Content Marketing Catchup: The Brand Blog With 50 Million Readers, Content Marketing in 2024, and More Must-Reads

Here’s what you missed while trying to hack Marketo to forge your Q3 status report…

Collectively: The Upworthy of Branded Content, or a Doomed Experiment?

Last week, 29 brands came together to back a feel-good climate change site that follows the Upworthy model. Immediately, the site’s claim of editorial inspiration inspired backlash from across the media landscape, Kieran Dahl reports:

So, the big question: Will it work? Collectively’s diametrical opposition to the prevailing dystopian view of climate issues is at once a welcome change of pace and a thin veil over brands’ financial motives. Read it.

This Brand Blog Grew to 50 Million Monthly Readers in Just 10 Months. Here’s How

What constitutes a successful brand publication? Fifty thousand monthly readers? One hundred thousand? How about 50 million? That’s the readership that Petflow has built in the last 10 months.

A year ago, the PetFlow blog was a typical business blog, with posts about company activity and local animal rescue events. Their jump from unknown to big dog in the pet retail world was driven in no small part by the huge following they’d built on Facebook by posting pet photos and memes. But when Facebook changed their algorithm, allowing brands to get more distribution for posting links and less for text and photo updates, and added more robust paid audience targeting, it just made good sense for PetFlow to become a publisher. Read it.

If You Don’t Have Good Content, You’re Going to Fail on Social

The difference between social and content marketing is getting blurrier every day. Contently VP of Content Sam Slaughter lays down the truth—great content is the only way brands are going to deliver true value on social.

The other day I was on a panel with a couple other content marketing types when, as is custom at these things, someone asked us how content fits within social media marketing. And (likely because I’d had too much caffeine), I blurted out, “I think content eats social!” which a) didn’t really answer the question very well; b) didn’t make a ton of sense; and c) earned me a dirty look or two from the other panelists (one of whom was from a social media management platform).

But the more I’ve thought about it, the more it makes sense. Though content marketing is the new kid on the block, it won’t be long before it eclipses social as marketers’ tool of choice. Read it.

What Will Content Marketing Look Like in 2024?

According to the masterpiece film Back to the Future 2, the year 2015 was supposed to bring us hoverboards and flying cars. We didn’t quite get that, but that hasn’t stopped everyone from trying to predict the future—especially marketers:

Unless your name is Nostradamus or Doc Brown, guessing far into the future is a tough business. But predicting trends in marketing a few years out can give smart brands a huge jump start on their competition, and we’d be fools (and bad businesspeople) not to try to figure out what’s coming next. A few prescient souls and some educated guessing can go a long way in the marketing world.

Last week, the hosts of OneSpot’s Unify Conference decided to find out where content marketing was headed, putting together a panel of experienced content marketing execs and asking them: Where will content marketing be in 2024? Read it.

Insane Story of the Day: eBay Started as an Ebola Site

And finally, your weekly cocktail party fodder…

After spending way too much time playing with the Way Back Machine, Fortune‘s Erin Griffith came away with an amazing scoop: eBay started as a website about Ebola.

In 1995, was just another quirky domain on the young web. As Griffith reports, entrepreneur Pierre Omidyar only bought it when his first choice,, wasn’t available. This iteration of eBay had no auctions, and the content lacked a clear focus: One page concentrated on a biotech startup, while another was dedicated to a Tufts University alumni group. But, most notably, there was a section called Ebola Information because of Omidyar’s strange fascination with the disease. Read it.

Until next week! Party on.

Image by Geoff Gallice
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