“Content marketing ” is no more than a new buzzword to try and build interest in the stuff we marketers have always been doing, telling stories, and creating a context in which the stories we tell will be meaningful, and be a catalyst to an action we want.
It is also fundamentally important that the bag of stuff called content is understood, well organised and communicated.
Cave paintings were perhaps the first, they told stories about the lives of those living in those days, passing on messages to those that followed, next week, month, millennium.
I have argued previously that Martins Luthers church door was just facebook in beta form, but perhaps the first recognised piece of content marketing as we now know it emerged in 1895 with the first publication of the John Deere farm machinery magazine “The Furrow“, still going strong.
The Michelin brothers first published the “Guide Michelin” a motoring guide in 1900, with the objective of telling the few motorists then around where they could find petrol, accommodation, meals and repairs in France.
In what may have been the first modern cookbook, Frank Woodward saved his $350 investment in the rights to “Jello” at the last moment by publishing a recipe book, the first step in creating a dessert tradition that still exists in the US, and perhaps taking the first step towards our obsession with cookbooks, or “Cooking Content Books”.
Burns & McDonnell engineering first published their “Benchmark” magazine in 1913, and Procter & gamble did more than bring us our daily cleansing products, they gave the name “soap opera” to the daily dose of what we still call “soaps” on TV, by sponsoring radio programs in the ’30’s.
Lego has been the king, with their magazine, and now the Lego movie, how great is that, to have Hollywood make a movie about your product? Wonder where the funding came from?
The examples of so called “Content Marketing” exploded after 2000, any scan of the web will give hundreds of thousands of examples, opinions, and infographics. Curata’s list of content marketing e-books is a great assembly of information, and more evidence, if any more is needed of the interest in the area.
Point is, “Content” is not new, neither is the notion of engaging by communicating stories offering advice, and managing context, it is just that we now have some pretty potent additions to the toolbox.