Knowing the history of content marketing is essential to understanding its potential growth curve. Content marketing is one of the most effective ways brands have leveraged to present their stories before the audience. The term content marketing is vast, and so is the purpose of content marketing.  

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A Brief History of Content Marketing 

The history of content marketing ranges back to the 1700s. The following points elaborate on the origin and advancement of this marketing technique. 

  • 1732 – Poor Richard's Almanack gets published by Benjamin Franklin to promote his printing business.
  • 1801 – Bookstore Librairie Galignani leverages creative content marketing strategies to expand its business. It opened a reading room and printed a newspaper featuring articles from books and authors. 
  • 1861 – Samuel Wagner's magazine American Bee Journal gets launched. This magazine is published even today.
  • 1867 – The Locomotive by Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection gets published. It is the oldest company magazine continuously printed in the US. 
  • 1882 – The benefits of electric lighting come forward via the Edison Electric Lighting Company Bulletin.  
  • 1887 – Scribner's Magazine gives a sneak peek into the lives of some of the most famous authors and gets launched to maximize the sales of Scribner's books.
  • 1888 – Johnson & Johnson published Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment. It described the requirements of doctors to whom the company sold bandages. They also launched two publications as helpful articles to the medical community.
  • 1895 - John Deere publishes The Furrow. It is published even today and has a circulation of 1.5 million in 40+ countries.
  • 1904 - Jell-O distributes its free Jell-O Recipe Book to enhance sales.
  • 1930 - Radio content production begins. 
  • 1968 - The first consumer magazine to be distributed at supermarkets- Weight Watchers Magazine, gets launched.
  • 1987 - Lego's Brick Kicks magazine comes forth. 
  • 2001 - Penton Custom Media introduces the term "Content Marketing."
  • 2004 - Mark Zuckerberg gives Facebook, marking the beginning of the social media revolution. 
  • 2006 - Blendtec's first video series- Will it Blend, goes online on YouTube.
  • 2007- Apple introduces iPhone, allowing the masses to share and create content. 
  • 2008 - - a content site for teen girls, is launched. It proves to be more effective than traditional media campaigns that are similarly priced.
  • 2011 - L'Oreal relaunches as a content platform. 
  • 2012 - Joe Chernov becomes the first recipient of the Content Marketer of the Year award. Intel IQ magazine was also launched as the first digital magazine. Kraft focuses its marketing department on content, increasing its marketing ROI four times.
  • 2013 - Red Bull Media House brings 20 mini-movies. 
  • 2014 - The first feature-length, major-studio film– The LEGO Movie, debuts.
  • 2015 –The Story of Content: Rise of the New Marketing debuts a documentary film on content marketing.
  • 2016 - Arrow Electronics buys UBM's electronics media portfolio. It became the first Fortune 500 company to acquire multiple media companies. 
  • 2020 - Brands create content in many formats, and millions of content versions are published daily. Despite the age, the purpose of content marketing never seems to diminish. Rather its impact has increased exponentially over the years.

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5 Purposes of Content Marketing

Content marketing is a technique of consistently producing and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract a particular audience (target audience) with the intent of conducting fruitful customer action. The five main purposes of content marketing are as follows: 

1. Entertain 

Attention-grabbing content seeks emotional reactions from people and aims at tugging their heartstrings. It urges people to make a change or simply lightens their mood. Funny content is often highly shareable. It allows the visitors to feel connected and bridges the gap between a company and its customers. For instance, memes, videos, and several online posts serve entertainment purposes. 

2. Enlighten

Online content has been contributing largely towards enlightenment. It reaches the target audience on an equally emotional level. Celebrity endorsements, reviews, ratings, and events are various types of content aimed at inspiring people on an emotional level and pushing them towards a purchase. 

3. Educate

Educational content is more rational and less emotional. It targets the challenges faced by the audience and showcases solutions. It solves queries and satisfies inquisitive minds. It takes your content a step further and tells the readers and potential users why your product or website is worth their time. There is a plethora of educational content available for people to benefit from. 

4. Convince

Persuasive content convinces the audiences and gives them the push they require to become customers. Unlike inspiring content, this content marketing style convinces the reader/viewer via facts and figures. It addresses the rational interests of the target audience.  

5. Connect

Content marketing often aims at creating a sense of community. Social media platforms have exponentially risen to popularity as people share information, interests, and resources and feel connected to one another. It is important to make your audience feel connected to your brand or product to build brand loyalty.   

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