The term content marketing has actually been around for a number of years. However, if you used Google Trends to track how often those two words have been typed into search engines, you would see little or no growth in usage throughout the 2000s. Then a slight uptick began around 2009, and by 2011, usage of the term had begun to skyrocket. (see graph below)
What does this tell us? First, it indicates that interest in this form of marketing—that is, offering consumers quality, credible, educational content in order to build trust and potentially create new customers—is finally in the spotlight. Although content marketing has been around since the late 1890s, more businesses (especially B2B companies) are interested in this approach now than ever before. Search results also indicate that all kinds of businesses and organizations are interested in content marketing.
But let’s look a little closer. What was happening between 2009, when some interest was noted, and 2011, when searches for this term really started taking off? The U.S. economy was in the midst of a very serious recession. As the economic outlook picked up, businesses began to reevaluate how they do things, looking for new ways to become more efficient and more effective. This applies to marketing as well.
In fact, the downturn served as quite a wake-up call for many businesses. They realized that their traditional marketing methods were simply not working as they used to—and were also simply far too costly. Using the old cliché, most B2B businesses I spoke with said they simply were not getting enough “bang for their buck” using the marketing venues they had used in the past.
So, it is no coincidence that content marketing garnered attention as the economy picked up. Businesses were looking for new ways to get their message out, and content marketing was at the top of the list.
Need help with PR, communications, or content marketing? Don’t be a stranger. Robert “Buzz” Kravitz is president of AlturaSolutions, which offers traditional PR/Communication services along with content marketing and search engine optimization programs specifically for B2B industries. Contact him at www.alturasolutions.com