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This Week in Content Marketing: Facebook Slowly Eats Media Companies for Lunch


PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

In this week’s episode, Joe and Robert discuss how Facebook has cleverly tweaked native advertising to benefit its users and give brands greater insights into ad performance, but it may represent a death blow to some publishers. Facebook is also paying media companies and influencers to create content for its streaming video service; in the short term, this appears to benefit brands. In other news, native advertising is booming, but brands and publishers still aren’t very strategic in their use of it. Finally, Tronc (the former Tribune publishing company) ties its fate to video embedded in its news stories, but lacks a bigger vision for its future. Rants and raves include a farewell to Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion radio show and the pervasive power of print. This week’s This Old Marketing example: Steelcase.

This week’s show

(Recorded live June 27, 2016; Length: 1:01:01)

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  • Today’s episode sponsor:

Ahrefs: Ahrefs is offering a free 14-day free trial plus a special 30% discount of their marketing toolset for PNR podcast listeners only. The discount will only be active until September 1, 2016. Go here for more:


1. Content marketing in the news

  • Did Facebook just deliver a crushing blow to native advertising? (10:03): For the increasing number of publishers that rely on native advertising to make ends meet, Facebook may have delivered a brutal blow. According to FastCompany, Facebook now requires that publishers sharing native ads must tag the brand in the post. This makes native ads more transparent to users, but makes it possible for brands to see just how much publishers are marking up their ads. Robert and I agree this will drive margins way down, and may result in brands cutting out the middle man to boost posts themselves. This article is paired with the next one.
  • Facebook makes a deal to pay for media companies, celebrities for Facebook Live (15:34): Facebook Inc. has inked contracts with nearly 140 media companies and celebrities to create videos for its nascent live-streaming service. The arrangements are a way to encourage publishers to produce a steady stream of high-quality videos until Facebook figures out a more concrete plan to compensate creators. Robert and I believe this is a clever way to get publishers addicted to live video. We discuss a scenario on how this new arrangement will play out during the next year or two. For brands, it appears to be a buyer’s market. Take advantage of it while you can.
4 Secrets to Building Social Momentum
  • Tronc threatens a nightmare hellscape of video content in new warning to employees (32:50): It has been less than three weeks since Tribune, the publisher of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, rebranded itself as Tronc. Now the company has revealed to its employees that it will monetize its operations by embedding videos into a greater percentage of articles on its websites. I’m concerned that Tronc’s focus is very tactical. What’s the broader vision for the company? Robert points out that customers seem to be absent from Tronc’s plans.

2. Sponsor (39:40)

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3. Rants and raves (41:55)

  • Robert’s rave: Garrison Keillor, host of the popular radio program A Prairie Home Companion for the last 42 years, recently announced his retirement. This show, which airs on National Public Radio (NPR) in the U.S., is one of the last of its kind. It features comedy sketches, music, and Keillor’s inimitable style of storytelling about the residents of the fictitious town of Lake Wobegon. His unique style of heartfelt storytelling will be missed!
  • Joe’s rant: During the last week, I had four experiences that emphasized the staying power of print: During a family trip to London, I saw the very first edition of The London Gazette, which dates from 1673. I picked up the London Evening Standard as a keepsake of England’s historic vote to leave the European Union. I returned home to find family and friends gave me over 20 newspapers and commemorative magazine issues celebrating the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA championship. And a new issue of Contently’s excellent content marketing magazine arrived in the mail. These experiences make me more convinced than ever that the majority of brands are missing out on opportunities to deliver valuable, consistent experiences in print.

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (53:01)

  • Steelcase: This office furniture manufacturer was founded in 1912. Throughout its history, it has been one of the most innovative companies in its field. In recent years, the company has reimagined itself, transforming from a traditional office furniture company into an innovation and design center. It publishes a beautiful print magazine called Steelcase 360, which is focused on design and designing workplaces. It also publishes the 360 Blog and a 360 Real Time podcast, in which it conducts interviews with designers. This comprehensive, well-integrated approach is an excellent example of This Old Marketing.


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

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