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This Week in Content Marketing: Consistent Content Is Key (And Most Brands Can’t Do It)


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

In this week’s episode of #ThisOldMarketing, Robert and I discuss several new podcasting developments – Google Play has added podcast distribution and Pandora is the exclusive streaming provider for the popular Serial podcast – and how this form of audio content is likely to evolve. Next, we question whether Google launched its YouTube Red subscription service primarily because of ad blockers – which is what YouTube superstar PewDiePie claims – or because of other factors. We also take issue with Mark Zuckerberg’s assertion that Facebook ads will soon become a welcomed part of the giant social channel’s user experience. Rants and raves include why Nike should have bought Grantland and IBM’s decision to buy the digital assets of The Weather Company. This week’s #ThisOldMarketing example of the week: Pro Football Talk.

This week’s show

(Recorded live November 2, 2015; Length: 1:02:15)

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1. Content marketing in the news

  • Google gets back into podcast distribution (7:08): Remember Google Listen? The Google-made podcast app took your audio RSS feeds from Google Reader and played them on an Android phone, but the service was killed in August 2012. Today, Google is finally jumping back into the podcast game with Google Play Music Podcasts. I’m not surprised by this move, considering the exceptional demographics of podcast listeners. This article is paired with the next one.
  • Pandora is the exclusive streaming partner for Serial (9:00): Pandora, the world’s largest music discovery platform, is the exclusive streaming partner for the popular Serial podcast. This partnership offers new and exciting content for Pandora’s highly engaged audience of more than 78 million monthly listeners. Robert and I agree that this represents a pivot for Pandora, which until now has been focused on streaming music that is similar to its users’ tastes. We predict how podcasts may evolve during the next several years.
  • PewDiePie says ad blockers lead to YouTube Red (15:07): PewDiePie, a Swedish YouTube star who has racked up more than 40 million subscribers for his gaming videos, believes that Google launched its new YouTube Red subscription service as a way to bolster a revenue stream that is otherwise getting chopped by the growing popularity of ad blockers. PewDiePie estimates that 40% of his viewers use software that blocks ads, up from 15% to 20% five years ago. Robert believes this is one factor in Google’s decision, but probably not the primary one. We speculate on what really drove it to adopt this business model.
  • Zuckerberg talks about the crowding of ads vs. content (21:54): At a recent Vanity Fair event, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked whether he’s concerned about advertising crowding out content. He confidently responded that Facebook’s algorithm rewards higher-quality ads with more views; he believes the quality of ads will soon converge with that of its organic content, and will become a meaningful part of the user experience. Robert and I strongly disagree.

  • Brands: It’s you, not consumers (30:52): People aren’t as interested in participating with brands as the brands are in participating with them, according to new research from J. Walter Thompson. Some 58% of respondents said they were more likely to engage with brands online only if “it’s really easy and asks nothing of me.” Robert points out that we want content that will entertain and inform us, but we aren’t usually willing to do anything to get it. I reveal the missing piece that most brands aren’t good at, which prevents them from having stronger relationships with consumers.

2. Sponsor (37:45)

  • The power of A/B testing: It’s impossible to know which of your campaigns are the most effective if you don’t know which elements of your campaigns are contributing to these efforts and which are working against them. Don’t waste another second assuming what works and what doesn’t work. Download this e-book now from Marketo:


3. Rants and raves (40:00)

  • Joe’s rant: Last week, ESPN announced it was shutting down popular sports journalism website Grantland. In response, I wrote a LinkedIn column that explains how Nike, Under Armour, and other sports brands are missing a huge opportunity by not purchasing it. Grantland was getting five million visitors per month and had an incredibly loyal audience at the time of its demise. What upsets me most is that so few brands are thinking of the opportunities such an acquisition could provide.
  • Robert’s rave: IBM is a company that understands the strategic value of content. That’s why Robert is excited to learn that Big Blue is in final negotiations to purchase the digital assets of The Weather Company. The deal, worth over $2 billion, does not include The Weather Channel television property, but only its digital properties like the website, app, web infrastructure, and data. He explains that this deal is totally about data, but with an interesting twist from a content experience perspective.

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (53:39)

  • Pro Football Talk: Mike Florio launched the Pro Football Talk website on November 1, 2001, covering NFL news and rumors. It grew slowly but steadily, as Florio worked full time as an attorney and posted stories to PFT intermittently, as time permitted. In 2004, he made a New Year’s resolution to publish at least one story per day to PFT. Soon after, Sprint became its first sponsor, followed by NBC, which made a huge commitment to helping it grow. Today, PFT is completely integrated into the NBC Sports website, and its content is incorporated into NBC’s Football Night in America, Pro Football Talk on NBCSN, and PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. PFT turned 14 years old on November 1, 2015. The key to its success was Florio’s decision to commit to a consistent publishing schedule. As Robert loves to say, excellent content, combined with a consistent publishing schedule, creates “anticipatory delight” in your audience. Pro Football Talk is an excellent Content Inc. and #ThisOldMarketing example.


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

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