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This Week in Content Marketing: Facebook Continues To Mess with Your Content

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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 discuss Facebook’s latest changes to its feed algorithm and give kudos to a thoughtfully written article that debunks four myths about digital media. We praise Sparksheet’s interview with Marriott’s David Beebe, which gives an inside look at the company’s ingenious approach to content marketing. We also share our opinions on articles that predict a big increase in native advertising and the future of content marketing. Rants and raves include Airbnb’s new print magazine and an evocative Christmas ad from Sainsbury’s. We wrap up the show with a #This Old Marketing example from TD Ameritrade.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on November 17, 2014; Length: 54:47)

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1. Content Marketing in the News

  • Facebook’s Changing Its News Feed Algorithm Again (4:32): Facebook has announced it will once again adjust its algorithm (on January 1, 2015) to show fewer posts from brand pages that appear to be “overly promotional.” According to this analysis from Ars Technica, Facebook made this decision after surveying users and learning that “hard sell” ads really aggravate them. Robert and I discuss what this latest move means to marketers, and who it’s likely to hurt the most.
  • Why Traditional Media Isn’t Dying and 4 Other Myths About the Digital Era (13:09): Tom Doctoroff, JWT Asia Pacific CEO and author of Twitter Is Not a Strategy, debunks four myths about traditional advertising and digital media in this thoughtful AdWeek column. Robert and I applaud his observation that media and digital need to be integrated for best results; Robert particularly likes Doctoroff’s take on ideas and technology.
  • When Content Checks In: Q&A with David Beebe of Marriott (19:39): Sparksheet recently interviewed David Beebe, Marriott International’s Vice President of Creative and Content Marketing, about the hotel chain’s new content studio and its ambitious goal to become the leading publisher in the travel media space. I highly recommend this article for Beebe’s description of how his content group is structured. Robert and I both love Marriott’s clever plan to monetize its content.
  • Study: Native Advertising Spending to Soar (26:05): This article from Business Insider predicts that native advertising revenues will increase from $4.7 billion in 2013 to $21 billion in 2018. Robert and I are not surprised by this high rate of growth because it’s an excellent way for brands to buy an audience. We talk about one way that brands can use it to “test the waters” before launching a content marketing program, but warn there’s also a potential downside to native advertising.
  • Real Marketers Shift from Social Media to Content Marketing (31:07): A pair of thought-provoking articles from ClickZ explore where content marketing is headed in 2015 and why brands need to think about content as the epicenter of their marketing efforts. I agree with the idea that the “buzz” around the term content marketing is over, but the practice of it is just getting started. Robert concurs and adds his take on what brands need to focus on in 2015.

2. Sponsor (39:45)

  • This Old Marketing is sponsored by Emma – email marketing for the modern brand, featuring mobile-responsive templates, social integration tools, and concierge services. Emma is promoting a new report entitled Automation Demystified: A Modern Marketer’s Guide to Email Automation. You’ll learn how to create undeniable value for subscribers, welcome new subscribers without creating new content, and boost conversions with timely sends based on life cycle milestones. You can register for it at

guide-to-automation-emma image

3. Rants and Raves (41:40)

  • Joe’s Rave: Airbnb has announced plans to test-market a glossy print magazine called Pineapple. It promises to take a “new and inspiring look at travel through the lens of the Airbnb community.” Airbnb decided to move in this direction after its marketing team realized that the majority of its customer experience takes place offline. Robert and I love Airbnb’s clearly defined editorial mission, its focus on customer stories, and its methodical approach to test market Pineapple.
  • Robert’s Rave: Every year, UK retailer Sainsbury’s produces a Christmas television ad. This year, the company has outdone itself with an evocative spot called “Christmas is for Sharing.” Set in the trenches of World War I, it tells the true story of the Christmas Truce of 1914, when German and British troops laid down their arms and met in no-man’s land to exchange gifts, take pictures and play football. Robert calls it an awesome example of storytelling.

4. This Old Marketing Example of the Week (49:35)

  • TD Ameritrade: Since 2007, this large investment firm has published the quarterly magazine, thinkMoney, in both print and digital formats. It provides fresh thinking, humor, and how-to’s for high-volume traders. As TD Ameritrade has collected data about its subscribers, it has learned that they trade five times more than non-subscribers. One side benefit of producing a print magazine: It has become an excellent marketing tool for the company. It now includes thinkMoney in new trader onboarding kits and distributes it at education events, at trade shows, and in TD Ameritrade branches. The company calls the magazine its best marketing investment.

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

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