Skip to content

Why Content Marketing Fails Without Strategy

pnr 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 Omnicom/Publicis breakup. We also touch on how PR plays into Google’s Panda algorithm. In addition, we discuss the future of marketing apps, elaborate on why content marketing fails, and go in-depth on finding your Moneyball number for content marketing. This week’s #ThisOldMarketing example: Poetry Magazine.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on May 12, 2014; Length: 51:21)

Download this week’s PNR This Old Marketing podcast.

If you enjoy our PNR podcasts, we would love if you would rate it, or post a review, on iTunes

Show overview

1. Content Marketing in the News

  • Omnicom and Publicis Stop Merger (2:44): More than nine months after announcing a plan to team up in a $35 billion merger, ad agency giants Publicis Groupe and Omnicom Group have called off the deal, according to this article in AdWeek. Robert shares what he believes Publicis’ next move will be. I question the wisdom of focusing on size in a time where agility and innovation matter more.
  • Google Validates That PR Is SEO (5:43): In a recent patent application, Google shared some of the “secret sauce” that goes into its Panda algorithm for ranking websites, reports Christopher Penn on the Shift Communications blog. In this patent filing, the search engine giant says it not only measures the quality of actual links to your website, but also “implied links,” which are mentions of your products, services and brands in online media that don’t contain links. Robert believes brands need to be cautious about reading too much into it. I believe marketers should continue to focus on producing and optimizing excellent content.
  • Scott Brinker Is Betting His Whole Company on Marketing Apps (13:54): Scott Brinker, co-founder and CTO at Ion Interactive, recently announced in a manifesto on his ChiefMarTec Blog that his agency will pivot to focus exclusively on developing apps to help marketers to break through the glut of online content and create meaningful experiences for customers. Robert and I applaud his gutsy move of focusing on this opportunity but believe he may be overstating the potential growth of marketing apps.
  • Why Content Marketing Fails (21:44): In this Forbes article, author Greg Satell says content marketers need to think more like publishers, and he makes some excellent points that Robert and I agree with. But we vehemently disagree with his claim that marketers need to stop focusing so much on strategy and devote more attention to producing quality content.
  • Applying Moneyball to Publishing (32:02): In this excellent article from the BookBusinessMag website, Joe Wikert encourages marketers to use “Moneyball” strategies to better understand their customers. This popular book and movie tells the story of a baseball team that used data in innovative ways to be more successful. Robert loves how Wikert challenges marketers to explore beyond the usual sources of data to uncover deeper customer insights, while I share  the Moneyball number that has had the greatest influence on the behavior and engagement of CMI readers.

2. Key Email Stats From Our Sponsor (36:33)

This Old Marketing has a new sponsor, Emma, which offers email marketing for the modern brand, featuring mobile-responsive templates, social integration tools, and concierge services. Emma is promoting a fascinating new infographic it has created entitled 18 Email Stats Every Marketer Needs to Know. You can check it out at

email stats-sponsor-emma

3. Rants and Raves (38:41)

  • Robert’s Rave: This article from FastCompany describes how Caterpillar has quickly and aggressively embraced content marketing. Recent videos that have generated buzz include Cat machines playing a giant game of Jenga and a 3-ton loader running over Cat’s hardened smartphones for the construction market. Robert says this goes to show that even a huge old-line company like Caterpillar can succeed at creating awesome content.
  • Robert’s Rant: Search Engine Journal recently featured an interview with an SEO expert who is teaching content marketing at the university level. He shares tips for successful content marketing. The problem is that his advice is so far off-base that it’s ridiculous. A case in point: “If you hit the publish button often enough, it will work.” This bugs Robert — a lot. It’s a sign that much more evangelization needs to be done about the right way to do content marketing.
  • Joe’s Rant: At a speech in Boston last week, I asked the audience to tell me, by a show of hands, how many of them had defined an editorial mission statement for their content marketing initiative. Not a single hand was raised. It’s not surprising that many content marketers are struggling with their programs. If you don’t have one, get one!

4. This Old Marketing Example of the Week (46:45)

  • Poetry Magazine: The Poetry Foundation has published Poetry Magazine since 1912, making it one of the oldest publications in the U.S. Its mission is to gather and share the best poetry in the world in one place. The About Poetry web page outlines the magazine’s rich history, and highlights many of the famous poets who have been published there. It’s still doing a great job at meeting the needs of its target audience, as shown by its amazing traffic statistics: 3.5 million to 4 million unique visits per month. Poetry Magazine is a great example of consistency over more than a century of content publishing.

poetry website example

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

How do I subscribe?

itunes logo

rss feed logo

stitcher logo