The Evolution of Content & Content Marketing

by Deepak Kanakaraju on December 7, 2014

This article is a chapter from my book Content Marketing for Startups.

Evolution of Content & Content Marketing is the most important chapter in this book. Here, we take a look into the evolution of language, communication, memes and content. It is important that we take a moment to understand the evolution of content. Understanding content from the ground up helps us become masters in content marketing and helps us get an edge over our competition.

Old paper, ink and feather on wooden background

I am going to turn back the clock by a few thousand years where humans mostly lived in tribes as hunters-gatherers. I will show you how content came into existence. We will find out why content is the epicentre of marketing and how marketing couldn’t exist without content.

How Humans Dominate Planet Earth

When we watch Discovery channel, we can obviously see that there are hundreds of species bigger, stronger and faster than us. But in the end we are the ones dominating planet earth.

That’s because the ability of other animals, fishes and birds to think and think collectively for their own good is limited! Language & communication among individual minds is a key enabler in our ability to think collectively.

We can communicate with each other so well that we become a whole new organism. Each human being becomes a small part of a big system. We call this system – civilization. We formed tribes, kingdoms and countries with this ability. Everything is built with language and communication as the foundation.

Language & Communication Evolves into Content

Language is a powerful tool, and it connects human minds. But for most of our history, we had only real-time verbal and nonverbal communication.

Humans understood that communication cannot be limited to the present moment. Ideas and concepts should be able to transcend time and place.

There has to be a medium through which content can be “recorded” and “played back” again.

That’s when Memes originated. Memes are the earliest forms of content in human history. They originated after 10,000 BC.

A meme is “an idea, behaviour, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena. – Wikipedia

Written form of communication (Content) evolved from Memes and is the driving force of civilization & human development. We still pass on ideas from one mind to another but in a more efficient way.

“The invention of writing enabled complex societies to arise: record-keeping and libraries served as a storehouse of knowledge and increased the cultural transmission of information. Humans no longer had to spend all their time working for survival—curiosity and education drove the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.” – Wikipedia

Today, In the digital world we have advanced medium to distribute content such as blogs, videos, podcasts, ebooks and so on. When technology enables us to store and transmit information in a faster and easier way, it directly impacts the speed of our evolution.

Useful Content Attracts Attention

Content has been a key component in human development and an enabler of civilization. But there is another key feature of content that interests a marketer. Content attracts attention.

Even the simplest forms of useful content attract attention. For example, the following cave drawing communicates the idea that men could hunt deers with spears. This was probably the first form of content recorded through the medium of a cave wall.

ancient cave painting

For a tribe in 5,000 BC, this could be a very useful idea. They may never have thought about the fact that one could use spears to hunt down deers. People are going to pay attention to it.

Now imagine, if someone makes spears all day for a living, how and where could he sell it? He can set up his small shop in front of the cave with the unique drawing, and he would be getting targeted customers to look at his products! He will sell more goods than a person who is selling spears somewhere else.

He will make effortless sales because he is selling it to the right people, at the right time at the right place. That’s the unfair advantage of content marketing even in 5,000 B.C. 🙂

Simplifying Content Marketing

The very purpose of this chapter was to simplify content marketing.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Anyone can present a complex plan for content marketing with 100 different tips, tricks, strategies and flow charts. But such tips and tricks fade away with time and are not useful with the changing landscape of marketing.

Fundamentals and basic concepts never change. If you understand the basics you can develop your own strategies and tactics on demand. That’s why I have tried to make it simple first before building on it.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein

Content Marketing in Two Steps

  1. Attract the attention of target customers using relevant, useful & quality content.
  2. Use that attention to convert prospects into customers through interest, desire and action.

Content and the Marketing Funnel

Content marketing wouldn’t make much sense if it does not fit into the well known marketing funnel AIDA. (Attention, Interest, Desire & Action).

Content is a tool to attract attention of prospects. However there is no use of attracting attention (generating traffic) if that attention cannot be used to convert prospects into customers.

aida funnel

That’s why this book is not just about attracting attention with content but also about converting prospects into customers. Here’s a glimpse of what you will find in this book. The book is divided into two major parts Attracting Attention & Conversion.

