Content marketing is certainly a hot topic these days. According to a survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, the average organization spends more than one-quarter of its marketing budget on content marketing. And with the explosive adoption of mobile and social, along with the expanded use of marketing automation, the volume and variety of content marketing will increase.
So what is this “new” phenomenon?
The truth is that content as a marketing asset has been around for a long, long time. In 1900, the tire manufacturer Michelin began producing the Michelin Guide to help drivers maintain their cars and find decent lodging and great food while touring France. What did this have to do with tires? Michelin figured out that marketing should be an asset and delivering original, relevant information to customers is critical – even if that content does not contain any overt reference to the company’s products. That’s just one early example of content marketing, but you get the point.
What’s in a name?
The practice of creating, curating, and distributing valuable content was commonly called custom publishing. In the late 1990s, custom media started to replace custom publishing as the industry term in response to the digital content phenomenon. Today the term content marketing appears to be the accepted industry term, although you will also hear brand journalism, brand storytelling, brand content, and other terms used to refer to similar practices.
Whether you love or hate the term content marketing, the industry is embracing it and the discipline is growing. In Part 2 of this blog post we’ll talk about the new focus on content marketing and why your business needs to understand it. Here’s the link to Part 2.