Have you ever wondered where, when, how and who started content marketing?
For the longest time, you have heard of content marketing and its power in changing your online business and taking it to the next level. However, just like anything else in this world, content marketing is not something that just sprouted out of nowhere. It is something that was created, developed and further improved through the years. Many people cite the launch of The Furrow by John Deere back in 1895 as the first ever example of content marketing, which means that this strategy is already around 122 years old. Let's be clear, this is a short story I am going to tell. Some people say that content marketing is more than 3,000 years old. But, with this 'short' 120-years story, you will already see the evolution of content marketing through the ages. If this origin story is accurate, you will think that all marketers will have a better understanding of how to handle content marketing. But in reality, even after more than 100 years passed, they are still trying to figure things out.
Even up to this day and age, there are still plenty of brands out there which create high sales-driven content disguised as a way to help out consumers.
There are companies that automatically generate extremely terrible content based on keywords alone. And there are agencies which come up with barely legible writing and call it content marketing. It is clear that the 120-year journey to an excellent content marketing is not over just yet.
Content Marketing Defined
Before we take a trip down memory lane and the evolution of content marketing, it is important to ensure that we are on the same page here. I am sure you know how content marketing can help you grow your business but are you sure you know what content marketing really is? It is a must to know the real definition of content marketing.
By far, content marketing is composed of creation and distribution of high value and non-branded content with the purpose of driving a long-term customer engagement.
Content marketing is considered a crucial aspect of B2B marketing strategy, with marketing organizations now embracing brand new ways to engage their audiences beyond the usual digital channels with information that offers them with real value.
What used to be a trendy new strategy has now transformed for the past 10 years into a proven marketing tactic in which a lot of organizations build their bigger overall efforts around. Originally, content marketing was a mere buzzword and numerous brands decided to jump on board as it was a cool new thing to try. After a few years, it is proven how effective this can be. Testing has found out what works is what does not. Those who use it can measure, track and prove its success. This remarkable change has paved the way on how marketers understand all the benefits of content and how this can be used for maximizing return on investment for the company in various departments. Through content marketing, brands are given the chance to communicate with prospects and customers using their own voice and establish themselves as reliable thought leaders in the industries they belong to, but only if the content gives readers with valuable takeaways. Thanks to the development of account based marketing strategies in the B2B realm, content that is more focused is proven to be more valuable than ever for addressing specific interests as well as pain points of the targeted buyers.
Experts claim that content marketing is taking a narrower approach. With more and more B2B brands leaning to account based marketing, there is a justifiable demand to offer a more tailored and targeted content to suit the needs of target accounts.
So long as the focus of content marketers is to provide content which concentrates on particular needs of audiences, the effectiveness wave must continue.
Old School Content Marketing and Its Humble Beginnings
A lot of startups, businesses, entrepreneurs and marketers believe content marketing is the new hype but in fact this is one of those old-school marketing tactics that give results. In order to really observe the evolution of content marketing, it's important to have a look at its premises. Prior to it becoming a household name, content marketing was already making a big difference in the marketing efforts of several popular brands.