Is Content Marketing ‘new’ or just something ‘old is new again’?
Content marketing is not new, really. More like a new spin on some older ideas
In some ways, content marketing is as old as humans trading or selling things. We told stories to get rid of something, trade for something more valuable, or listened to stories and forked over coins, shells or whatever the currency of the day. Content Marketing now is just a newer form of that storytelling for trade.
And If Leo Burnett and David Ogilvy preached its core concepts back in the “Mad Men” hey-day, era of advertising, then no, CM isn’t new. But it is being newly applied, written about, taught and spread like wildfire.
If something has 20+ definitions, it’s probably not completely new.
Heidi Cohen collected 21 definitions of content marketing back in 2011. CMI has noted multiple synonyms, as well as the multiple components, for content marketing.
Heck, even Wikipedia notes that forms of content marketing are as old as marketing or advertising itself. John Deere launched a custom publication on teaching farmers to farm better (and more profitably) back in 1895 [The Furrow]. It’s still being published – now available on your tablet, Facebook, Twitter and more.
So why is the concept of ‘content marketing’ all over the web and more viral than, well …. “viral”?
Rising costs of ‘traditional’ marketing – TV, movie placements, radio ads, splashy, glossy magazine ads all cost more and still have some unknown returns. And online is really starting to eat their lunch … and their young.
Advances in search – search engines are still mysterious and no one ever gets to peek under the hood to see how they run.
But they’re where everyone turns when starting to make decisions – on everything from coffee filters, diapers and pet sitters to cars, IT systems, business consultants and more. So you better show up in search results for the right things for your particular audience. Search engines love and reward high quality content as much as your audience does. So give it to your customers and the engines purr and reward all around!
Social Media – social isn’t the core of content marketing, but it’s a pretty big piece of how to get all that awesome content out there. It’s also relatively low cost – for now. [Yes, changes like those Facebook has made have changed things – but the cost of pay-to-play is relatively low still, especially compared to the big broadcast buys].
Audiences – they’ve changed and gotten more savvy and educated about shopping – for everything. There’s a ton of information to help make choices – rankings on toasters, colleges and CRM software are all equally accessible. There’s little need to talk to a salesperson as the first line to get info on how a product or service works. We search for it instead. And the more useful, quality info we find (voila, content marketing), the more likely it is we’ll buy from whomever provided us that super decision-making content.