Most marketing and PR professionals believe that content marketing is new. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
The content marketing industry itself has been around for well over 100 years. John Deere is often given credit for being a first mover in this area with its publication, The Furrow, which was originally developed (in print) in 1895. The Furrow is still produced today on a monthly basis to 40 countries and over 1.5 million in distribution, becoming a must-read by farmers over that time.
Although the industry isn’t new, the term itself is. Content marketing is now the preferred term for the idea of non-media companies creating valuable, compelling and relevant content to attract and retain customers. In the past, this could have been called custom publishing, custom media, branded content and more. Today, it’s content marketing, and it’s a huge opportunity for PR professionals who already understand the power of story.
Why Move to Content Marketing?
In the latest content marketing study from the Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, the average company now spends approximately 25% of its total marketing budget on content creation and distribution. This number will most likely grow over the next few years as more brands have the opportunity to communicate directly with their customer base, building owned channels that turn into earned channels.
But why have we seen such a dramatic shift in the way brands leverage content? Here are a few reasons why:
No Technology Barriers – In the past, the publishing process has been complex and expensive. Today, anyone can publish for free in five minutes (seconds) or less, including brands.
Talent Availability – Journalists are no longer wary of working on the client-side. At a recent content marketing workshop with over a dozen B2B technology companies, each one of them had an open position for an in-house journalist, managing editor or content marketing director. Today, these positions are being filled by journalists who have made the move from the traditional media side. This trend is just getting started.
Content Acceptance – You don’t have to be the Wall Street Journal to have your content be engaged with and shared. Consumers are making a decision on the spot as to what is credible and what is not. Brands are starting to realize that they don’t need third-party credibility to stimulate engagement with their content—they just need to set processes in place for consistently high editorial creation standards.
Social Media – Social media doesn’t work for most brands without valuable, consistent and compelling information creation and distribution. If brands want to be successful in social media, they need to tell compelling stories.
Google – Google’s Penguin and Panda updates are clear: Content shared from credible sources is the key to being found in search. If you want to be found in search engines today, it’s almost impossible to game the system without a solid content marketing strategy.
Why Content Marketing World?
Even though content marketing has been around as long as most other marketing disciplines, the industry itself, from a maturity standpoint, is quite new. Although there have been several small conferences around content creation over the past decade, there hasn't been one major industry conference where the best and brightest from the international content marketing industry gathered to meet and share until very recently.
In 2011, Content Marketing World brought together over 600 marketing and PR professionals (including 11 of the Fortune 50) from 18 countries to celebrate this “newfound” industry. This year, Content Marketing World will see over 1,000 marketers come together over three days in Columbus, Ohio, September 4-6, 2012. The event includes over 70 speakers and 45 sessions on every content marketing challenge imaginable.
Content Marketing World is evidence that content marketing is no fad or buzzword, and that a whole new profession has emerged within all brands, small to large, regardless of the industry.
Everyone talks about search, social, mobile and “the new PR," but none of those work without quality and effective content creation. It’s the “Intel Inside” for our marketing—and it’s just getting started.
Joe Pulizzi is a leading author, speaker and strategist for content marketing. He founded the Content Marketing Institute, which includes the premier international content marketing event Content Marketing World and Chief Content Officer magazine. He is also CEO of SocialTract.