Part 1: Attracting Attention

  • Identify your target market, know what your target market wants to learn or read about
  • Create content and publish them in different formats, promote your content to reach your prospects

Part 2: Conversion (Interest, Desire and Action)

  1. Convert your first time visitors into leads (interest generation)
    • Generating Leads
    • Different Types of Leads
    • Lead Scoring and Segmentation
  2. Nurture your Leads (intensifying desire)
    • Drip Email Marketing
    • Content Marketing for Existing Leads
  3. Convert Leads into Customers (triggering action)
    • Sales Pages, Landing Pages & Copywriting
    • Inside Sales

Now that I have shown you the road map for content marketing, it is time to start walking down this path. I have gone down this path a few times and I believe I am totally capable for guiding you through it. Let’s start our journey to reach content marketing stardom. Are you ready?

deepak-handsig

#Leveraging Content For Profits

P.S. If you liked this chapter you should read my book: Content Marketing for Startups.

cmfs

 

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew December 7, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Hi Deepak, excellent outline of content marketing and digital marketing. I really like how content becomes an attraction tool in the AIDA funnel. Looking forward to read the other chapters.

Reply

Deepak December 7, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Hi Andrew, thanks for reading. Fitting content marketing into the AIDA funnel come to me after I started writing the book. I really like the way how it unfolded! 🙂

Reply

kishan patel December 10, 2014 at 10:14 am

hi deepak,
you have hit the nail , starting from starting , the connect of communication and how its more important now and how simple it should be its not about a powerful presentation or jargon’s or complex words, but something simple for the brain to understand and implement , thats what your first chapter does, this is one of the most simple way to explain and i am already loving your content. way to go and give a new ” languaging” to the digital world, as then only its a trend and then only people will follow .

kishan patel
9374050153

Reply

Deepak December 10, 2014 at 10:20 am

Thanks for the comments. I am glad you found it interesting. I will let you know when my book is out. 🙂

Reply

Raj December 10, 2014 at 10:51 am

Good Start Deepak,
well the idea is refreshing and exciting too,
good going……….
Will be waiting for your book to learn more.

Hopefully you will also release a eBook format too.

Cheers,
Raj

Reply

Farokh irani December 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Hello Deepak, Very interesting.nicely written..the conversion should be more in detail because todays marketing is all about attracting but really how does the conversion happens? Some practical references will work.

Good job by the way. 🙂

Reply

Deepak December 10, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Thanks for the feedback. Yes, this chapter is only about the attraction part. Conversion part is going to come later. That’s what the remaining chapters in this book is about 🙂

Reply

Guy December 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Deepak,

Looking forward to reading more on your book. Content marketing is a big deal. I do have a question for you and that is how is content marketing different than the concept of developing great creative 20 years ago to maximize TV returns. Is content marketing just the development of great creative, except for a different set of platforms?

We’ve found that the best marketing ROI always comes from the best creative content regardless of platform. There’s good content for Radio, TV, Billboards. Now it’s digital and social. Is content marketing the same but different?

I look forward to your and your group’s thoughts.

Reply

Deepak December 10, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Hi Guy, I believe with content marketing you can publish helpful and useful content. For example, I brand myself as someone who knows digital marketing well by writing articles on this blog and publish YouTube videos on my channel. The benefit of digital medium is that I can get more bandwidth for communication in the digital medium which was not possible in the traditional media channels.

If you could host a 1 hour TV show to give something useful to your audience, then that’s content marketing. But problem is that it will cost a lot and sometimes impossible to get a 1 hour show. Also such content will not be shared in the social media to attract more similar prospects. Hence, more often than not, content in the traditional media was limited to ads (which are mostly entertaining, shocking or just a communication of product existence and benefits) and was limited to 30 seconds to 1 minute. Both are content. But digital medium helps us publish useful content at almost zero cost and attract attention of our prospects.

Do you think what I said makes sense from your experience?

Reply

Guy December 11, 2014 at 4:10 am

Deepak,

Interesting perspective. It looks like your definition is more B2B, where you want more written, technical content. How does this apply with Dove hand lotion or Red Bull? How would a lot of written content help those brands?

Reply

Deepak December 11, 2014 at 7:41 pm

We can publish content that attracts the target audience. For example, American Express has openforum.com which attracts the target audience and it brands their product. The articles/content is not necessarily related to credit cards.

