When you think of evolution, one of the first people that probably springs to mind is Charles Darwin. I know what you’re thinking, what on earth has Charles Darwin got to do with content marketing?
Well, to echo the wise words of the man himself: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”. And believe it or not, this statement also applies to content marketing.
The common trend with successful content marketing is content that evolves to meet user demand and achieve the desired business outcomes. In this blog, learn about the evolution of content marketing and discover what the future may hold for this marketing model.
What is content marketing?
Although content marketing has changed a lot over the years, its fundamental goals have remained the same. The aim of content marketing is to help build a connection with your audience by providing relevant, supportive, educational and even entertaining content. This helps your audience to rely on (and create a relationship with) your brand, ultimately driving sales and generating repeat business.
But where did it all start?
The invention of the printer meant that printed materials were the first form of content marketing. One of the earliest recorded examples of content marketing was a book called Poor Richard’s Almanack, which was first published by Benjamin Franklin in 1732 (and every year thereafter until 1758) to promote his printing business.
As the trend became more popular, companies started to realise the value of making content for their audience which isn’t just a hard sell. They started to create magazines and publications that included advice relating to the industry or tips on how to improve their business.
The agricultural machinery company, John Deere, published a customer magazine called The Farrow in 1895, which is still published to this day. And in 1900, the famous tyre company, Michelin, published a huge guide that advised drivers on how to look after their cars as well as places to stay and restaurants. This guide was released to encourage people to travel by car, which ultimately increased the need for tyres.
The rise of radio
In the early 1900s, advertising on the radio was growing in popularity. This time was known as the ‘golden age of radio’ and was one of the main sources of entertainment for the public. In the 1930s, popular brand Proctor and Gamble became one of the first companies to sponsor a radio drama to promote their new soap product. The show in question targeted its intended audience at the time.
Fun fact – this is actually where the term ‘soap operas’ was born!
Brand mascots we all know and love
If I asked you what your favourite brand mascots are, you could probably list loads of different examples! Brands started to create mascots in a bid to build an emotional connection with their audience and make them more memorable.
In 1929, Bassets created Bertie Basset – a mascot for their famous Liquorish Allsorts sweets. This mascot is still used by the brand today, and, if you ask me, this familiar face has become an integral part of British culture.
If you’re looking for some more modern examples, mascots like the PG Tips Monkey, the Churchill nodding bulldog and the Compare the Market meerkats, have all proved revolutionary in the humanisation of their brands over the years.
The introduction of the ITV channel in 1955 (the first direct competitor of the BBC) also saw the launch of the first TV advert in Britain, which was for Gibbs Toothpaste.
Back in the 1950s, TV adverts were very different, they were black and white, longer in duration, and often resembled newspaper adverts. As time passed, adverts evolved in line with our ever-changing society and with the interests of target audiences, ultimately becoming a lot more extravagant and, oftentimes, more plot-driven.
If a TV advert is done well, it’s something that can catch the attention of your audience and make a real impact in their lives – ads have the ability to reside in your memory forever, whether you want them to or not!
The most famous adverts in this country include the festive, feel-good adverts from John Lewis, and the famous Holidays Are Coming adverts from Coca-Cola. Other examples are the operatic voice of the Go Compare adverts (sorry for any onset earworms!), and my personal favourite – the drumming Cadbury gorilla!
Present day and beyond
Nowadays, methods of content marketing are multifaceted. But if they’re used correctly, they can bring your business a host of benefits now and in the future.
Take a look at some of the factors that brought about the evolution of content marketing:
Search engines and SEO
When researching a product or looking for a solution to a problem, where is the first place you go? I’m willing to bet that your answer is either Google or, perhaps less likely, Bing.
Over the years, search engines have evolved to penalise black-hat Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tactics and encourage businesses to produce high-quality content that will benefit the user and guide prospects through the sales funnel towards a conversion.
Email marketing is taking the world by storm
Email marketing is a form of direct marketing and is used by businesses to promote products and/or services, share a message (like a sale or competition), and create a relationship with their audience.
Email marketing offers one of the highest returns on investment due to its functionality. Not only can you personalise emails to strengthen your relationship with your customers, but you can also carry out an array of different tests to gather valuable insights that can be implemented into future campaigns.
The rise of social media
Like it or not, social media has become a fundamental part of our lives. How many times have you been scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or TikTok, then look at the time only to realise you’ve been doing so for hours?!
Social media is a different way for people to consume content and another way for your business to connect and engage with your target audience. Its popularity has forced businesses to re-think their marketing strategies and create eye-catching content that encourages someone to engage with it – whether that be liking or sharing a post or clicking through to a landing page.
Video killed the radio star
I couldn’t talk about videos without including that iconic song lyric!
With apps like TikTok getting over one billion active monthly users, video has been a growing trend for years, and one that shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
With everyone spending a lot more time online, videos can be a vital asset to your marketing strategy – it’s a quick and easy way to consume content. Think about it this way; when you’re scrolling through social media what would you rather do? Read a post and work out the main point yourself or watch a 30-second video and be told everything you need to know.
Visual content like videos are very memorable, so they’re a great way to convey a message and capture the attention of your target audience. They can help you do anything from giving your audience an insight into your business or a fun, light-hearted video to build a connection with your audience.
Videos can be used over a variety of different platforms; are great for your SEO and can really boost your content marketing strategy.
Our team will help you stay ahead of the curve
Our content marketing services can help you create a strategy unique to your business that achieves impressive results.
Get in touch with our team of experts to revamp your content marketing strategy or create an entirely new one.