Circa 130 BC, Acta Diurna became one of the first published forms of regular news in human history – it was a Roman news form typically carved in stone or metal. Public notices, legal proceedings, marriages, births and deaths all found their way to the minds of the Roman populations through Acta Diurna. Since that time (and in some cases beforehand), public information in the format of a newsletter or flyer has been utilised throughout most civilizations. Tablets, bamboo scrolls, wall paintings, they’re all forms of communicating content.
In 1605, the first weekly published newspaper was released in Antwerp and it was called, Relation. Following that, newspapers were popping up throughout Europe, with the first English language newspaper, Corrant Out of Italy, Germany etc., being published in 1620 from Amsterdam. Then in 1690, Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestick, was released as the first newspaper in America. The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser were Australia’s first, both starting their runs in 1803.
What was included in all of these items was relevant information about current affairs, general interest, and entertainment. Content designed for the masses. The intent behind them was to inform and gain readership, rather than build links or advertise products and services. You might be thinking that this isn’t the same as marketing content. But perhaps a modern interpretation of content as a purely commercial tactic misses the bullseye of its most powerful nature. Maybe content marketing would be much more effective if it were done without the pure intent to sell more, gain a cheap link or hit certain keywords. One has to ponder.