Reply

Marcus Harding December 10, 2014 at 11:26 pm

You book sounds very interesting and addresses a sizeable audience including myself. Very relevant and thanks for sharing the content with me. Happy to review and come back if I have any thoughts. It would be more from a general writing perspective instead of comments on the subject matter accuracy etc (given I’m new to CM and I’d look to learn from you)

Reply

Kyle December 13, 2014 at 6:33 pm

HI Deepak, I like how you distill to the basic components. Sometimes we get lost in the maze, and can’t we where we are going. As simple as each step is in theory, to satisfy each “requirement” of each component, we need intense understanding of what generates interest, what intensifies desire and what triggers action. Those details are elusive and what I am constantly trying to figure out.

Thanks for your book preview. Look forward to reading the entire publication. I wish you the best of luck and hope you sell millions!

Reply

Rahul December 13, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Its a nicely written piece which takes you from how content was being used in ancient times and how it has evolved which requires use of Digital mediums using AIDA methodology.

Reply

Ankita December 13, 2014 at 6:51 pm

I really like how you’ve simplified and correctly communicated the advantage of content marketing through the spear seller example. This could be a great aid for beginners.

Reply

Satya Das December 13, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Hi Deepak,

Your starting was quite informative for the beginners and helpful. By the way looking the word “Content Marketing” in the era of Digital Media as the prime resources of marketing, we can not avoid the resources which are available to us for Content Marketing.
Keeping in our mind about the updates coming from Google, we are very much concerned about the placement of keywords, relevancy of the content along with the keywords and algorithm of marketing resources which may not be different for different goals of content marketing.

I have started my online marketing career with content writing and then marketing along with my IT skills selling to the clients which I provide till now. But the passion of Digital Marketing made me to find out the strategy, plan, resources and achieving the goal.

Good going Deepak and will be interested to have a look at your Book.
My best wishes with you friend!

Reply

Ritesh Sharma December 14, 2014 at 8:46 am

Dear Deepak,
It is an excellent writing technique and very well defined for a new comer in Digital Marketing. You have started very beautifully and kept the concept gradually within the frame. I like your writing skills and the way you download the funda to others is great. I am eagerly waiting for your book to publish.
All the Best.

Regards,
Ritesh Sharma | 9673993869
Director, 3RI Technologies, Pune

Reply

Gopal December 15, 2014 at 9:54 am

Hi Deepak,

I went through the same. It looks excellent. As a startup and un aware about the content marketing it would be very helpful.

But you may have to come up with details how it can make a difference in their marketing plan.

As you know today it is not about information scarcity… it is overloaded and you have too much of it. How we can tackle that and utilize the same to benefit the startups without a huge budget to allocate.

May be more on it would help to give inputs.. good work keep going.

REgards,

Gopal
9900582314

Reply

Deepak December 15, 2014 at 11:39 am

Information overload is an important topic to address. Thanks for the comment. I will make sure I include a chapter about avoiding info overload in my book!

Reply

Vineet December 16, 2014 at 8:33 am

Hi Deepak,
Nicely written article. Marketing is key for sustaining and growing businesses. As businesses are getting more and more accessible for consumers in a digitally interconnected world, we need the tools, ideas, insights like these to advance digital marketing. I look forward to reading the other chapters.

Reply

Deepak December 16, 2014 at 11:56 am

Thanks for reading Vineet, I will keep you updated when my book is released.

Reply

Dwarika Tripathy December 17, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Hey Deepak,
Sorry for late response on your post. Had a tight schedule and could not read it in once. I must say, it is such an awesome post that you have created and I am overwhelmed with id. It explains not just about the content thing but your journey through it.

Proud of you.

Thanks
Dwarika

Reply

Deepak December 17, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Thanks a lot for reading!

Reply

Samaresh Biswal December 18, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Hi Deepak, in a very simple language u have put forward your veiws . Eagerly waiting to read more chapters.
Regards
Samaresh

Reply

Pooja Nayak December 20, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Hi Deepak,

I compliment you on the way you have effectively communicated this topic clearly and in a compelling style for those in marketing role. Your outlook will be very useful for anyone engaged in growing their business through content marketing. I look forward to reading your book soon and good luck with this endeavor .

Reply

Deepak December 20, 2014 at 10:01 pm

Thanks a lot Pooja.

Reply

Victor De Bene December 22, 2014 at 1:17 am

Hi Deepak, you are off to a great start in The Evolution of Content & Content Marketing. I think a lot of people sometimes make their content marketing strategy too complex and are disappointed when they don’t receive the desired outcomes. I think your content marketing simplification method would be useful and can be applied for both customer aquisition engagement. I look forward to reading the chapters ahead when you are finished!

