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This Week in Content Marketing: Weird Al’s Diabolically Brilliant Strategy

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

In this episode, Robert and I discuss the important implications of LinkedIn’s acquisition of Bizo, congratulate blogger Scott Monty on his recent move from Ford to an agency role, and speculate on what will happen to Forbes now that it’s owned by foreign investors. We also ruminate on the continuing fall of newspaper ad revenue, puzzle over Time Inc.’s decision to form a new native advertising group, and rave about the marketing genius of Weird Al Yankovic before exploring this week’s TOM example:

This week’s show

(Recorded live on July 22, 2014; Length: 59:13)

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1. Content Marketing in the News

  • LinkedIn to Acquire Bizo (3:21): LinkedIn has announced it will acquire Bizo, a supplier of B2B marketing solutions. Bizo’s products will be integrated into LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions group and will help brands target customers beyond the LinkedIn website through retargeting, sponsored content, social advertising, and other services. Robert highlights the significance of this acquisition from a retargeting standpoint, and then we suggest a few other pieces LinkedIn ought to acquire for an even more powerful portfolio of marketing services.
  • Scott Monty Goes to the Dark Side (9:55): Blogger extraordinaire Scott Monty, who was the voice of social media and content marketing at Ford for seven years, has announced that he will join PR firm SHIFT Communications as its Executive Vice President. Monty was an early adopter of blogging, even before he joined Ford, and is an excellent speaker on many topics related to marketing communications. Robert and I discuss the “dream team” that SHIFT CEO Todd Defren is assembling, and wish Scott well in his new role.
  • Forbes Sold to an International Investor Group (13:37): Forbes announced this week it has sold a majority interest in the company to a group of international investors, reports The New York Times. This gives it the ability to expand the Forbes brand worldwide and to strengthen its focus on vertical topic areas within the world of finance. Robert and I talk about potential motivations behind this deal and the biggest challenges the company now faces.
  • Newspaper’s Crisis, by the Numbers (21:51): Alan D. Mutter, author of the Reflections of a Newsosaur blog, reports that newspaper ad revenue has been in free fall since hitting its high-water mark 10 years ago. During the last decade, Mutter reports the industry’s share of the digital advertising market has plunged by more than 50 percent. I explain what’s having the biggest impact on newspapers (hint: It’s not the rise of the internet), while Robert explores what this might mean to content marketers.
  • Time Creates Native Ad Group (35:02): Time Inc. has created an eight-person unit to focus on native advertising for the 25 products owned by this publishing company. I’m confused by this move, because Time already has an internal group called Content Solutions that has been providing custom content services to its advertisers for over 10 years. Robert and I feel that the move may be an attempt to create more of a “skunkworks” that has its own identity apart from Time Inc.

2. Sponsor (40:50)

  • This Old Marketing is, once again, sponsored by Emma — email marketing for the modern brand, featuring mobile-responsive templates, social integration tools and concierge services. Emma is promoting a new webinar entitled, The 8-Second Challenge: Email Marketing for the Shrinking Attention Span. You can download it at

example-8 second challenge

3. Rants and Raves (42:21)

  • Robert’s Rave: Song parody legend Weird Al Yankovic did something really impressive this week: To promote his latest album, he launched one new video a day for eight straight days — and did so by partnering with a different media company for each one, including Funny or Die, College Humor, Nerdist, and even the Wall Street Journal. Each company underwrote the production cost of one video, which was tailored to its audience, and in return got exclusive rights to air that video for a certain amount of time. The effort helped Weird Al achieve his first-ever No. 1 album on Billboard; but in his rave, Robert reveals an even bigger benefit the artist will gain from this brilliant native advertising strategy.

  • My Rave: Last week, my family and I visited the historic Gettysburg Civil War battlefield and toured the museum at the site in Pennsylvania. I considered it to be an outstanding example of content marketing because the curators figured out some creative ways to tell the same story in numerous formats, all of which were quite engaging. Brands could learn a lot from this well-planned approach.

4. This Old Marketing Example of the Week (52:06)

  • L’Oreal operates, a website that offers an impressive collection of how-tos and best practices for applying different types of makeup. started life in 2005 as an eCommerce website. L’Oreal purchased it in 2011 and relaunched it as a content platform, hiring experienced contributing writers from fashion magazines and professional editors to oversee content production. What’s unique is that the company didn’t create something from scratch but rather purchased an existing website with an established audience and transformed it into a powerful content platform. Robert and I agree that similar opportunities to buy instead of build still exist in many markets and industries.

blond girl-straw hat-how to

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

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