m referring to the title of this article …. “at” is completely unnecessary here.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks…it was a play off of Blazing Saddles…see below