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This Week in Content Marketing: How to Pen a ‘Content Marketing Is Dead’ Article


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

In this week’s episode of This Old Marketing, Robert and I explore the wisdom behind Contently’s recent acquisition of Docalytics, and we discuss the pros and cons of Facebook’s decision to open up Instant Articles to everyone. Is it the salvation of mobile users as Facebook claims or yet another step toward world content domination? Next, we think it’s brilliant that the BBC will reorganize itself from focusing on channels and platforms to audiences and content. Finally, we ponder what’s behind Google’s decision to drop right-side ads on desktop search results. Rants and raves include a resurgence of popularity for e-newsletters and Robert’s tutorial on how to write a “Content Marketing Is Dead” article. This week’s This Old Marketing example: Altair Engineering’s Concept to Reality magazine.

This week’s show

(Recorded live February 22, 2016; Length: 53:14)

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1. Content marketing in the news

  • Contently acquires Docalytics (4:49): Contently has purchased Docalytics for an undisclosed sum to ramp up its data offerings for publishing-minded, business-to-business clients. Through heat-mapping technology and other systems, users can learn things like how long readers spent on certain pages, how many pages they read, and what graphics they engaged with. Robert and I agree this is a great move for Contently, which has been more focused on journalists than marketers until now.
  • Facebook says anyone can use Instant Articles now (7:47): Facebook has announced that it will open up the Instant Articles program to all publishers – of any size, anywhere in the world – on April 12 at its F8 conference. Robert and I predicted this months ago when Facebook started testing this service with several hundred publishers. We think it’s amusing that Facebook claims the main reason it expanded this publishing platform was to give mobile users faster access to news articles. Actually, the longer you can keep readers on your platform, the more ads you can display to them.
  • BBC is dropping television and radio divisions (15:53): London-based broadcasting giant BBC is planning to drop its channel-based television and radio divisions to help reshape the company’s future for “content- and audience-led divisions.” Robert calls it a gutsy move that shows a lot of foresight. The broadcaster is reorganizing itself from focusing on channels and platforms to audiences and content. Marketers have a similar challenge, because they tend to have digital teams organized around digital platforms. It’s time to think about following the BBC’s example if you want to scale your content initiatives.
  • Google removes sidebar ads (25:24): Google is starting to phase out its right-hand gutter (sidebar) ads, according to Search Engine Journal. Instead, Google will only show one to four ads above the fold and force the rest to the bottom of the results page. Robert and I agree that this move makes sense from a mobile standpoint. It should also be more profitable for Google, because less advertising real estate should result in higher ad rates.

2. Sponsor (31:56)

  • AdStation: AdStation specializes in monetizing efforts for content marketers – in other words, making money from your loyal subscribers without driving them away. This week, it’s offering a free content monetization checklist and worksheet. This valuable tool walks you through a checklist of all the things you need to do in order to safely and effectively monetize your content. AdStation arms you with the information you need to effectively earn money from your website – the right way, the safe way. Use this checklist to inventory your entire monetization strategy and start monetizing your content today. You can download it at



 3. Rants and raves (33:30)

  • Joe’s rave: I really love this article from MediaShift about the renaissance of email newsletters. It contains several fascinating case histories that show how email is enjoying newfound popularity with younger audiences, including college students. My other rave is an observation. I’ve been watching how my two sons engage with longer-form content; surprisingly, they prefer printed content to digital. The lesson for marketers: If you’re targeting a younger audience, don’t overlook print.
  • Robert’s rant: Robert is unhappy with an article from a German website,, which claims that content marketing is a lie. The author says it rarely ever works and that its potential has been exaggerated. It’s a tired story we’ve heard over and over. So rather than respond to the author’s claims point by point, Robert explains how to write a “Content Marketing Is Dead” article, using this all-too-common formula.

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (45:13)

  • Altair Engineering’s Concept to Reality magazine: Altair Engineering produces simulation software used by mechanical engineers in manufacturing settings. It is used to virtually “test” the design of a part before it goes into production. While the company’s simulation software was popular with engineers, its salespeople had problems getting appointments with engineering decision-makers. To solve this problem the company launched Concept to Reality (C2R) magazine 10 years ago. According to the magazine’s web page, it “focuses on cutting-edge design development, innovative product strategy, and global process automation issues. Experts in road industry classes share technology insights, industry trends, opinions, case studies, global perspectives, and material relevant to product development technology solutions and processes.” These topics are aimed precisely at the needs of executive and engineering management. C2R has been a very effective tool to open doors for Altair salespeople, and has been an excellent competitive differentiator for the company. Today, Altair also operates multiple blogs that target the needs of engineers. Altair’s C2R is an awesome example of #ThisOldMarketing.


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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