What is content marketing?
“Content marketing is the only marketing left.” — Seth Godin
The latest buzz word in the marketing world, content marketing represents the new era of how brands worldwide are doing business. Defined as a “strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”, the whole concept of content marketing centers around one word only: value.
There are two main differences between content marketing and traditional advertising:
- Content marketing offers unique value whereas traditional advertising normally treats the product as a centerpiece of any advertising campaign.
- Content marketing implies establishing owned media channel (usually a blog), replacing paid media channels and turning brands into their own communication mediums.
First examples of content marketing
The term 'content marketing' was coined in 1996, but the first known example of content marketing dates back to 1895, when John Deere, an American manufacturer in the field of agriculture, launched a magazine called The Furrow. The idea of the magazine was to provide free tips to farmers on how to become more successful business owners. In hopes of becoming a go-to resource for their audience, The Furrow turned John Deere into a must-have brand when it comes to agricultural and forestry machinery. Up to this point, The Furrow remains the largest circulated farmers magazine in the world (1.5 million readers in 40 countries in 12 different languages), while John Deere is earning over US$37 billion each year.
Just a few years later, in 1900, two brothers and two car tire manufacturers, André and Édouard Michelin, published the first ever guide for French motorists, which was intended to boost the demand for cars and, as a result, car tires. The guide contained useful information that would include maps, instructions for repairing and changing tires, as well as lists of car mechanics, hotels and petrol stations. The result? Michelin Tyre Company is now the second-largest tire manufacturer in the world.
Other early examples of successful content marketing include Jell-O, Burns & McDonnell and Procter & Gamble.
To learn about the benefits of content marketing, please have a look at the next chapter.