If you want some insights into where the content marketing industry may be headed, it might just help to take a look at where it’s been.
As we pointed out when CMI shared its History of Content Marketing infographic in 2012, brands have been telling their stories to audiences for hundreds of years. Not to mention that storytelling itself is one of the oldest forms of communication.
While we used to consider John Deere’s The Furrow to be the oldest example of content marketing, Robert Rose and I have unearthed several more examples on our weekly This Old Marketing podcast:
1732 – Benjamin Franklin first publishes the yearly Poor Richard’s Almanack. The goal is to promote his printing business.
1801 – Bookstore Librairie Galignani employs creative content strategies to grow its business, including opening a reading room and printing a newspaper that featured articles from influential authors and books.
1861 – Samuel Wagner launches the American Bee Journal, a magazine that is still being published.
1867 – Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company debuts The Locomotive, which is now said to be the oldest company magazine continuously published under the same name in the United States.
1882 – The Edison Electric Lighting Company Bulletin spreads the word about the benefits of electric lighting.
1887 – Charles Scribner’s Sons publishes Scribner’s Magazine, which provides a look inside the lives of its most famous authors. It competes with Harper’s Monthly and Atlantic Monthly, but its goal was to generate sales of Scribner’s books.
1888 – Johnson & Johnson launches a publication called Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment that is aimed at the needs of doctors to whom the company sold bandages. The company also launches two publications to share helpful articles with the medical community.
But despite the age of the technique, the power it wields hasn’t diminished at all. In fact, examples of brands using content marketing – and the impact of those efforts – have increased exponentially over the years. That’s why we thought it would be a good time to update our infographic to include some of the most significant achievements that have happened over the past few years.