The origins of content marketing:
The rise of content marketing is a hotly debated topic. Some researchers claim it started with the first caveman’s paintings. Others, with the invention of the Gutenberg printing press. While some claim it started with the first free lifestyle magazine produced by John Deere in 1895.
So, what exactly is content marketing?
The content Marketing Institute defines it as: The strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
What this means is that instead of randomly selling your product or services with traditional ads, content marketing delivers strategic information that is of value and relevance to your audience, who then reward you with their business and loyalty.
If we refine the definition to its simplest form, it is: the act of great storytelling with a defined purpose and audience in mind.
Storytelling and content:
Humankind has been telling stories for centuries. It’s how we connect, bond, build relationships, learn, and understand the world we live in. In a way, we have been creating content for millions of years. It’s no surprise then that brands like Nike, Coke, Dove, with their powerful storytelling campaigns, are some of the most successful brands in history. When a brand shares and demonstrates their narrative in an engaging way, they are able to draw customers in for the long haul.
What has changed?
Through mass communication over the internet, the democratization of content has allowed us to share brand stories to millions across the world. But in the rush to produce more and more content, on every new platform that emerges, many brands waste resources churning out ‘content’ for the sake of content.
The content marketing paradox.
Competition for viewer’s attention is only getting steeper. As more content floods social networks, the slice of engagement for the average brand shrinks. If we maintain the status quo of broadcasting low-quality content on every available channel, with no strategic focus, we run the risk of inciting the demise of content marketing. Producing more content than ever, for less return.
With a limit to how much content can be consumed, liked, or shared, brands must create their own competitive advantages with distinguishing content.
So how do we move away from this content marketing paradox?
Perhaps we can take some lessons from caveman Ugg, on how to create lasting content:
- Paint a good story.
- Keep it simple. Share it.
- Make it relevant/ educational/ helpful.
- Take risks.