Content Marketing has developed in different ways across the decades; with a variety of advertising, marketing and PR methods devised to communicate and promote messages in the most direct and effective way possible, in different eras.
Promotional content developed from the press release and other forms of offline marketing and advertising in the 20th century towards online content such as blogs, social media and optimized web copy as we moved into the 21st century and now has evolved further into podcasts, vlogs, infographics and UI web design etc. as we diversify communication methods in this decade.
The type of varied communication channels that are used to disseminate a message in the modern era reveal how audiences are ever more keen to consume information in a variety of formats. This is particularly relevant in the digital world, where everything is so fast-moving, and consumers soon get bored with one style of communication.
Marketing or advertising is inherently designed to grab peoples’ attention and there is no better way to do this than to devise a variety of visual, audio and written methods to get a message across. A marketing message really must stand out to be effective in today’s world, where people are bombarded with so much visual and written information.
It is not to say that marketers weren’t keen to diversify their methods of communication in the past, however. They were simply restricted to the marketing channels that were available in a pre-digital era. Don’t forget though, a marketing method is only as modern as the era it was used in!! The telegraph and the poster were once highly prized methods of communication!
Let’s delve back into this world of past communication channels, because we can learn a lot about how content marketing works and see how these methods are still relevant today. The poster, for instance, has been a direct tool of promotion and even propaganda in the past, and is still a popular advertising tool in the modern world.
Think of the advertising bills that used to be posted on walls and lamp posts in the Victorian era and early 20th century, advertising everything from household goods to theatre shows. Or the propaganda posters in World War 1 and 2 that really drove home their message in a simple yet clever way.
Small posters developed into the large advertising posters on billboards that would turn heads with their clever campaigns, remember some great examples in the 1990s?! In the 21st century, this advertising method has moved towards digital billboards, with moving ads designed to catch our eye, that change every few seconds.
In terms of non-paid promotional tools, the press release was the communication tool of choice for decades. This piece of written content was designed to gain free coverage in magazines and newspapers and more recently on websites, allowing companies to promote their products or services in a way that did not read like paid advertising.
Written by a company’s communication department or their external PR agency, the press release would describe a new product or service and would be sent to the relevant trade press in the hope of coverage. It would often gain this coverage, whether the whole article or just part of it, if it was well written and relevant to the publication…or sometimes when they had a slow news week or a gap in their editorial that needed filling!
As magazines and newspapers have increasingly moved online, the written press release has become a little less relevant. Although they are sometimes still written and emailed to publications, who may now include them in the online and offline versions of their magazines and newspapers. Or simply on their website if they no longer produce paper copies of their publications.
Of course, once the internet and websites became part of our everyday lives, it was natural that forms of communication would evolve. In order to fill websites with up-to-date content, as well as voice expert opinions on subjects, the blog became a popular promotional tool. It is a good way to draw people to websites and make sure companies and their products or services stay relevant in their customers’ eyes.
The written content of a website, i.e. its webpages, is also highly important in the marketing of organizations. Well-crafted, direct copy that gets the message across effectively on each page of a website is essential. Expertly written website content is key, in order to prevent readers from losing interest and leaving a website quickly.
Within this written content there need to be keywords and other search engine optimized (SEO) content that brings relevant potential customers to a website. SEO can help websites rise up the rankings so that when a person searches a word or term in a search engine, the website is seen in the list of search results.
SEO is a craft in itself and must remain subtle in order for a website’s written content to read well and be authentic. For example, if a website sells books, then ‘books’ would be its main keyword. However, the word ‘books’ should be used sparingly and in different formats throughout the website, in order to prevent the webpages from reading badly and being too transparently promotional.
We can’t mention the word promotional of course without thinking of the communications phenomena of the 21st century that is social media. Used to promote both businesses and people, it is the free form of advertising and marketing that has taken the world by storm.
Different social media channels enable different types of content to be posted, which allows companies to diversify their methods of communication. Photographs, videos and written content suit different social platforms and the more types of content a company posts, the more they ultimately reach and attract different audiences.
Audiences demand new and interactive types of content from companies these days. This is why vlogs and podcasts have become popular in the last couple of years. In a fast-moving world, people want fresh and exciting ways to consume a message. The more ways in which companies can spread their brand offering and knowledge, the better their marketing will be.
Combining words and images can also be a great way to make a marketing message more interesting. For example, infographics illustrate facts and figures in a visual way using words and graphics. Image is also important in UI website design, where the focus is on the website users’ visual experience. With a UI website design the visual interface needs to be functional but also easy-to-use and pleasurable, what else would a modern connected audience demand after all!
So, as we can see, there are many tools in a modern marketer’s box that can be used to promote companies effectively and to a wide audience. To find out more about these marketing tools and how Mulberry Marketing Communications can elevate your company’s marketing, contact us today.
Kate Fox is a Copywriter at Mulberry Marketing Communications. An award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in London, Chicago and Melbourne. She has extensive experience creating written work that finds interesting ways to make B2B content, personal.