Content marketing is becoming a more famous word in marketing lately. But it is not a new trend in marketing.
Content marketing is as old as marketing itself.
‘Marketing used to be about making a myth and telling it. Now it’s about telling a truth and sharing it.’
Traditional marketing is all about creating a myth and making people believe in it. After the outbreak of the internet, marketing is all about telling the truth to the people. As people have become smarter with every piece of information available on the internet nowadays.
Creating and spreading myths may backfire on your marketing strategy in today’s world. But whether you circulate mythology or share the truth one thing is common.
Yes, the content.
You need content to share your thoughts with your audience. Whatever you think or wherever you put it you definitely, need content. It may be an article, story, image or video. You need content to share your idea correctly with your audience.
Importance Of Content In Marketing
Do you expect anyone to understand you if you never spoke to them?
Do you think someone who doesn’t know sign language will correctly understand you when you speak in signs?
That is how it feels to me when you or anyone say “I can do marketing without using any content”.
See the below infographic for an example.
This infographic may represent a financial graph, data of website users or even population.
You will never know what it is until I put the content which says the graph represents the stocks, info 1 is year 1, info 2 is year 2, and this colour line represents this company.
For example, let me say this is the economic status of the countries. Then I should present the infographic like the image below.
Marketing is all about saying the right message, to the right people, at the right time on the right platform. And Content plays a major role.
Because without proper content in your marketing campaign, your audience will not understand the message, and in the worst-case scenario they misunderstand the message you give.
As a marketer or a creator, you are not responsible for what you say but for how they understand you.
So make sure you don’t give your audience any chance to obtain the wrong message from your content.
What is Content Marketing?
By now you would have had at least a basic idea of what content marketing is all about.
But let me define it technically once. So you can understand it perfectly.
Content marketing is the strategic process of planning and creating relevant content depending on the platform where the content is to be published to attract the target audience and to reach your goal i.e., brand awareness, user engagement, sales and trust building.
Pros Of Content Marketing
Content Marketing plays an important role in reaching out to your audience.
A well-strategised content marketing plan doesn’t force your audience to buy rather it educates your audience about the products and services you provide.
Content helps to boost conversions by explaining how your product or service solves its pain points to your audience.
It helps you to strengthen your relationship with your customers and create a tribe around your brand.
Giving valued and relevant content helps to build trust and loyalty with your customer, which leads to natural sales.
Content Marketing Through The History
As I said earlier, content marketing is not a new practice. Maybe it is becoming the talk of the town recently. But it has been practised by brands throughout the era.
The Furrow Magazine’s Content Marketing
John Deere launched “The Furrow” magazine in 1895 as ‘A Journal for the American Farmer’ and became a legend among the agriculture and brand publishing community. Even now, The Furrow is considered the brand magazine born even before the term content marketing was formed.
The Michelin Guide Plan
In 1900 Andre Michelin and Edouard Michelin hoping to increase the car and car tyre demand, published the first Michelin Guide. It was the ultimate guide for new owners and drivers consisting of maps, instructions on how to change tyres, locations of fine restaurants, etc. First, they printed 35,000 copies and distributed them for free. By 1930 each of their new editions was a regular on France’s bestseller list.
Jell-O Recipe Book Marketing Plan
By 1904 Jell-O distributed a free recipe book, which had all the recipes that use Jell-O products to prepare the dish. The idea is to make their target audience buy Jell-O products by giving them the recipe to make dishes with them.
G.I. Joe Comic Book Strategy
Hasbro partnered with Marvel in 1982 to create a G.I. Joe comic book, which purpose was to have a backstory for their action figures. By the next two months of releasing the comic book which had two stories, 20% of their target audience had already bought two or more toys.
Lego Content Marketing Strategy
Lego launched Brick Kicks magazine in the winter of 1987, which is now well known as Lego Club magazine. It is a playbook featuring comics, games, contests, creations, building ideas and special offers related to Lego. These made a unique selling point for Lego products.
Later in 2014, The Lego Movie premiered with over twenty Lego sets inspired by scenes from the film were released including a set of collectable mini figures. Also, they released The Lego Movie video game on multiple gaming platforms, followed by the movie.
WordPress Empowering To Go Digital
In May 2003 WordPress was released as a fork of B2/cafelog, which was created originally as a blog-publishing system. But then, had evolved to support other web content types that include more traditional mailing lists, forums, media galleries, membership sites, learning management systems (LMS) and online stores.
wordpress.org, an open-source content management system (CMS), powered more than 50 million blogs around the year 2011. Even now, WordPress is used by 42.8% of the top 10 million websites.
How Facebook Connects People
Mark Zuckerberg launched his social network TheFacebook.com in February 2004 for Harvard students and gradually it was made open to other prestigious schools as well. By June 2004 more than 250,000 students had signed up on TheFacebook.
Gradually it is named Facebook and by the year 2006, Facebook opened membership to everyone, which led to an effective relationship between businesses and customers. By 2011 Facebook had already gained more than 600 million users.
Microsoft’s First Blog Channel 9
Microsoft launched its first own blog “Channel 9” hosting videos and podcasts of Microsoft developers in April 2004 when Microsoft’s corporate reputation was low. Also, it made an inexpensive alternative for Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference. Later in 2021, they merged Channel 9 into Microsoft Learn.
YouTube’s Video Contents
In February 2005, YouTube was founded by three former PayPal employees as an online video-sharing platform. They declared their business model was advertisement based and made 15 million dollars per month.
By November 2006, Google bought YouTube for 1.65 billion and made it one of Google’s subsidiaries. According to a Forbes magazine article in 2008, YouTube generated a revenue of $200 million which shows the progress of video advertising.
Content Marketing Era
By 2007 there were 7 customer magazines published out of the top 10 UK newsstand publications, which were printed by businesses as a means of communication between their customers.
From 2010, over 88% of all the business brands started using content marketing and 25% of their marketing budget was spent on content marketing.
From then to now and now to the coming years keep moving, and new brands keep getting born, but one thing never changes. That is telling your story.
So, you had an idea of how content marketing worked in the past for the big brands we see today. Are you ready to tell your story and build your foundation to become a big brand now?
How To Tell Your Story With The Present Trends Of Marketing?
Do you remember the quote I began this article with? if not, let me repeat it. The quote is “Marketing used to be about making a myth and telling it. now it’s about telling a truth and sharing it.”.
Tell your story with a sense of truth in it. Even if it is a simple story, just tell the truth.
In today’s generation, people seek the truth only. And thanks to the internet and social media platforms the truth is kept transparent to everyone or comes to the light eventually.
So, You cannot depend on myths to sell a product, when everyone knows everything in this digital age. Rather than working your head off trying to create a new myth for your marketing campaign. Just tell them the plain truth.
Say your story centred around the hero and remember your customer is always your hero, not you or your business.
Don’t depend on outbound marketing methods to tell your story, people get annoyed most of the time on seeing an irrelevant shout-out when they are in the middle of something.
In today’s world, all people are smart. They most often use ad blockers or they just skip your ads when on YouTube. Most people don’t wait around ads to see your story.
So you too, are a smart marketer or a smart business by telling your story to the right audience. Don’t go around pitching to everyone for sales.
Give value and wait, the right people will come around you.
That’s what makes content marketing most powerful than other marketing techniques.
Because once you started providing value to your customers. Sales happen without you putting any extra effort into it.