Are you leveraging your KPIs in a way that sets you up to win your market’s low-hanging fruit? Do your best practices reflect the kind of thought leadership your team is ideating? Do the preceding gibberish-stuffed sentences send you into a white-hot rage?

Congratulations. You work in content marketing. 3-marketing-terms-fiery-death-2014

This industry is just like any other: we traffic in jargon and shorthand that outsiders just don’t get. But then, there are those buzzwords and phrases that we run into the ground. Sometimes they’re misused; sometimes they’re made up; sometimes they don’t mean anything at all.

But they all have one thing in common: they’re played out. We need to stop using these terms and come up with ways to say exactly what we mean. The goal of content marketing and promotion is to provide people with useful, easy-to-share content. That mission starts at home—and we all have an obligation to be clear and plain in our dealings. So, here are three of the terms we need to toss onto a fire in 2014:

Content is king

How many times have you read or heard this phrase in the past year? Hell, in the past week? Of course, content is the name of the game, our raison d’être —but the adage has sailed past cliché and into parody. As our industry moves toward focusing on content promotion and distribution, it’s important to remember that relationships are just as important as the content we market. We must concentrate on the message behind the content, and the connections we make as a result of how that content performs.

Thought leadership

“Thought leadership” is a legitimate and useful phrase—it identifies a person or group that has earned authority or expertise in a field or area of study. But too often, at conferences, on blogs and on industry websites and in meetings, being a thought leader has come to signify volume rather than valid knowledge. The person with the loudest voice is a “thought leader.”

It’s time for content marketers to think about influencers and the largest social sphere as target audiences, as well as voices to listen to. Who are the people writing, promoting and strategizing content plans? What kinds of talent live in agency Creative teams, and how can companies use those team members to chart a course to success? Those are the people driving the direction of our industry. We should listen to them. Consider knowledge sharing instead of thought leadership to guide your campaign creation efforts.


Here’s what’s vexing about “ideation”: the word implies a magical process by which marketing plans are born, conjuring winning advertising concepts from thin air. And the creative element of marketing is integral to a campaign’s success: here at DigitalRelevance, our Creative team works hand-in-hand with our consulting teams to craft solutions that are perfect for our clients and their customers.

But without research, ideation can go spectacularly wrong. Poorly researched ideas can lead to misreading an audience, like JP Morgan did when they attempted (and abandoned) an ask-and-answer session on Twitter. Research is the foundation on which effective creative campaigns are built. Without it, brands risk missing new customers and losing current ones.

The content marketing industry moves quickly, which means that language and terminology move quickly as well. It’s time to retire or repurpose some of our most used words and phrases—for the good of the industry, and for our sanity.

Image credit: Kyota Tanaka

Sharmin Kent
Sharmin Kent is the Content Marketing Coordinator at DigitalRelevance. In addition to editing and contributing to the DigitalRelevance blog, she also drives content creation efforts for the brand.
Sharmin Kent
Sharmin Kent

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