Do you know how long content marketing has been in existence and what content marketing strategies have worked best over time? The answers may surprise you.
The John Deere company has been publishing The Furrow continuously for 125 years, first in print and then both in print and electronic versions. The key to this trusted agricultural magazine’s success? Providing accurate, unbiased information to the farm families who read it. Recently, John Deere has expanded their content to include a podcast with stories about people and events mentioned in The Furrow. The goal is to educate and entertain, not to talk about John Deere products.
The Michelin company provided a similar service in Europe in the early 1900s when they began publishing their Michelin travel guides. By providing useful information like maps, tire and car care instructions, and listings for gas stations and hotels, their brand became familiar to a growing number of automobile owners. Micheline Guides and their app continue to aid travelers around the world.
One hundred years ago, radio was ripe for content marketing. Sears-Roebuck educated its target market on its company-owned radio station and sold them radios at the same time. In the 1930s, corporations like Proctor and Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive created ongoing stories to captivate their target audience and paint a picture of a more desirable life using their products. Hard as it is to believe today, the featured product in these broadcasts was soap! The term “soap opera” was born and carried over into the age of television advertising.
Unfortunately, content marketing did not fare as well on television as ads did. With few exceptions, companies seemed to be more concerned with selling products than helping their customers. This all changed with the Internet.
The publication and distribution of useful information was once again within the realm of possibility, no matter the size of one’s marketing budget. Social media (including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter), websites, articles, white papers, e-mail newsletters, and blogs were all relatively inexpensive options available to content marketers in the early years of the 21st century. According to Hubspot, blogs, images, infographics, and videos are the top formats used by content marketers across an ever-growing number of platforms two decades later.
Google search exploded after 9/11 (2001). Marketers wanted to be found online and the best way to do this was with high-quality digital content that addressed the needs and desires of their prospects and clients.
The financial crisis brought on by the Great Recession of 2008/2009 led to many marketing budgets being slashed. Marketers had to find new, cost-effective ways to market. For the companies that survived, digital marketing was their salvation. The more creative marketers realigned their budgets and allocated money for social media, podcasting, video marketing, webcasting, and more. They created valuable, relevant, and compelling content in all the channels where their ideal customers spent time and they had a clear business goal behind each choice.
By 2015, content marketing was the fastest-growing area of marketing. It fit any size marketing budget with no-cost options like social media, inexpensive solutions like websites and newsletters, and investments that produced a greater return like planned campaigns with greater engagement. Content in 2015 also became mobile-friendly to qualify for better search engine rankings with Google.
In the last decade, we have seen a shift away from text-only content. Companies are incorporating high-quality images, infographics, videos, and podcasts into their content marketing strategies. Not only does this capture attention more quickly, but it provides more opportunities for branding and for reaching those with different learning styles with audio, video, and transcripts.
Today, we see more content marketing that connects companies with their target audience at a deeper level. Tate Design can help you take advantage of this. Beginning at a time when the Internet was still a novelty, we have been able to capitalize on unique opportunities to promote our clients and increase their online visibility. We bring this wealth of experience to the creation of your content marketing plan and your marketing campaigns. As this post clearly shows, marketing opportunities are ever-changing and evolving. We are committed to continual industry research and learning in order to provide you with a distinct advantage in your content marketing.
Which strategy will you use to position yourself for success? Call us at 610.725.0702 or e-mail [email protected] to explore the possibilities.
Updated January 2023
Content Marketing World’s “A Brief History Of Content Marketing” infographic
Rebecca White’s “The History Of Content Marketing”