The birth and evolution of Content Marketing

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In recent years, the term Content Marketing or "content marketing" is on everyone's lips. But what exactly is it? Where does this discipline come from? For some, it is only a word plugged in, yet it has a solid past and persists over time. Since the 19th century, brands have been telling stories to market their products instead of promoting them directly (storytelling). But despite its success, Content Marketing is gradually falling into oblivion since the appearance of the Internet …

Content Marketing, the historical discipline of marketing

At the time, when the Internet did not exist, it was difficult to broadcast an advertisement quickly to a large audience. It is for this reason that Content Marketing is not a contemporary form of Marketing. Brands have been telling stories for centuries to create attractiveness and desire for possession.

John Deere, for example, founder of the American company Deere & Company, published his customer magazine "The Furrow" in 1895. This entrepreneur aimed to stimulate the demand for tractors by transmitting his know-how on new technologies. He demonstrated how it was possible to farm more efficiently with the tractors he was selling.

The first example of European Content Marketing dates back to 1900 with the famous Michelin Guide. With an initial print run of 35,000 copies, this 400-page guide was distributed free of charge to French motorists. By providing many tips on tire changing, nearby petrol stations, or gastronomic recommendations (starting in 1926), the goal was to encourage motorists to drive more.

At the initial stage, Content Marketing was still in the form of Corporate Publishing: publications were distributed free of charge to potential customers. For Jello-O, Kraft Food's dessert brand, she recognized the importance of the needs and interests of her clients. That's why she released a free cookbook in 1904 showing recipe variations with Jello-O products. In the 30s, Procter & Gamble managed to reach a large audience through radio. To capture the attention of the audience, the brand has created stories of everyday life while including promoting its products such as Duz or Oxydol. This is how the term "soap opera" was born.

Subsequently, more and more content was created by consumer brands such as Carambar with its famous jokes from 1969. These create a moment of entertainment and are different from the competition.

Degradation of content since the appearance of the Internet

From the 90s, after the Internet benefited from its widespread launch, the first companies began to use static websites as a digital business card. Many brands have invested with the sole purpose of demonstrating their presence on this new media. And with the sharp increase in the appearance of websites, search engines were gaining more importance. Without a search tool, it had effectively become impossible for the user to find the information sought.

The first, Aliweb (Archie-Like Indexing of the Web) appeared in 1993, followed by Yahoo a year later, and was easily manipulated by webmasters. This is how SEO or "Search Engine Optimization" (SEO) has taken root. This discipline takes into account all the free techniques to optimize the positioning on the search engines. Then in the 2000s, brands developed structures that allow them to create as much traffic as possible at a lower cost.

To achieve this goal, they resorted to the flaws of the algorithms of the search engines. The more a site matches the entered query, the better its positioning. Thus, methods to manipulate the relevance of the results have been created. These include link farms where a large number of links to the site (backlinks) are created automatically.

Other methods also favor the ranking to the detriment of the user as the duplicate content which consists of reusing an identical text in several places on the site. There is also the accumulation of keywords to increase the probability of being ranked first among the search results. Reading these texts, with a keyword density of up to 10%, is actually not pleasant to read. Most webmasters have only favored the art of bypassing search engine algorithms. The needs and expectations of the user have rarely been taken into account.

The rebirth of Content Marketing under the influence of Google

The beginnings of Google date back to 1995. Quickly, this search engine was recognized for its ease of use, which gives the company an inevitable success. However, Google realized that its algorithm did not conform to its vision of " […] organize information globally and make it universally accessible and useful To deliver the most relevant results at the time of a precise search. In 2011, it officially announced the establishment of a continuous improvement system to fight against poor quality sites. The first update, Panda Update, impacted 11.8% of searches. According to Juhan (2015), Google has so far released thirty-seven updates known as Google Panda Update and Google Penguin Update.

Google has a strong impact on the evolution of the Internet since it is the most complete and most used search engine. In December 2014, 93.5% (source: AT Internet) of searches in France were made using Google. With its approach to downgrade poor sites and exclude deceptive sites from its index for a while, it has completely revolutionized the Web.

A query with Google Trends demonstrates the value of the search term "content marketing" globally in relation to the use of " Google Panda Update »And« Google Penguin Update Between 2004 and 2015:

The evolution of the search term "Content Marketing" according to the updates of the algorithm of Google, Source: (19/07/2015)
The evolution of the search term "Content Marketing" according to the updates of the algorithm of Google, Source: (19/07/2015)

As the holder of the monopoly of search engines, Google has a power inescapable. Being punished by Google means for a brand a significant loss of revenue source. A recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute (2015) reveals that 86% of B2B companies and 77% of B2C companies use Content Marketing. The new algorithms reward good content with a good ranking.

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