How Printers Helped To Create Content Marketing
First, a quick story on one of these hot ‘new’ marketing topics illustrates how what’s old is new again. The new guise I’m talking about is “content marketing.” According to Wikipedia, content marketing refers to the “creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers.” To this end the content marketer delivers “consistent, valuable information” to the prospective and current customer through a wide variety of media.
I’ll wager that you immediately think ‘online’ when you hear ‘content marketing.’ Even Wikipedia mentions the use of “news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos,” and more, most of which are delivered digitally. Yet often in cases like this the only thing that’s new is the media (how it’s delivered.) The underlying concept is, you’ll see, as old as the hills.
It’s interesting that the evolution of printing technology itself—better and faster ways of putting ink on paper—gave rise to the original content marketing in print. Here are some classic examples.
Jell-O® began distributing free cookbooks, recipe pamphlets and samples door-to-door in 1904 in an effort to lift sluggish sales. Of course these included dessert recipes that promoted their product. Orator Woodward, the owner, originally purchased the rights to Jell-O® for $450 a few years prior. Frustration with slow sales prompted him to offer the product rights to the plant superintendent for $35 when he decided to try this no-name method of marketing. By 1906 they were doing $1 million annually, or about $25 million in today’s dollars, thanks to content marketing in its printed form. (No, he did not sell the rights!)