Skip to content

This Week in Content Marketing: The Media Industry Is Desperately Confused


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

In this week’s episode (dubbed the “beautiful episode”), Robert and I discuss Uber’s new magazine launch to drivers as well as a thought-provoking article about the negativity surrounding ghostwriting. In addition, we discuss the confusion in the media landscape, how bad native advertising can get, and how Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful Twitter campaign is actually rather ugly. Raves include airline safety that has been transformed into compelling content and headlines that rock. We wrap up the show with a #ThisOldMarketing example from Lands’ End’s Apostrophe e-magazine.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on March  02, 2015; Length: 51:40)

Download this week’s PNR This Old Marketing podcast.

If you enjoy our PNR podcasts, we would love if you would rate it, or post a review, on iTunes

1. Content Marketing in the News

  • Uber Launches a Magazine to Make Nice With Its Drivers (3:22): Uber has launched a print magazine aimed at its drivers. Dubbed Momentum, it serves not only as an informal employee handbook for this important audience, but also as a marketing tool. Uber needs to convince passengers, as well as drivers, that it’s the best app for getting rides. To do so, it needs to keep drivers happy. Robert and I discuss why it’s important to communicate effectively with this “internal” audience and why a print magazine is the perfect vehicle for the task.
  • An Army of Ghostwriters Behind King Content (10:01): Poorly ghostwritten content is damaging the value of excellent content, warns Aimee Millwood, a former ghostwriter. Her solution? Companies need to adopt a strict no ghostwriting policy. I think this column is much ado about nothing because ghostwriting and freelance writing have been integral parts of marketing for a very long time. Robert’s opinion is that to be successful as a writer, you must build your own brand. He reveals how that builds value with clients.
  • How’s the Media Industry These Days? Confused (17:53): A few years ago, the media industry seemed to be finding its footing on promising digital paths. But that confidence has been replaced by confusion, as purveyors of video, music, and the written word struggle to find viable business models, Walt Mossberg reports. This article got me on my usual rant: Publishers typically only think about advertising and paid content models, while ignoring other ways to make money. It’s time to take off the blinders.
  • Despite What You’ve Heard, Native Advertising CAN Scale (24:24): With the right strategies and technologies, native advertising can scale. So says Rahul Nirula in an AdWeek column – an article that is, ironically, a sponsored piece. But, he doesn’t explain how it can do so and detours to talk about other topics. Robert views this article as a great example of what not to do with native advertising. We’re both surprised that it passed AdWeek’s editorial review.
  • Is Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful Campaign the Ugliest Thing on the Internet? (28:34): Dove’s new #SpeakBeautiful Twitter campaign has crossed the line from positive affirmation to downright creepiness, The Washington Post reports. Dove is sending unsolicited tweets of affirmation to any woman who posts a negative thing about her body, while ignoring the issues that caused them to post these ugly sentiments in the first place. I appreciate the positivity of this campaign, but it doesn’t feel genuine. Robert applauds Unilever for its willingness to take a risk with this controversial campaign.


2. Sponsor (34:35)

  • This Old Marketing is sponsored by Marketo, which sells marketing automation software solutions. To help you accomplish your content marketing goals, Marketo is offering a workbook called the Content Marketing Tactical Plan. Download it, fill it in to develop your strategies, and start creating a content machine that truly maps to your goals. It includes staffing guidelines, content planning charts, editorial calendar templates, promotion objectives and tactics, and key content metrics. You can learn more at


3. Rants and Raves (36:04)

  • Robert’s Rave: Robert loves this article from, which describes how airlines are turning safety requirements into content marketing opportunities. Air New Zealand has had major success with its funny, quirky safety videos, for example. Robert loves how this ties in with the idea that “content is what we are.” Ideally, we should be looking at the myriad of customer touch points in our business and identifying opportunities to provide enhanced customer experiences.
  • Joe’s Rave: I like this video on the JD Supra website in which co-founder Adrian Lürssen explains how to write news headlines that not only capture attention initially, but also long after the articles have been published. His tips are based on analyzing the types of headlines that perform best on the JD Supra website. He also offers a practical tip on how to write headlines that are also fit for social media consumption. Great advice for content marketers!

4. This Old Marketing Example of the Week (44:30)

  • Lands’ End: For retailers, it’s not enough to offer consumers an online catalog. Consumers are looking for content that provides advice and compelling experiences. Lands’ End produces a quarterly online magazine, Apostrophe, which does a wonderful job of layering editorial over the top of its e-commerce catalog. Articles include recommended foods to serve at holiday meals, what men should be wearing today, and fashion tips. The content is well-written and artfully presented, and is tightly integrated with the Lands’ End catalog. In other words, if you click on a product image in an article, you can immediately order the item. Even though Apostrophe is only a few years old, it has grown into a wonderful publication and an excellent example for This Old Marketing.


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

How do I subscribe?