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This Week in Content Marketing: Social Media Organic Content at Crisis Levels


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 consider the implications of a new format for Google search results, which could eventually let any brand integrate a dedicated Twitter-like feed into them. We smell trouble. Next, we explain why The New York Times’ recent acquisition of HelloSociety is a big deal and agree with one author’s assessment that we’re in the midst of a social media engagement crisis. Finally, we ponder a Google evangelist’s decision to launch a newsletter and build an audience. Rants and raves include Dos Equis’ savvy Most Interesting Man in the World reboot, the future of news publishing, and human- versus bot-produced content. This week’s This Old Marketing example: Hydraulic Pressed Steel Company. 

This week’s show

(Recorded live March 14, 2016; Length: 1:02:31)

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1. Content marketing in the news

  • Discount codes for CMI services (5:51): If you’re planning to attend Content Marketing World 2016, now is the time to register. Use the discount code PNR200 to save $200 on the registration fee. This “return to early bird” pricing is good through March 31, 2016. In addition, we’re offering a $100 discount on CMI University, our recently re-launched e-learning program that’s focused on content strategy. Save $100 with the discount code cmipodcast. Open enrollment – and this discount – end on March 31, 2016.
  • Google is letting celebrities and businesses post directly to search results (8:30): Google has begun experimenting with an entirely new format for search results, which could eventually let any brand, celebrity, or organization have a dedicated Twitter-like feed built right into the company’s search engine. Google says this service will be free, but Robert and I are very skeptical. We’re concerned that when it rolls out this new service more broadly there will be many opportunities for brands to “game” the system.
  • New York Times acquires influencer marketing agency HelloSociety (14:15): The New York Times is expanding its native ad studio with the acquisition of HelloSociety, a digital marketing agency owned by Science, Inc. HelloSociety connects brands with influential social media users who can help promote their marketing efforts. I explain how this acquisition opens the door for NYT’s T Brand Studios to pursue opportunities outside of the Times’ website. Robert and I disagree on how successful it will be when it competes against digital agencies.
  • The engagement crisis in content marketing and social media (21:08): Even as social channels are proliferating, engagement is dropping. MarketingLand columnist Blaise Lucey says this is because many marketers have failed to keep pace with the constant evolution of social channels and audience behavior. Robert and I agree that this author is recommending what we’ve been saying all along: Focus on a niche audience via a limited number of channels.
  • I’m starting a new newsletter – rented vs. owned (29:13): Google evangelist Avinash Kaushik explains how the evolution of the major social media channels has affected his ability to communicate with his readers and how that has driven him to launch a newsletter. Once again, this aligns with our experience at CMI: Don’t get blinded by the idea of creating huge audiences on social channels; focus instead on creating an addressable audience that you own.

2. Sponsor (35:20)

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3. Rants and raves (37:36)

  • Robert’s rave: Robert loves the way in which Dos Equis is rebooting its popular Most Interesting Man in the World campaign: By sending him on a one-way trip to Mars. In a series of new videos, the über-man says goodbye to a motley cast of characters we’ve seen in earlier commercials. It’s a wonderful piece of storytelling. Robert also has a commentary on an article about SurfStitch’s investments in content firms, which could be negatively affecting the company’s profits. He cautions against blaming content marketing for poor corporate performance. It’s still a worthwhile strategy.
  • Joe’s rave: I like this thought-provoking article from Columbia Journalism Review. In it, author Emily Bell predicts how journalism will evolve as channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter become more powerful. In the future, some news publishers may distribute their articles exclusively on these channels, instead of their own websites. This is a must-read for marketers! I’m also intrigued by a New York Times quiz that asks readers to discern which news stories were written by humans versus algorithms. It’s harder than you think!

4. This Old Marketing example of the week (52:37)

  • Hydraulic Pressed Steel Company: This industrial company was started in Cleveland in 1907 to produce pressed steel products. Through a series of acquisitions, it grew to employ over 3,000 people. Hydraulic Pressed Steel was featured in a 1919 Printers Ink article about using art and type to build industrial morale. It mentions a magazine the company produced to help build the morale of its workers. Its editorial mission was to sell the spirit of the enterprise to the people who produced its products. It celebrated the people who worked for the company and their involvement in the community. Hydraulic Pressed Steel engaged a Cleveland-area painter to produce portraits of the featured workers for the cover of each issue. This far-sighted vision for the role content could play in an organization makes Hydraulic Pressed Steel an outstanding example of This Old Marketing.

tom-122-hydraulic-pressed-steel 15.37

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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