The ‘Content Father’ Joe Pulizzi is currently getting very passionate about one of the hottest trends in content marketing right now:

‘A focus on terms and getting them right’

His current beef is that the term ‘branded content’ is giving content marketing a bad name.

At first glance this could all seem like an exercise in pedantry. But focusing on how something is described is actually a critical piece in any strategy.

Before looking into the practical applications for b2b content strategy, let’s take a real world example.

Terminology can help win any strategy – even political strategy

In the UK right now there is broadly a political battle between two camps:

Anti-austerity and pro-austerity.

I’m no political strategist but I can’t help thinking that a focus on terminology could transform the pro-austerity movement. Why have those on the right of the political divide not challenged the terminology? Something along the lines of:

What you are calling ‘austerity’ we call ‘reality’. There’s no money left so we have to deal with the reality of the situation.

A simple one word change in terminology could transform everything.

Imagine the difficulty in recruiting people for an ‘anti-reality’ march on the streets of London?

A political campaign focused on changing the terminology could change the whole political debate.

(Disclosure: I lean to the left of the divide so it does pain me to point this out).

How could changing the terminology transform your content marketing?

I’ve spent many meetings with marketers who get nervous about budget justification for their content creation and promotion efforts.

Quality content costs. An editorial calendar with line items listing blogs, infographics, videos, slideshares etc., can look like an expensive list of outputs.

So don’t label them as outputs. Change the terminology to focus on the outcomes.

In the world of ‘purposeful content’ everything is created for a specific purpose.

What’s the purpose of an infographic? To be discovered by target audiences.

So it’s no longer a infographic, it’s a ‘discovery asset’.

Changing the label paints a whole different picture:

  • What is it for? To be discovered by people we want to engage with.
  • What will it do? Become an asset. An asset that will produce long term yield in the form of new audiences, qualified traffic, conversions, leads and revenue.

OK, we all know it’s still just an infographic. But an infographic with an entirely new context.

Assumed knowledge is dangerous

As marketers we are guilty of assuming people actually get this stuff.  If it’s a choice between making it snappy and explaining what’s actually happening, I’m always attempted to go for the long form, much as I love a trendy acronym…

Changing the terminology from ‘content marketing programme’ to ‘content marketing and lead generation programme’ has produced many moments of clarity when finance directors are in the room.

Why not start terminology change with job titles?

The move to structuring marketing departments like publishing departments can’t happen overnight. But job titles can change overnight.

SEO Manager to Content Optimisation Manager

The SEO manager will argue quite rightly that content optimisation is just one part of the job.  But this new job title instantly paints a different focus. A focus on producing high value content first and satisfying search engines second.

Social Media Manager to Community Manager

A subtle but important change in mind set. Listening to and building an audience rather than just looking after the plumbing in Hootsuite.

Chief Marketing Officer to Chief Content Officer

That would put a marker in the sand about the strategic focus of the marketing team.

Terminology has always mattered

You either describe the people that pay the bills as clients or customers and that’s a cultural legacy within the business of how you think about them. The label assigned says a lot:

  • A client is with you for the long haul – an evolving relationship based upon trust and understanding.
  • A customer is with you for a one-off transaction.

Relabelling forces a rethink. And in most cases a repositioning that can lead to dramatic improvements.

How much more potent does the ‘Financial Conduct Authority’ sound compared to the old ‘Financial Services Authority’?

Why not add a terminology review to the list of 2016 priorities?

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