Content marketing is not a new idea, but a marketing action dating back to late 19th century…

For years brands have been building interesting stories around their products in order to attract customers. According to a content marketing expert Joe Pulizzi, the difference today is the lack of three basic barriers, which did not allow companies to present storytelling to wider public.


First, we stopped setting the bar too high for our publications. As Joe Pulizzi says, you don’t have to be The World Street Journal to make content published by you gain recognition and engage readers. Second, journalists’ attitude to the work in non-media companies has changed. Today, editors and writers are ready to cooperate with brands in creating valuable content for their publishers, you can no longer talk about the stigmatisation of journalists’ work for non-media companies. The last, third barrier was broke thanks to technology and the accessibility of modern distribution channels – anyone can publish articles on the Internet without making much investment.

The beginning of content marketing is naturally the printed media, but it developed along with mass media. The first custom magazine appeared as early as 1895, when Irishman John Deere published “The Furrow”, a monthly for farmers advising on how to increase profits. The magazine, now available also on tablets, is still very popular.
During the next century more and more companies were deciding to publish their own magazines for given groups: some successful examples include a cookbook by Jell – O, a guidebook by Michelin and “G.I Joe” comic book (yes, that’s also content marketing!) created by Hasbro Partners in cooperation with Marvel. Brands did not wait to use new technologies and the Internet for spreading their content: new websites popped out, social media profiles, blogs, applications, videos etc. which were gradually transferred also to mobile platforms. All forms were linked, creating a coherent communications system.

The-Furrow-1931By the year 2001 as much as 20 billion dollars were spent on custom content. At the end of the first decade of the 20th century an average company devoted nearly two million dollars annually to creating and distributing content. Today, more than 80 percent of companies use content marketing, allocating in it 25 percent of their marketing budgets. In the case of the most effective marketers the number is up to 37 percent. The value of global customer publishing market is growing each year, now amounting to over 44 billion dollars (research by Custom Content Council and ContentWise).

The term content marketing started to be used in the beginning of the 21st century more often, replacing the the term custom publishing, which brought to mind mainly printed publications. Since 2007 the term content marketing has become widely used in the sector.

The 20th c. saw the appearance of organisations, now acting dynamically, that gather custom agencies from all over the world, as well as develop and promote high standards for content marketing publications. In 1993 there emerges The Association of Publishing Agencies (now Content Marketing Association), and five years later – USA-based Custom Content Council. 2007 saw the formation of the International Content Marketing Forum – international body representing the best practices in global customer publishing business. In 2010 there appeared the Content Marketing Institute – a centre for regular research in content marketing, providing educational content for marketers. Since 2008, Poland has its Content Marketing Poland Association (formerly Custom Publishing Association) setting and promoting high quality standards for publishers.

View animation: development of content marketing till 2012