EDA17 Gold Blog Winner Looks at Copy Through the Ages

December 11th, 2017

The Value of Content: An Insight Into Copy Through the Ages

Tom Broome from award-winning content masters Creative Quills explains the value of content marketing and provides an insight into how copy has shaped promotional campaigns of all types throughout the ages.

Content marketing is the process of promoting a business or brand by sharing information that is educational, entertaining, insightful and of value to the reader.

You’d be forgiven for thinking content marketing is a modern phenomenon. While it’s true the internet has made it easier for companies to communicate with their customers, content marketing has successfully helped build brands and promote products and services for centuries.

In the late 1600s, a series of fires broke out across Amsterdam. Armed with just buckets of water, the fire service was largely ineffective at fighting them. Seeking a solution, Dutch inventor, Jan van der Heyden, designed and patented a new type of hose. His invention was the first to cope with water being pumped through it without collapsing. The potential for improved firefighting efforts was monumental.

Van der Heyden wasn’t just an inventor, he was also a businessman. He knew that it wasn’t enough to have a great product, but that he needed to market it too. He published a whitepaper comparing the functionality of his product to previous hoses. He then wrote and illustrated the first fire-fighting manual. Here he described in detail the fires which had affected Amsterdam, focusing on fire hazards and risks, and offering insight on fire-fighting techniques and developments.

His efforts proved such a success that all 60 districts in Amsterdam placed an order. Other regions of the Netherlands soon caught on, followed by the Dutch East India Company, who installed them on all their ships.

Van der Heyden made a fortune from the sales of his hoses, but his publications also established his reputation as an expert in the field. With his expert status, he was paid a tidy sum in consultancy fees, after being asked to set up Amsterdam’s voluntary fire service.

In 1900, the Michelin brothers increased demand for their product through the creation of a valuable resource for French motorists. Although there were just 3000 cars in France at the time, the Michelin brothers compiled a guide filled with restaurant and hotel reviews, helpful tips and advice for planning a road trip. They printed 35,000 copies of their ‘Michelin Guide’ and gave them away for free! Michelin quickly became a household name and built a reputation for trusted advice. They have continued to produce their famous guide every year since.

‘Why Ordinary Beauty Treatments Fail’ is the headline of a Palmolive print advert in 1929, but it wouldn’t appear out of place as a blog or magazine title today. The Palmolive advert explains how cosmetics can block pores, leading to blackheads and outbreaks, while giving practical advice for how to cleanse the skin to remove impurities. This might sound like common sense to us today, but in 1929 it would have been enlightening for many.

While most people understand what content marketing is, few organisations are executing it with the skill and expertise required to make an impact. For content to be valuable to your business, it must be valuable to your target audience. Identify what your customers want to know, and what will make their lives easier, then create content that actively addresses this.

Creative Quills provide targeted, meaningful content that effectively communicates their clients’ value to their potential customers.

Their tailored workshops clarify the aims of your communications and help to define clear content strategies to ensure these objectives are met.

Visit Creative Quills for more information or call 01206 585 111.


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