The Evolution and History of Content Marketing

Evolution and History of Content Marketing

The human lives, in 2020, is no stranger to “content marketing,” it plays a pivotal role in the expansion of trade and commerce through online medium. In the current scenario, Content Marketing is the fuel that boosts up even a small scale setup to the mighty turnovers. Yes! Content Marketing is an influential asset of the online business empire. To understand its importance, we should drift our attention to the Evolution of Content Marketing. Some people believe the history of content marketing goes over 3000 years, while others feel it has a recent history of 120 years. No matter how long the journey was, the field of Content Marketing is growing still.

History of Content marketing

John Deere's work "The Furrow"(1895)

Source: Contently

With reference to Joe Pulizzi’s book ” The Epic Marketing,” it can be determined that the first-ever strategy in content marketing was initiated by John Deere’s work “The Furrow”(1895). The purpose of the book was to educate the farmers with advancing techniques and developments in farming to become successful. It was a compilation of stories, journals, facts, and figures to uplift the farming society. This work continues to be in production, thus making John Deere a successful brand. 

We must also remember that it was Benjamin Franklin who first printed the first annual in 1732, Poor Richard’s “Almanack,” to promote his printing press. By this time, various initiatives were taken by different brands to reach the customers, while others had direct consumer interaction about the product without selling them. 

There is an interesting mention in the history; the bookstore Librairie Galignani opened reading rooms for people to access newspapers and works of great authors (a notable initiative of content sharing in the past). During this time, the works were helpful to the audience even though the focus was on the business. These handbooks, visual infographics, and magazines were filled with high rich content. Some of the notable works are mentioned below:

➡️  The  Michelin Guide, published in 1900, educated the drivers to keep their vehicles in check and great condition. It also enlisted great places to eat and stay while traveling. Even today, restaurants all over the world aim for Michelin Stars.

The Michelin Guide

➡️  Kraft- This company went on ahead to publish Jell-O Recipe Collections in 1904. This work gained high popularity for its recipe collection and made a sale of $1 million within the first two years.


The Emergence of Advertisements:

There was a sudden shift from highly useful content to advertisements. Slowly, the behavior of the consumers changed, and they got engulfed in what was sold through the audio and visual mediums. In the 1930s, Procter and Gamble aired its first radio soap opera, a social drama featuring the detergents. Nearing the 60s and 70s, Madison Avenue manipulated the ad responses, thus degrading the highly enriched content.

However, the 1980s reversed the time and brought back the content. A joint venture of Hasbro and Marvel comics to publish G.I Joe comic books changed the face of the toy market to great success. In 1997, Lego went up to launch the magazine “Brick Kicks.” Then there came the advent of the internet in the 90s – a period where content marketing evolved to what we know today.

G.I Joe comic book

The modern marketing creates the spur in the 90s:

In 1998, Microsoft launched its first major corporate blog. It was during the same time when coded and systematic approach to content marketing had an impact in Ohio and Cleveland. Few that followed these trends are listed below:

  • A magazine named “STIR,” dedicated to architecture and interior designing, was framed by Sherwin Williams in 2006.
  • Before YouTube, there was a sensational video downloaded over 250,000 published LiveVault in 2005 featuring John Cleese.


Source: Captains of Industry YouTube video

  • A collaboration by Apple and Nike emerged for the product Nike+ which tracks the runs and progress of the user.

Nike +

  • An official website was launched by Procter and Gamble exclusively for teenage girls. This face advertising through soap opera seemed four times more effective than traditional marketing.

Hence the 90s were not that suitable for content marketing as the modern audience was more responsive to soft-sell methods.

Content Marketing back with a bang:

With the establishment of the Content Marketing Institute in 2010, around 88% of brands are utilizing every tool possible available in this bandwagon. By 2015, content marketing received extensive demand with a whopping 91% usage by B2B marketers. With the advent of social media, ebooks, articles, blogs, Slideshare, webinars, podcasts are always in the making every day. Due to the evolution of content marketing, new methods are now producing user-generated content for efficient search results. As a response to the user demands, automated marketing software, and email marketing plugins tied up with social scheduling programs, are now making the share of content timely and easier.

What awaits in the future of Content Marketing?

  • Content Marketing is now target-audience oriented and will step more on brand storytelling in the future. With the complete feedback from the consumers, these content are going to hold authenticity and high-quality material.
  • Content marketing is going to be the legitimized approach for the companies. There would be professional training and recognition as creators of Content Marketing. This is going to be a great opportunity in the field of employment.
  • Reduction of the faux pas of irrelevant advertisements in the market and promotion of automated interaction and connection with users.
  • It is presumed that content marketing is going to take the big leap into spheres never traveled before: Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

History of Content Marketing that started with John Deere has never ceased to stop. Content marketing is certainly going to spread its branches wider with time. The Evolution of content marketing will take time because of the steady construction of content. Content Marketing goes through creation, curation, and sharing for wider reach. At last, always remember: No Brand Has its Future Without Content Marketing!

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