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Is your content working for you? Take a trip down content memory lane to inform present and future business decisions.

"Content marketing is all the marketing that's left," said marketing legend Seth Godin. But is your content working for you? We're here to take a trip down content memory lane to learn from the good and bad habits of the past to inform present and future business decisions.

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Pre 1900s

Content Emerges

Benjamin Franklin's annual journal promotes his printing business (1732) and The Edison Electric Lighting Company Bulletin' (1882) is the first published work to promote electric lighting. The first 'proper' content came about 1895 when brands began talking to customers rather than selling to them and content was designed to be genuinely useful. Some of these early initiatives are still around today, including The Michelin Guide (1900), which helped drivers maintain their cars.


Content needs to be genuinely useful. Why should your reader care? We can help you develop audience personas to create quality content that resonates.

1930s - 1985

Advertising takes the reins

Content marketing took a step back as the era of advertising came to life, driven by branded content. Proctor & Gamble pioneered radio content in partnership with clearning brands – hence the 'soap opera' comes about. By the 80s, content was making a comeback and Hasbro partnered with Marvel comics to create a G.I. Joe comic book (1982).


Content marketing and advertising need to learn to work hand-in-hand. We can help you connect your marketing strategies to your wider business strategy. Ask us about multi-channel marketing.


The Internet Age

The World Wide Web became publicly available. It was received without fanfare and most people didn't know what the internet was. Mosaic, one of the first browsers, is credited with making the internet mainstream.


The First E-Book

The very first piece of content to appear online was an e-book published by O'Reilly & Associates, who created the first commercial website. The e-book was a guide to the internet and paved the way for businesses to create content and publish it online.


Guides are still valuable today, so create content that responds to user questions and needs. Use Google's Keyword Planner, Google Trends and even predictive search to see what users are looking for around different topics.


Content is King

Bill Gates wrote 'Content is King' in 1996 and he was bang on the money. The 90s brought with it software and the internet, heralding the modern era of content marketing.


Content marketing is more valuable than ever, now costing 62% less than traditional marketing and generating about 3 times as many leads. (Source: DemandMetric)



The term “content marketing” came about in 1998, the same year Microsoft launched the first major corporate blog. A journalist decided to report on a story by blogging about it, and blogging became mainstream when Blogger was launched in 1999.


Don't underestimate the power of blogging today. The opinions of bloggers are becoming akin to those of traditional media and building relationships with bloggers can boost advocacy for your brand.


Growing Pains

There are more content marketers and more content being produced than ever before. At this time content is primarily written and journalists steer away from traditional outlets. Quality is either outstanding or awful and writers find it difficult to talk about the needs of their audience.


Content has to meet audience needs and ROI should be front-of-mind. Use social listening to discover what your audience is talking about and create content tailored to these conversations, then amplify in the space where your audience is most active.


eBooks become valuable

Seth Godin wrote the most downloaded e-book of all time, 'Unleashing the Ideavirus', which marked a turning point for content marketing. Godin was essentially giving away free advice in his ebook to get people talking about his business.


Modern audiences seem to be more responsive to the soft sell of content, so choose your channels and approach carefully.


How To

'How to' articles were appearing on the internet and it wasn't long until bloggers' opinions were regarded as credible.


Insight: How To content is forever valuable as users consistently search for answers to problems online. The most searched How To terms of 2015 included 'How to register to vote' and 'How to use the new Snapchat update'.


Social Media

MySpace lit the fuse of the social media boom, later being overtaken by Facebook. Over time, Facebook transformed from a website for college students to a platform that connects people to friends and, crucially, people to businesses.


Organic reach isn't enough for businesses on Facebook. Make the most of great content by putting it in front of the right people with Facebook Ads – you can spend as little or as much as you like.



The first viral video from a company made headlines. LiveVault, an IT company, used a video featuring actor John Cleese and it went on to receive 250,000 downloads in a few months. This was the start of video marketing as we know it. Shortly after this video, YouTube launched and is now the second largest search engine in the world.


Don't be afraid to try new methods. Aim to capture your viewer within 10 seconds and always do a trial run when experimenting with live video. Be sure to use subtitles for videos appearing on social media, where 80% are played without sound.



Everyone is on the content bandwagon. By 2010, 88% of all brands were using content marketing. New developments, like the universal adoption of social media, enables constant sharing of content and a serious level of noise for marketers to cut through.


Relevancy is key. What is your audience searching for and what are their needs? Speak to us about search and trend insights for your brand and industry



Google's Penguin algorithm called for quality content that people would want to share. This called in a huge influx of infographics, with volume for the search term 'infographic' increasing by 800%!


Content needs to be high quality in-line with Google Penguin in order to rank well in search.



The definition of content marketing continues to expand, with brands behaving more like publishers and millennials retracting to 'privatised' social media platforms. Poor content will suffer in search rankings and more time and money will be invested in content. Interactivity, integration and personalisation must become second nature to brands while irrelevant content will become the ultimate marketing no-no.


We can help you stay ahead of the game when it comes to content marketing. Get in touch today.