By Joe Pulizzi published February 22, 2012

The History of Content Marketing [Infographic] – Corporate Storytelling is Not New

brief-history-content-marketingContent marketing is not new.

Brands have been telling stories to attract and retain customers for hundreds of years.  The difference today is that the barriers to entry (content acceptance, talent and technology) no longer exist for brands to get into the publishing arena.

From John Deere to Coca-Cola, the power of story has never been stronger, or more important for brands and its customers.

This History of Content Marketing infographic is based on the Content Marketing World Timeline Video from the Content Marketing Institute. Special thanks to CMI’s creative director Joseph Kalinowski for making this happen.

Want to learn more about content marketing’s history — and where it’s headed next? Check out CMI’s upcoming documentary film, The Story of Content.

Sharing information is below.  Feel free to take this infographic and share it at will.


For more examples of the best of content marketing through the ages, listen to our weekly podcast, PNR: This Old Marketing, with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose.  

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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  • Barb Sawyers

    I’m confused. Isn’t storytelling one form of content marketing but not the same thing, as your subhead implies. The examples in that interesting infographic are sometimes about stories, with plots and characters, but also about how-to content. For example, the Lego magazine would probably feature both stories about kids having fun as well as articles about how to make different things. Two different forms. I’m afraid if we ignore the distinction, as many content marketers seem to, we will lose the magical effects of storytelling. I love them both, but for different reasons.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Barb…interesting point. Your LEGO example – kids stories and instructional stories…I see both as stories…one entertaining and one utilitarian. Yes, very different stories, but both indeed stories. I look at all content marketing as storytelling, told in many different ways. I appreciate the way you see it though.

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  • Limor

    Can you point out the connection between the infographic and storytelling? I can see exactly what Barb can see, I can see various platforms and content formats but I can’t see the telling part.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Limor…sure…starting with John Deere, our first example, who told stories to farmers (in magazine form) to help them better succeed as business owners. Sears told stories over the radio to help build an audience and trust. P&G started using what is now called the “soap opera” to entertain customers in a way they felt was relevant to their brand. Microsoft shares stories everyday about the inner workings of engineers at Microsoft and how customers can get the inside scoop.

      Some of the other notations, like the UK customer magazine market and my book are just milestones. But all in all, the infographic is supposed to show the progression and history of how brands have used stories (and not advertising) to attract and retain customers. Some examples, like Nike+, take into account the articles and resources that are positioned around the product (not the technology).

      I hope this helps.

  • nicky

    Hey Joe

    This is a great infographic and I’ve used it on my blog – here:

    Thanks for sharing


    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Nicky!

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  • Brad Roderick

    Joe, heard you deliver a great “story” at #OMS2012 and the info graphic really helps add context. Thank. With 25 plus years in biz development, I have recently noticed the power of stories. It’s been there all along, but we are waking up to the power of real stories vs. Sound bites and claims that all are the same. Very story is unique and different and I think (just my opinion) thats why they connect with people so well. Keep up the mission!

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Brad…really appreciate it.

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  • Stephen Bateman

    Joe, I like to give examples like yours when I speak at conferences on Content Marketing (most recently Like Minds Exeter (UK) panel discussion “are all companies publishers now?” ) and feel there is long gap between your 30′ and 80′ examples which you might like to fill with The Guinness Book of Records on which brothers Norris and Ross McWhirter, who ran a fact-finding agency in London were commissioned to compile by Guinness (Beer) MD in August 1954. One thousand copies were printed and given away. The title is now a cross media property of international repute but the original title was a marketing give away—it wasn’t supposed to be a money maker!

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Can’t believe we left that one out Stephen. Great example!

  • Stephen O’Hearn

    Hey Joe,

    Loved the infograph! I’m a huge fan of all things story. Quick question. Did you have to clear all the images with the copyright holders or were they covered under the Fair Use clause because of the educational content?


    • Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Stephen…correct. Since this is educational purposes only, we believe we are in the clear.

  • creativepile

    We love info graphics! Thanks for sharing this one.

  • Ankush Kohli

    Content history, great infographic.

  • Ram Babu SEO

    thanks joe, this is something exceptional viewpoints what actually industries were doing before in order to retain the customer’s interest, also there have been a lot change since started the way of spread content . Now social media is one such awesome platform where we must take serious steps to throw content stuff what really users or customers want to read or engage with. . .. excellent work .. i would love to embed this in my blog!

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Ram.  Please do!

      • Ram Babu SEO

        Joe it’s done here , i need a little favor from you,could you invite me a invitation to create new Quara account as there is not publically allowed to create free account in our country India on it will be kind of you, if you can do !

      • Ram Babu SEO

        thanks joe for invitation! now i am on Quara as well!

        • Ram Babu SEO

          hi Joe, hope you doing well  .. i need to ask you a Question which i have been facing for 15 days . .i created a facebook page as and it’s running fine whenever anyone tries to open this it first asks to login first then page appear WHY .. where the same my is running great without any issue . .i shall be very thankful to you. . !

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  • Mukhtar

    your links to infographics don’t work – not first time

  • Kaushalam

    Content marketing could be a new term but it was being done from 4200 B.C. The old but still prominent tool for marketing. Text, images, visuals, graphics, infographics, are the part of this tool.

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