Reply

Deepak December 22, 2014 at 7:39 am

Thanks a lot for the comment Victor. I will keep you informed about my launch.

Reply

Nainesh Poojary December 22, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Hi Deepak,

Hope you are doing well.

Thanks for sharing your work. Your start is simple and fantastic, hope you’ll continue in the same way. The index looks awesome, waiting to read more!

Let me know if ‘content distribution & partnership’ can be part of this, or this can be your new book idea!

Thanks!

Nainesh Poojary
Digital Advertising Operations Manager, News Corp.
10 Anson Road, #32-08 International Plaza, Singapore 079903
+65 9005 7747
npoojary@newscorp.com

Reply

Deepak December 22, 2014 at 2:16 pm

I will definitely be including a chapter about content distribution. Thanks for the comment.

Reply

Vijay Sankar December 22, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Hi Deepak,

Great start! looking forward to reading the book. I liked the way you banked on history to introduce content marketing…

All the best

Regards,
Vijay

Reply

Deepak December 22, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Thanks Vijay. Will keep you posted on the launch.

Reply

Naveen | planetnaveen December 23, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Hello Deepak,

Enjoyed reading your chapter 1. I think it provides solid stuff about creating content and conversion.

Again, times are changing and definition of ‘content’ has taken a radical twist and shape. People consume content in different formats i.e.. video, images, audio, info-graphics, What’s app messages. A modern content marketer should keep himself aligned to these developments and position himself right.

Above all these formats, one thing reigns ; Quality stuff. That’s the platform upon which everything is either built or collapsed.

Thanks for offering to read the chapter from your book. All the very best !

Reply

Tejas Chaudhari December 23, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Hi Deepak,

I have started following your posts recently only. I have found your content very helpful and insightful. I have read on digital marketing for last 2 years but your content has really stood out. You have gain a permanent admirer. Recently, me and couple of friends were in process of shifting to self-hosted website (current: cricket361.wordpress.com). That day itself we received your article on how simple and important it is to move to self hosted domain. Things worked out and we have purchased the domain and in few weeks will be out with cricket361.com.

This article beautifully explains content marketing in a very simple yet effective way. Looking forward to the entire book. Congrats!

Regards,
Tejas Chaudhari

Reply

Deepak December 23, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Thanks a lot Tejas. I am glad that I could be of help! 🙂

Reply

S Gandhi December 27, 2014 at 8:51 am

Deepak, great insight about the origins of content. I look forward to reading the rest of the book.

Reply

Arun January 3, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Hi Deepak,
It’s a compelling opening chapter on a very relevant marketing aspect. I work as a product marketing manager in one of the bigger IT companies and there’s been this hullabaloo about ‘snackable content’ for quite some time. Irrespective of this, large process driven organizations, which are not quite as nimble as the start ups, often find it difficult do the ‘content dance’ in a timely fashion as they’d like to. While I’m really interested in understanding how start ups can do effective content marketing, I’d like to know your thoughts about bigger companies as well.

Reply

Ritesh January 6, 2015 at 10:57 am

Outline the different content types – written vs mutlimedia (video, etc) and how marketing these would be different even if following the same framework (AIDA model).

More importantly, form a practical perspective highlight how the attention is drawn or Interest of a customer gained. Illustrate with examples.
Mention not only how but why content goes viral? So, how can a small time entrepreneur / blogger make his / her content go viral. How to measure ‘interesting’ aspect of content? When would you say a reader / audience /spectator / browser is ‘engaged’ beyond clicks, likes or comments?

You may have covered some or more of these in your book, but then I just read the first chapter!

Reply

RAMESH SHETTE June 8, 2015 at 8:38 pm

I WANT TO BUY YOUR BOOK PLEASE CONTACT

(9773962396)

Reply

Shubham August 8, 2015 at 10:01 am

Good start, I liked the example taken from the stone age and also the AIDA funnel example is helpful.
Thanx

Reply

trainerslisting August 10, 2015 at 7:46 pm

good insight on creating content that is necessary to pull traffic and aids in user engagement

Reply

Venkateswaranmz August 14, 2015 at 9:50 am

I tried many times to get this article as ebook . I hope there is the problem . But i will more satisfaction when i read your blog than did’t get ebook . . So thanks . . Really interesting your blog content . .

Reply

Santosh September 6, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Hello Deepak,

The article is well structured and I’m sure it will provide clarity to many aspiring trainers queries and doubts.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: