‘Content marketing’ is under the spotlight. Blogs and tutorial videos are surging everywhere on the Internet. Some brands are doing it perfectly right: they are telling the right stories to attract and retain new and existing customers. The common belief that ‘Content marketing is a new concept’ is completely wrong. It has existed for ages. The difference is the impressive exposure posts can get today, with a little marketing effort. In this article, content marketing will take us back in time to tell us its story.
The art of content marketing
Content marketing is an art. The art of educating customers, without selling. The brand accompanies the customer in a continuous way, by delivering information, educating them and making them more intelligent. Like every strategy, content marketing has a purpose: enriching customer behaviour in a certain direction, towards a goal. In other words, content marketing is based on a constant delivery of information to customers. In return, the brand wins loyalty and sales.
We live in a highly visual world: a post that includes a picture, a graph, an infographic gets much more exposure than an ‘empty’ post. Consumer are more attracted to visual content than text, and thus interact more with it. So when creating a worthy content, enhancing it with visual element is a golden rule.
A good content must be relevant. The brand should understand what its target audience finds interesting, appropriate and useful. By doing so, it can be referenced by influencers, and gain a multiplied exposure!
Content marketing is not new
As promised, this article will take us back in time.
Some believed John Deere to be the original content marketer. In 1985, he started publishing ‘The Furrow’. This magazine was an educational resource for his customers. In it, one could learn how to become a more fruitful farmer. Back in the 19th century, publishing magazines was the only way to transfer content to consumers. The Furrow had 1.5 million copies in circulation in 40 countries.
Another name we have all heard: Michelin. A few years after the conception of the Furrow, in 1900, the Michelin guide was created. This guide helped drivers maintain their cars and find travel accommodation. In addition to offering advice and content to consumers, this guide helped the tire manufacturer drive sales, by encouraging consumers to drive and wear out their tires.
Content marketing is so powerful it not only drives sales, but also saves companies. Jell-O would not be where it is today without content marketing. In 1904, the plant was on the verge of being sold, before one last strategy was attempted: the distribution of free Jell-O recipe books. This initiative lasted 11 hours and was very effective. By 1906, Jell-O sales were boosted to $1 million.
If we travel back to 2010, we observe that 80% of brands use content marketing and 25% of their budget is spent on it.
All in all, content marketing has always existed, and has always had a huge impact on a company or a brand’s performance. It has increased in importance, in power and in exposure.