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This Week in Content Marketing: Who Didn’t Launch a Content Marketing Agency This Week?


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

In this week’s episode, Robert and I marvel at the flurry of new content-based agencies announced this week at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. We talk about their business models and ponder the challenges they are likely to face. We admire commercial real estate giant CBRE’s new print magazine, which has some solid strategy behind it. We close with a discussion of television, which seems to be enjoying a renaissance of late, despite many predictions of its demise. Rants and raves include the messy and confusing Cannes awards program and what content marketers can learn from a millionaire’s advice (no, really!). We wrap up the show with a #ThisOldMarketing example from Tablespoon by General Mills.

This week’s show

(Recorded live June 29, 2015; Length: 1:02:02)

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1. Content marketing in the news

  • Daily Mail, WPP, and Snapchat to launch native advertising agency: (4:50): The Daily Mail, ad agency giant WPP, and Snapchat plan to launch an agency to cash in on the rise of native advertising, according to The Guardian. It will not be tied to working with WPP’s advertising clients or with the Daily Mail as the sole media partner. Instead, it will be free to pursue its own clients across the media and ad industries. The new agency will be called Truffle Pig, a very odd moniker that doesn’t speak to what its strategic focus will be. Robert and I have our doubts about this new venture, which combines three very diverse partners with radically different cultures. This announcement is paired with the next two articles.
  • The Washington Post launches its own freelance talent service (6:51): The Washington Post has unveiled a new way for it to find freelancers: It has established its own data online job board where freelancers apply to be included. Called The Washington Post Talent Network, it enables freelancers to identify their area of expertise – breaking news, enterprise, or multimedia – and then apply to the Post.
  • BBC Worldwide launches StoryWorks in-house creative agency (11:12): BBC Worldwide has overhauled its advertising offering to create an overarching division dedicated to content marketing partnerships for brands. The new arm, called StoryWorks, will be structured to function like an in-house creative agency, pulling in resources from existing areas of the media company as well as recruiting externally for roles such as account and project management. Robert hopes StoryWorks won’t fall into the trap that has challenged other internal media company/agency ventures: Treating content only as an extension of their existing advertising strategies.
  • CBRE extends content marketing program to online magazine (20:10): CBRE Group, a $9 billion commercial real estate company, is extending its content marketing program with the launch of Blueprint, an online magazine that covers trends and issues affecting commercial real estate and the overall business climate. Robert loves CBRE’s focus on building brand equity and growing relationships; it’s not trying to solve every problem with content marketing. I’m a fan of CBRE’s commitment to using its employees in its 370 worldwide offices to help spread the word about Blueprint. This is an area that many brands forget to leverage.
  • How television won the Internet (27:41): Television is enjoying one of its biggest growth periods in history, according to this op-ed article in The New York Times. How did this old technology accomplish such a remarkable feat? By producing outstanding content, adopting paid business models, and providing flexible access to its programming. Robert suggests that the concept of “television” is increasingly irrelevant in this age when we consume programming on multiple platforms. Successful content marketing strategies need to focus on content, audiences, and distribution, not devices, he recommends.

2. Sponsor (37:50)

  • This Old Marketing is sponsored by Acrolinx, a platform that helps the world’s most recognized brands create more engaging, more readable, and more enjoyable content. It’s offering a new report called The Global Content Impact Index, which shares the results of its detailed analysis of the world’s content. Using a proprietary linguistic analytics engine, its software reviewed 150,000 individual, public-facing web pages from 340 companies around the world. That represents 20 million sentences and over 160 million words. The results were surprising. Learn more at


3. Rants and raves (40:51)

  • Robert’s rant: For the second year, judges at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity didn’t award a grand prize, citing a lack of standout content and problems with accurately categorizing entries. Robert reviewed the judging criteria for branded content, as well as the three entries that were awarded Gold or Silver Lions. None of them are focused on content. Two were ad campaigns, and the third was a grassroots effort (the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge). It’s a mess. Robert also gives a shout-out to the funny, snarky Cannes You Please Shut Up Tumblr page, which pokes fun at agencies’ self-important tweets from the festival.
  • Joe’s rave: I like this top 10 list from Business Insider, in which a millionaire gives advice on money and success, because two of his tips tie in with success in content marketing. First, “the fastest way to make money is to solve a problem.” To succeed in content marketing, you need to focus on a niche audience and solve a big problem it faces. The other tip I liked is “expect to make more money.” As with any growing business, you must have a content marketing mission. What can you create that’s truly unique, and that differentiates you as the leading informational expert in your niche? This article contains some great food for thought!

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (53:51)

  • Tablespoon: Tablespoon is an online recipe database with a difference. Launched in 2009 by General Mills, its mission is to provide the perfect answer to the question, “What should I make?” It contains thousands of creative recipes that incorporate its food products, plus thousands of recipes contributed by everyday cooks. One feature that differentiates Tablespoon is how it enables you to search for recipes using unique but practical criteria – such as “I don’t like cilantro,” “I love chocolate,” or “I’m pressed for time.” It also provides tools for sharing recipes with others, adding them to a list of favorites, customizing them with your own ingredients, and much more. This article from Forbes provides an insider’s perspective on what has made this website successful, even though it has many competitors. Its primary measures of success are reach and engagement; General Mills is also using it as a platform to test and gather feedback on new ideas. Tablespoon is an excellent example of #ThisOldMarketing.


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

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