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This Week in Content Marketing: Facebook Moves for Total Internet Domination


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 the movement by major publishers to create content “inside” Facebook’s walls. Does this mean that the future of the web could be dominated by Facebook?  In addition, we debate whether content blindness is actually a growing problem as Ad Age claims, review a research study that says digital natives actually prefer print, and ponder if Airbnb could become the next powerhouse of local travel information. Rants and raves include a TechCrunch article about a start-up that claims to be the salvation of content marketing, and the bad habit of executives using me-centered pronouns. We wrap up the show with a #ThisOldMarketing example from Pepsodent and Bob Hope.

This week’s show

(Recorded live March 30, 2015; Length: 57:26)

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1. Content marketing in the news

  • Media giants ready to publish inside Facebook’s walls – will they ever get out? (2:50): Three big media companies have announced they will begin posting their content natively on Facebook. Initial partners will be The New York Times, National Geographic, and BuzzFeed, according to this article from the Contently blog. A companion article from PR Week questions if this move is a lifeline for an ailing publishing industry or a deal publishers may regret making. Robert and I talk about what publishers and brands stand to lose if they begin running native content on Facebook, and what’s likely to happen to brands that don’t “pay to play.”
  • You’ve heard of banner blindness – get ready for content blindness (13:50): Panelists at the recent 4A’s Transformation conference in Austin, Texas, warn that marketers rushing to create more native content could contribute to content blindness, – a critical mass of readers rejecting articles that look like ads – Ad Age reports. Robert and I agree that this panel may have been conducted within the context of programmatic ad buying, which can easily lead to content blindness. We discuss what does work, regardless of the platform: compelling stories and messages that are of interest to a well-defined audience.
  • Digital natives prefer print (21:15): Several studies of college student reading and study habits show that they overwhelmingly prefer printed books to their online versions, according to The Washington Post. A University of Washington pilot study of digital textbooks found that a quarter of students still bought print versions of e-textbooks that they were given for free. Students report being more engaged and focused when reading paper books. Robert and I concur that people, regardless of age, still enjoy reading in print. It offers huge opportunities for marketers to influence their audiences.
  • Beware of Airbnb entering the hyperlocal travel guide business (29:28): Airbnb could become a formidable player in the travel information business, predicts Monday Note. All it would take is connecting the host’s preferred neighborhood spots with business hours and information, Google Maps, travel services like Uber, restaurant reservations, and more. This combination of services could easily threaten travel information sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp. Robert and I speculate on how Airbnb is likely to build its platform, as well as what competitors ought to do now to blunt its momentum.

2. Sponsor (37:03)

  • This Old Marketing is sponsored by DigitalRelevance, which increases search visibility, web traffic, and conversions by executing research-driven content marketing, digital PR, and SEO strategies. DigitalRelevance is offering The Media Buyer’s Guide to Sponsored Editorial Content. It includes everything you need to know about sponsored content, from evolution, controversy, and regulation, to execution tools and a proven buying strategy. It also includes the world’s first research study and statistical analysis to determine fair market value prices for sponsored content. Learn more at


3. Rants and raves (39:04)

  • Robert’s rant: Keywee, a content marketing start-up founded in Israel and operating in New York City that uses natural language processing, machine learning, and social graphs to match stories with users, has received $9.1 million in venture funding. Robert takes issue with the way in which Keywee describes its solution, which implies that content marketing is broken. The company also claims its technology will help content marketers solve their measurement challenges – which is unlikely, in his opinion.
  • Joe’s rant/rave: My rant is about a speech I witnessed in which a senior-level corporate executive incessantly used the pronouns I, me, and my. He made it seem as if he was solely responsible for the company’s success, while ignoring the significant contributions of his team. Our communications ought to be focused on the people we serve, not our own egos. My rave is directed at Robert Rose. We traveled together during the last two weeks to Content Marketing World events in Sydney and Singapore, followed by the Intelligent Content Conference and Executive Forum in San Francisco. Robert got top marks for all of his keynote presentations and workshops, and the Executive Forum was a big success.

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (50:12)

  • Pepsodent and Bob Hope: In 1920, sales of Pepsodent toothpaste were so bad, it was almost pulled off the market. As part of a last-ditch attempt to revive sales, Pepsodent decided to sponsor a new radio show called Amos & Andy. Emboldened by the show’s success, in 1938 the toothpaste maker sponsored an up-and-coming radio star named Bob Hope, who was launching a new variety show; it became known as The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope. In 1941, Hope approached Pepsodent with the idea of writing a funny fictional memoir. This 96-page book called, They Got Me Covered, was published and distributed by Pepsodent, which used it as a giveaway for tapings of Hope’s radio show and the debut of My Favorite Blonde, a new film starring him and Madeleine Carroll. The books contained a product boxtop as a bookmark, a very clever product placement. This is an excellent example of a creative partnership that benefited both Pepsodent and Bob Hope.

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

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