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This Week in Content Marketing: Instagram Launches Snapchat for Older People 


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 implications of two new social media platform launches — Instagram Stories and LinkedIn’s Influencer Videos. We also re-enlist in the battle that’s still being waged between content strategy and content marketing, and explore whether the “highs” experienced by social distribution-dependent publishers will eventually require an intervention. Our rants and raves cover the perils of the 130-hour work week and the future implications of relying on sponsored content. We wrap up with a This Old Marketing example of Olympic proportions.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on August 7, 2016; Length: 01:06:25)

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1. Content marketing in the news

  • Instagram takes a page (literally) from Snapchat (8:50): “If you can’t beat ’em, clone ’em” might be the best way to describe Instagram Stories — the Facebook-owned company’s virtual carbon copy of the sequenced photo- and video-storytelling feature created by rival Snapchat. As described in The New York Times, the launch could ignite a head-to-head battle between Instagram and Snapchat, which have long lurked in each other’s shadows but have not faced off directly. While I feel this was a long time coming, given how many times Facebook failed in its attempts to purchase Snapchat, Robert views it as a move that both validates Snapchat and positions Instagram as Facebook’s video screen to the world.
  • Influencers are injecting some new life into the LinkedIn news feed (15:15): Another video-centric story comes from the LinkedIn blog, which has invited more than 500 of its LinkedIn Influencers to create original, 30-second videos, in which they can share their thoughts and insights on select trending topics and news. While Robert points out that 30 seconds is not nearly enough time to have a meaningful conversation about anything, we both share a larger concern: that Influencers are being asked to weigh in on topics chosen by LinkedIn, rather than being encouraged to use their distinctive voices to talk about subjects they are personally passionate about.
  • Another content strategist devalues content marketing as a long-term strategy (24:40): In a recent CMSWire post, Bond Art + Science content strategist Karen McGrane shares her belief that content marketing’s viability as a long-term strategy has been overblown, characterizing the technique as little more than pumping out volumes of content for SEO purposes and seeing what sticks. Robert and I are fans of many of Karen’s other views on content strategy, so we were somewhat surprised to hear her take such a short-sighted position here. While we concede that there are certainly companies out there that are going about content marketing all wrong, we counter that this isn’t the truth for the majority of practitioners. As content marketers, our job is to figure out how to create the minimum amount of content we need to produce the maximum benefit.
Figure out how to create the minimum amount of content to produce the maximum benefit says @joepulizzi Click To Tweet
  • Facebook’s dominance in journalism could be bad news for marketers (34:56): A new article in The Guardian likens publishers’ growing reliance on social distribution of content to the slippery slope of substance dependence: The short term highs its users experience in terms of reach and engagement now may eventually give way to a permanent loss of control over their content — and the revenue they generate from it. We both take issue with the defeatist attitude that lies at the root of this issue, as we are frustrated that marketers seem more content to blindly follow the trend rather than looking for newer, more powerful, and more reliably profitable business models.

2. Sponsor (40:39)

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3. Rants and raves (44:30)

  • Robert’s rant: A recent Bloomberg article, in which former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer proudly describes her average 130-hour work week, has set off a frenzy of posts from other “go-getters” who view this level of self-sacrifice as a badge of honor, of sorts — something that is necessary to achieve business success. Robert calls BS on this, pointing out some of the serious physical and creative risks associated with life-work imbalances like this and reminding marketers that, “it’s only success if you are able to be present enough to enjoy it.”
  • Joe’s rant: I express my concerns about how complacent publishers have become, increasingly relying on revenue from sponsored content and native advertising, instead of searching for a new business model that can support them over the long term. The problem, as I detail in my latest LinkedIn Pulse post, is that brands are getting so good at operating like media companies, that eventually they’ll be able to completely cut out the media middle-man — which will leave publishers scrambling to find a new identity, and new ways to keep their businesses afloat.

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (56:51)

  • 1896: The First Modern Olympics: Likely motivated by Olympic fever this week, Robert discovered a book by David Randall, which describes the origins of the modern Olympic games. In 1896, having grown passionate about the moral, mental, and health benefits that could be realized by combining athletics with education, French educator Pierre de Coubertin decided to make it his mission to resurrect the competitions of physical and mental agility that once took place in ancient Greek gymnasiums. Through research, he discovered many small sporting events were already taking place across the world, so he presented his ideas to their organizers. While his efforts were lauded, they failed to gain enough traction to move forward — until he shifted his focus from preaching to teaching. Pierre started a campaign to share his sporting insights with the event organizers, eventually building his ranks of supporters into an influential community of passionate proponents. Eager for the opportunity to test out his Games theories, he invited his cabal to join him at a congress he organized at the Sorbonne. There, their collective expertise and passion convinced the world leaders in attendance to support Pierre and help him to build his Olympic-sized dreams into an ongoing worldwide event that still takes place today. By using informative content to build interest, then build a community around that shared sense of passion, Pierre de Coubertin was able to drive his desired action — making him both the father of the modern Olympics and a gold-medal-worthy example of This Old Marketing.

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

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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