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This Week in Content Marketing: 2017 Is the Year Brands Buy Media Companies


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

In this episode, Robert and I talk about Whirlpool’s purchase of recipe media site Yummly and what lessons it holds for brands, large and small. In other news, Google and Facebook need to take more responsibility for their content as true media companies, and Forrester proclaims that the end of advertising is near. Rants and raves include John Green and Airbnb; then we close the show with an example of the week from UnitedHealthcare.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on May 7, 2017; Length: 57:50)

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1.   Notable news and upcoming trends:

  • Whirlpool acquires recipe search engine Yummly (08:50): TechCrunch reports on the new deal between the home appliance maker and the visual and semantic recipe search engine, most recently valued at $100 million. While there’s a short-term content marketing play here, once the capabilities to integrate this kind of content into Whirlpool’s appliances have matured, the acquisition will likely become a very powerful data play – and a revenue generator, as well.
  • It’s time Facebook and Google realize that publishing power comes with great responsibilities (18:31): A commentary piece on MediaPost opines that social media giants should be held accountable for extremist and hate-filled content posted on their sites through a combination of government fines and boycotts, citing a Zenith Media study finding that the two companies earn one of every five ad dollars in the U.K. While getting a “tech company” to assume the full responsibilities of a publisher would be an uphill battle, it’s an important conversation that everyone in our industry should be staying on top of.
  • Forrester sees advertiser revolt as the beginning of the end (28:17): According to AdAge, new research from Forrester is interpreting recent moves by big advertisers to pause spending on Google and audit media buying practices as the end of days for display advertising, citing additional signs like poor-quality placements, barely existent click-through rates, and the rise of ad blocking. I totally disagree with Forrester’s conclusions; but even if they were accurate, I would attribute it more to basic diversification than to the impending demise of the ad industry.

 2.   Our sponsor (38:21):

  • Brightcove – The Science of Social Video: With eight in 10 consumers engaging with brands on social media, and three in four consumers linking social video viewing to purchasing decisions, we examine how brands can make the most of this opportunity. Download your copy of The Science of Social Video to learn how to turn social video views into value.



3.   Rants and raves (40:28)

  • Robert’s rave No. 1: As reported in a breaking news story from CNBC, Facebook plans to launch its own original TV shows in June, fulfilling a prophecy we’ve been predicting for some time now.
  • Robert’s rave No. 2: The Wall Street Journal reports that Airbnb is teaming up with Hearst on a magazine guided by the travel site’s data. While Robert offers kudos to both companies for taking the content marketing plunge, he does point out a little discrepancy in their expectations of revenue.
  • Robert’s rave No. 3: The Wall Street Journal also talks about the success of Goodful – a Facebook-centric brand primarily focused on quick, healthy food videos. Originally launched as a joint effort between BuzzFeed and Mondelez to reach consumers who are increasingly avoiding ads, the food powerhouse is now relinquishing control to BuzzFeed, but will remain involved as the exclusive sponsor. While he doesn’t have all the answers as to why Mondelez would step away from leading such a successful venture, it’s a move Robert promises to keep an eye on.   
  • Joe’s rave: Author John Green and his brother started the Vlogbrothers YouTube channel in 2007 as a personal branding platform; but it’s grown to become much more, amassing an audience of 3 million subscribers. In one recent video, a fan who is an aspiring writer asked John, “When will I know when my work is good enough to be published?” John’s answer? “You won’t.” He then went on to explain that, as a writer, your goal should be to try, then learn and improve, rather than waiting for perfection which may never come. It’s a great lesson for content marketers: Do the best you can, and keep moving forward.
Lesson for content marketers: Do the best you can, and keep moving forward. @joepulizzi Click To Tweet

4.    This Old Marketing example of the week (49:11):

  • Last week, Robert attended The Learning Economy Summit, hosted by The Big Know and focused on brands that are creating educational platforms as a means of delivering value. There, he met up with the CMO of UnitedHealthcare (No. 6 on Fortune’s list of largest companies in the world), who shared the story of how his company has gone all-in on educational content as a way to increase brand relatability among its target audience. As an example, two years ago, UnitedHealthcare launched the Becoming Dr. You course, in which physician Dr. Reed Tuckson encourages participants to recognize that much of wellness is within their own control. The four-week course was delivered as a series of educational videos that provided information, ideas, and resources designed to help older adults age with vitality, and consisted of lessons focused on making healthier lifestyle choices and home and family decisions, as well as how to take charge of their personal medical needs. Since the program’s inception, the program has grown to 25k subscribers, and data UnitedHealthcare has gathered on participants shows a 97% satisfaction rate and an average engagement rate of more than 71 minutes. It’s a remarkable This Old Marketing example of how an enterprise business can create content that provides a tremendous value to its audience.


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

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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