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Content Marketing is Older Than You Think – And More Popular Than You Imagined

It may be the hot topic of the moment, but content marketing has a long and storied history involving the creation and sharing of content to sell goods and services for consumer brands. This practice has been amplified and made more effective with new media distribution channels and new social networking services.

The convention is as old as the first caveman grunting a story to a friend while selling him a spear. It matured in 1895 when John Deere launched its own magazine advising farmers how to make more money (while using the company’s products). It matured again with the advent of mat releases to promote brands while sharing tips in newspaper stories; and once more when TV commercials emerged as mini-movies telling tales rather than hammering home promotional messages.

Jump ahead to today’s Internet age and social media has thrust the phrase “content marketing” front and center. Consumer brands can now use print, TV, radio and their own websites, as well as social media services like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to shape their stories and infographics – and more importantly to get media audiences to share them on their behalf.

Today, almost 90% of consumer marketers are using some methods of content marketing, according to a 2013 study by the Content Marketing Institute.

84% of them report they running articles on their websites. Interestingly, 61 percent are also running such articles on other websites that they don’t control.

But what you say as a content marketer, how you say it, and where you say it can be the difference between a successful campaign or one where nobody knows your brand’s name, let alone why they should become customers.

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