Something in the air reminds me of the early days of social media and web 2.0 when the world was abuzz with stories about these new development on world wide web – some real and some outlandish. You can find similar kind of sentiment on the web sweeping people off their feet. A similar whirlwind of stories is rising up the ground about content marketing.
Marketers who once sworn by chocking the perceptual paradigm of audience with sight and sound are now looking to dive deeper into customers engagement, which led to heated discussions and some inspired actions around content marketing. This force us to ask is content marketing a serious thing or just another gimmick marketers have pulled from their rolled-up sleeves to make fool of their customers?
Before we begin talking about its being fashion or a fad, I would like to add here that there is nothing new about content marketing. Since always our world has been engaged in producing, disseminating and consuming content of one form or another.
The history of marketing is nothing but the history of seeding marketing message (or idea of marketing meme, if you may) in the public consciousness. The tools that were used were, indeed, different, but the essence was the same (see the infographic below to know the brief history of content marketing).
What led to the sudden explosion of content marketing
No industry has remained unaffected by the Midas touch of the Internet, but if one industry that has changed beyond recognition in the post-Internet world than it is media. In this industry nothing remains the same. And as media has always been the vehicle on which marketing engine rode, marketing also changed with it.
Now creating, delivering, sourcing, and propagating content became a lot easier and a lot cheaper. Consumers of content turned into producers gave birth to a new breed called prosumers (producers + consumers). This led to a sudden explosion of content marketing.
There are two parts to any marketing message: design and content. Design sets the tone for the discussion, whereas, content is the actual meat of any discussion (marketing or otherwise), and if you have a powerful logic-driven discussion going around your brand or category, you will be able to influence your audience to think about your brand, if not buy it. And this is what a marketer seeks from any marketing activity.
Content marketing, though hailed as the next big thing, is not new for the human race. It has always been the meat of all forms of marketing. It is just that it has shed its cloak of invisibility and has come out in open.
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