This is why you should stop using the word “content"

Today I said the word ‘content’ multiple times. I mentioned it when talking with colleagues about content marketing. I wrote it in a tweet. And I feel terrible about it.

That’s why I hit publish on this article - that has been a draft way too long.

We - marketers - should stop calling content just content.

Here’s why:

We never call anything that’s good “content.” Nobody walks out of a movie they loved and says, “Wow! What great content!” Nobody listens to “content” on their way to work in the morning. Do you think anybody ever called Ernest Hemingway a “content creator”? If they did, I bet he would punch ‘em in the nose.

Content production, content marketing, content is king. All those buzzwords that marketers use to describe their effort in reaching their business goals.

I feel guilty, too.

In this great HBR article, it goes on why we should rethink the way we talk and write about content.

Today, marketers need to build an ongoing relationship with consumers, and that means holding attention, not just grabbing it. To get people to subscribe to a blog, YouTube channel, or social media feed, you need to offer more than a catchy slogan or a clever stunt. You need to offer real value, and offer it consistently.

What particularly resonated with me is that marketers need to stop thinking as marketers used to think, and instead act like publishers. I know, yet another phrase.

But I think being a publisher describes what we as “content marketers” really do. We publish articles, podcasts, youtube videos to a specific audience.

To do this, brands need to start with a clear mission and think seriously about the experience they want to create. Success will not come from putting a clever spin on facts, but rather by uncovering powerful stories and telling them well.

The key takeaway here really is that we need to understand that publishing is a product, not a campaign.

Most of all, marketers need to create a compelling experience. Again, that doesn’t happen overnight. For marketers to become successful publishers, we need to look beyond this quarter’s objectives or the next campaign and treat our editorial mission as seriously as possible.

You can read the full article here.