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How Facebook is Becoming a Pay-to-Play Platform

this old marketing-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 latest findings straight out of Facebook: Organic reach on the platform is now less than 2%. Facebook is becoming a pure pay-to-play platform in many cases. We also discuss how much data you actually need for your content marketing strategy. The final news article provides a cross section of a record month for magazine launches with a shuttering of a dozen tried-and-true niche magazines. This week’s #ThisOldMarketing example: The Fresh Fork Market Almanac.


This week’s show

(Recorded live on June 9, 2014; Length: 58:32)

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Show overview

1. Opening Comments

2. Content Marketing in the News

  • Facebook Sets The Record Straight On Organic Reach … And Basically Proves Our Point (3:15): Facebook finally explains the thinking behind the recent changes to its News Feed, which saw the organic reach of brands’ page post decline to 2% or less, reports an article on Robert and I agree that Facebook’s heavy PR spin does nothing to change what this move is all about, and we lament the types of businesses that are suffering the most from it.
  • How Much Data Do You Really Need for Content Marketing (10:30): In this article from, John Miller talks about the tendency for many businesses to get so stuck gathering data and creating detailed buyer personas that they never launch their content marketing programs. Sometimes you just need to trust your gut instinct, he advises. Robert and I talk about a practical strategy any business can employ to maintain a bias for action, even if there isn’t “enough” data.
  • Content Marketing – A Good Strategy? (15:01): This article from the Search Engine Journal website declares that content marketing isn’t a sustainable strategy. Robert and I are concerned that the author’s evidence for its lack of effectiveness is only focused on one element of content marketing.
  • Content Marketing: The Copernican Revolution (25:03): J.P. De Clerck masterfully uses Copernicus’ discovery that the Earth revolves around the sun to explain why content marketing needs to be more customer-centric, focused on creating real value and useful interactions for the people we serve. Robert loves the way the author’s viewpoint aligns with his ideas on delighting customers through memorable experiences. I like that DeClerk touches on a challenge that we see many content marketing programs facing today.
  • Squaring This … A Record Breaking Month In New Magazine Launches (31:58): According to the Mr. Magazine blog, May was a record month for niche consumer magazine launches, when 96 new titles debuted.
  • With This … Source Interlinks Loses 12 Titles: The Media Shepherd blog reports that Source Interlink Media has announced it is “absorbing” 12 super-niche titles into other parent magazines (e.g., Custom Classic Trucks being absorbed by Classic Trucks). I believe this means that smart publishers are figuring out better business models that are not focused on selling advertising. I explain how the publishers of these new titles will probably monetize them. Robert demonstrates how the same tectonic forces that are disrupting brands’ go-to-market strategies are affecting publishers and associations, too.
  • Content Marketing Growing – But Not A High Priority (39:17): A survey conducted by Folio: and min, which runs the Content Marketing & Innovation Summit, shows that content marketing is growing but only 17% of publishers indicated it was a top priority. I’m not surprised because traditional publishers tend to undervalue custom publishing, native advertising and other content-focused operations. Robert asks how potential investors can measure the value of content and audiences. I explain one approach that makes sense.

3. Sponsor (46:30)

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 an informative infographic it has created entitled 18 Email Stats Every Marketer Needs to Know. You can check it out at

email stats-sponsor-emma

4. Rants and Raves (47:46)

  • Joe’s Rant: A column on ZDnet entitled Thanks for Nothing, Jerkface takes Google to task for ruining its promising Google+ social media channel. The search engine giant, whose motto is “don’t be evil,” now requires people to use a Google+ identity to sign into all of its services, including YouTube, and even automatically creates them for you without your knowledge. Its most egregious move has been to consolidate identities that belong to the same people, in some cases revealing private information. Robert and I agree: It’s time to say goodbye to Google+.
  • Robert’s Rave: Robert lives in Los Angeles, where it’s common for someone to stick a note under your car’s windshield wiper, telling you what a jerk you were for parking where you did. Mini USA, the U.S. arm of the British carmaker of the Mini Cooper, has debuted a set of 12 “Car Compliment Cards” on its Facebook page that you can print and use to “spread the love to our automotive brethren who make the world a better place.” One says, “I parked next to you because awesome cars should stick together.” Robert thinks they’re wonderfully inventive and points out that they’re simple to produce.


5. This Old Marketing Example of the Week (52:41)

  • Fresh Fork Market: Last weekend, I invited family and friends to my house to enjoy a pig roast from Fresh Fork Market, a local Cleveland business. When I asked the owners if they had any marketing materials so I could help spread the word about this wonderful farm-to-table business, they gave me copies of their print magazine, the Fresh Fork Market Almanac. It contains articles about the farmers who grow the food it uses to make its meals, recipes, beautiful photography and much more. All of it is focused on the cause of fresh, homegrown and local. Kudos to a small business for creating a printed piece that’s so good people don’t realize it’s marketing. 


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

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