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The Relentless Evolution of Content Marketing

this old marketing logoPNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

In this episode of PNR, Robert and I review some recent changes to Google Analytics, and then get into a deep discussion on the future of Facebook for content marketers. We also talk about agencies building out newsrooms, new CMI research on B2B enterprise content marketing, and why social media fading into wallpaper might just be a good thing, before exploring a This Old Marketing example of the week: Dell Power Solutions magazine.
Sponsored by:

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This week’s show

(Recorded live on April 22, 2014; Length: 1:00:57)

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Show overview

1. Content Marketing in the News

  • Visits Become “Sessions,” and Unique Visitors Are Now “Users” (2:45): Search Engine Roundtable reports that Google Analytics has quietly changed the terminology it uses within its reports. “Visits” and “unique visitors” are now called “sessions” and “users,” respectively. Robert and I agree Google may have moved in this direction because of the rise of mobile, which represents a different type of engagement with content.
  • Facebook’s Reduction in Organic Reach Could Actually Benefit Brands (6:06): Digiday recently published its reactions to a new white paper from Facebook that claims that its change to minimize the organic reach of brands in its newsfeed is actually a good thing. Robert and I believe this is a piece of shameless propaganda, which attempts to justify a preposterous conclusion. We also debate whether Facebook’s recent acquisitions (including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus VR) may be a sign that the company plans to push brands to the forefront and let the social network itself fade into the background (similar to what Tencent is doing successfully in China).
  • Agencies Are Adding Real-Time Marketing Capabilities (21:32): A Wall Street Journal article sheds light on agencies that are adding news desks to monitor social media channels for its clients and hiring journalists to help them produce relevant content more quickly. While Robert thinks this is a great move for agency innovation, I argue that the term “real-time marketing” is opportunistic but may not help to increase engagement with their clients’ brands.
  • Research Shows B2B Marketers Still Struggle With Integration (30:50): This week, CMI released the results of new research showing that the biggest challenge B2B marketers at enterprise organizations face is a lack of integration with other departments. Robert believes this problem has been exacerbated by firms outsourcing more marketing functions to highly-specialized agencies. My big takeaway from the results of this survey is this: Only 15 percent of marketers who don’t have a documented content marketing strategy believe their content marketing programs are effective. In contrast, 49 percent of those that do have one believe their efforts are effective. This shows just how critical a strategic content marketing plan is to achieving success.
  • Content Marketing Is Primed for Disruption (37:35): Sunil Rajaraman, Co-Founder of, has authored a very helpful article and infographic that analyzes content technology providers based on the types of content they help source and facilitate.Robert and I agree it’s a terrific resource that provides a fresh perspective on this space and includes several vendors we weren’t even aware of.
infographic-5 types of content marketing companies
Click to view full infographic.
  • Say Goodbye to the Social Media “Guru” (39:32): Rebecca Lieb, an analyst with The Altimeter Group, has written a thoughtful blog post on why social media has faded from being seen as a “bright, shiny object,” to being a part of the “wallpaper” of marketing, and why content marketing is poised to be the next “must-have” marketing technique. This launches Robert and I into a discussion on whether or not basic content that simply answers customers’ questions or contains numbered lists of tips has already reached a saturation point.
  • Publishers Fight Ad Revenue Declines With a Boost From Big Data (46:19): A fascinating article from Digiday explains how legacy publishers are using big data to capture new consumers as subscribers, keep them engaged, and get them to buy more products. Robert views content marketing from a similar perspective: If we treat it as a process that can be steadily improved using data, we will become better at it over time. I agree that this news item contains some great lessons for brands.

2. Big Ideas From Our Sponsor (50:40)

  • This week’s PNR is sponsored by Oracle Marketing Cloud (formerly Eloqua), which has released an excellent guide called Marketing Automation Simplified. It’s the small guide to big ideas to improve your marketing automation expertise. More marketers are implementing marketing automation to maximize the value of their data, improve engagements, and effectively measure effectiveness. While automation technology also helps companies become more data-driven to improve accountability, it can be challenging to understand how to make the most of its functionality. Marketing Automation Simplified offers an introduction on 5 Tenets of Modern Marketing, and gives a breakdown on handy tips to help marketers automate and optimize data and targeting, email marketing, lead nurturing and scoring, content marketing, and sales/marketing alignment. You can download it here.


3. Rants and Raves (52:14)

  • Robert’s Rave: Robert is excited that, over the last several weeks, he’s been able to maintain his goal of dedicating 10 percent of his time to new content creation — a strategy he recommends in many of his talks. In his opinion, brands spend too much time and manpower managing and governing content, and not enough creating new content. He recommends putting a process in place to ensure that you’re investing 10 percent of your time (approximately 5 hours a week) to creating new content. It’s a simple strategy, but he has seen outstanding results from it.
  • Joe’s Rave: I also have a rave this week — on another excellent blog post by Rebecca Lieb entitled, Content Marketing Haters Gonna Hate (And Why They’re Wrong). I completely agree with the main point of her article, which is this: Love it or hate it, the term content marketing is here to stay, so we all need to learn to live with it. I believe it’s become a unifying term that has enabled our industry to accomplish a lot in a short time — especially when compared to the “Tower of Babel” that came before it (i.e., when marketers used a myriad of terms to describe our discipline, causing confusion and hindering progress). It’s gratifying to see a respected analyst like Rebecca supporting this viewpoint.

4. This Old Marketing Example of the Week (57:10)

  • Dell Power Solutions Magazine: Dell has produced its award-winning quarterly publication for over 20 years. The mission of Dell Power Solutions is to help enterprise IT professionals structure and run their operations effectively. It is delivered in print and electronically to customers around the world and has a combined print/digital circulation of more than 400,000 readers. It’s an impressive example of a company taking a long-term commitment to customer education via high-quality content marketing.

magazine cover-power solutions

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

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