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This Week in Content Marketing: The New Media Model Will Include Selling Products


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 research that suggests Facebook organic reach is dipping even more, and additional research that suggests influencer marketing is on the rise, but many marketers are still not approaching it correctly. We also ponder why many publishing companies are myopically focused on advertising and agree that the media model of the future will be all about selling products and services. After roasting The Wall Street Journal (again) for a misleading blog post, rants and raves include Emmy nods for content marketing and WSJ’s new website design. We wrap up the show with a #ThisOldMarketing example from Merrill Lynch.

This week’s show

(Recorded live April 27, 2015; Length: 56:26)

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Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Nepal, who suffered a devastating earthquake last week. PNR: This Old Marketing is donating its advertising revenue for this week’s show to Oxfam International, which has a presence in the country. If you would like to make a donation, here is a list of reputable organizations that are helping victims in Nepal and other affected areas.

1. Content marketing in the news

  • Facebook organic reach now down to 2.6% (4:00): The average reach for posts from Facebook pages in March was 2.6%, slipping to 2.27% for pages with more than 1 million “likes,” according to the latest research from social analytics and reporting firm Locowise. Robert’s takeaway from this article: The larger the number of “likes” you have on your Facebook page, the more likely you are to experience a drop in organic engagement. We also talk about one marketer’s brilliant use of highly targeted content, amplified by equally well-targeted Facebook ads, which drive impressive sales.
  • Nearly 60% of marketers increasing budgets for influencer marketing (11:40): Influencer marketing is becoming an effective way for brands to generate big returns on social, according to this article from Adweek. Influencer marketing platform Tomoson recently polled marketers to get a sense of the current state of the market. Fifty-nine percent of marketers surveyed said they plan to increase funding for influencer marketing in the next year. Robert and I share our concerns about the accuracy of this survey, considering only 125 marketers were surveyed. We also doubt that most brands are approaching influencer marketing in a strategic way.
  • Why is media business innovation dominated by advertising? (19:52): An in-depth opinion piece by Hampton Stephens on PBS MediaShift says that today’s publishing companies aren’t doing enough to experiment with alternate business models as advertising continues its steady decline. Robert and I discuss the effects of shifts in supply and demand, which are partly responsible for the current native advertising. We still see a lot of campaign-focused thinking by brands and publishers alike, which is a big reason so many content marketing initiatives fail to produce the desired results.
  • 17 native ad buzzwords that all mean the same thing (29:06): As native advertising captivates the marketing and media world, the industry has become awash with buzzwords that all essentially mean the same thing, according to this CMO Today blog post from The Wall Street Journal. Robert declares that this article is a contender for the stupidest blog post of the year. I can’t imagine how it got approved to appear in The Wall Street Journal. Perhaps it was meant as a joke, but it didn’t do our practice area any favors.

2. Sponsor (34:13)

  • This Old Marketing is sponsored by Widen Enterprises, a digital technology company that specializes in digital asset management. Widen is offering another new report authored by Robert Rose, Digital Assets Should be Agile, Not Fast. Today, a growing number of marketers are dancing to the tune of agile marketing. Agile teams, assets, and processes can create collaborative content, better brands, and faster content marketing. But what often gets lost is the distinction between agile and fast. Learn more at


3. Rants and raves (36:54)

  • Robert’s rave: Robert loves this article from Contently, which highlights three short brand films that have been nominated for daytime Emmy Awards. They got the attention of the Hollywood elite because of their exceptional approaches to storytelling. They are excellent examples of content that delivers great value and doesn’t overtly promote the products behind them.
  • Joe’s rave: The Wall Street Journal recently redesigned its website, its first major update since 2008. To help readers find their way around, WSJ published an excellent demo video, which explains what has changed and why. Two articles from NiemanLab provide additional context: One explores how this redesign gives an inside look at WSJ’s strategy while the other explains its efforts to increase the velocity of its news operations. I highlight what WSJ learned about the users of its mobile app, plus one surprising thing that it discerned about its home page.

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (46:21)

  • Merrill Lynch: After the Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s, the American public didn’t trust banks or investing in the stock market. To restore consumer confidence, Charles Merrill – one of the founders of investment firm Merrill Lynch – realized that consumers needed to be educated about stocks and other investments. During the post-war boom from the 1940s until the 1960s, Merrill developed a variety of materials, including ads, fliers, books, and events to address this need for consumer education. Over time, Merrill Lynch’s helpful content became so widely respected that the media began to refer to it. Eventually, the company’s name became synonymous with the rebirth of Wall Street. This is a fantastic example of a company that has used multiple methods of outbound content marketing to become successful.


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

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