Content Marketing has a lot to thank the magazine industry for. It is a great model to base your businesses content marketing on, let me explain what I am talking about.
The History of Content Marketing
Most people would think content marketing has been around only a short time, that it is a recent invention and something for the digital age. But this is not true. Content Marketing has been around for over 100 years and was often seen as a great way to really engage with your customers and add value to their lives (This might sound familiar for those who have read Jay Baer’s Youtility).
The history of content marketing really starts with magazines like The Furrow. It is a customer magazine that has been published by the John Deere corporation since 1895. It is now available in more than 40 countries and in 12 different languages, this is widely considered one of the earliest examples of content marketing. The truth is, though, that that magazine was not alone when it came to content marketing.
In 1900, Michelin Tires released a 400-page guide geared at helping drivers maintain their cars. It covered basic maintenance, accommodations, and other travel tips. After 35,000 copies were distributed for free, the company began selling the books for a profit. Did I hear someone say Youtility?
In 1904, the Jell-O corporation began distributing free copies of its own cookbook that suggested creative and useful ways to use its own product. Before this time, Jell-O was basically unknown and unused. After just two years of content marketing, the company saw it sales rise to over $1 million dollars per year.
The history of content marketing is rich, and brimming with stories of success. It includes companies like Nike, Sears, Lego, Sherwin Williams, Hasbro and Proctor & Gamble. It isn’t new. In fact, it is one of the oldest, and best, tricks in the marketing playbook.
What Does This Have To Do With Magazines?
Well if you were to behave like a magazine publisher you could offer some real great Youtility and deliver some fantastic content marketing to help your customers.
All popular magazines have a publishing calendar they work to. It is expected that every month your magazine will land on your door brimming full of interesting articles and helpful advice. So this means that as a business you need an editorial calendar so all your activities are planned and delivered to your customers Inbox, Twitter stream, Facebook feed or whatever deliver medium you are using.
You will also notice that most magazines have themes for each edition. This can be a really helpful way to plan your content, you can break down your business and each can be a theme for each edition of your magazine. This will also help stop them being samey.
By using this method of being a magazine you also refine the content you are creating much more. You really need to think about who your audience is and what they want to see in your magazine. Having an article from Muscle Car Magazine in CLEO would not work (well not for everyone anyway). So you need to know your audience before you create your content. You can then create great content for this audience.
So when you are thinking about your content marketing for your business, just think to yourself – “If I was in the magazine business what would I do.”
If you need help planning your content/editorial calendar give me a call. I am happy to help brainstorm some ideas and get you started!