Top 10 Content Marketing Buzzwords the Pros Are Using

This year’s Content Marketing World conference offered more than pep talks from industry leaders, story swapping with fellow practitioners and the requisite tote bag. It also served as a window into current trends and, especially, the jargon content marketers are using. Here are the top 10 terms used at this year’s conference. As you will see, some are not so new—just back in fashion.

  1. “Experiences” Lots of chatter surrounded the idea of “experiences.” The conversation ranged from remarkable content enabling amazing experiences to amazing experiences enabling remarkable content. Whichever way you look at it, you’ll hear this word used a lot more. According to Content Marketing World Chief Strategist Robert Rose (@Robert_Rose), “The more positive experiences we help to create with our customers, the more likely they are to become subscribers to our brand.”


  1. “Quality” In the debate of quality over quantity, it sounds as though the tide has turned in favor of quality content. There was general agreement amongst attendees and speakers that we don’t need more content—we need more relevant content that builds trust with consumers. After all, you don’t want to be a “Selfish Social” said @unmarketing’s Scott Stratten. A Selfish Social is someone whose “content doesn’t contribute to the social ecosystem. It doesn’t offer value; it only reacts in response to messages received.


  1. “Ethics” Here’s a word we don’t often hear associated with marketing, but native advertising and other content practices have touched a moral nerve. “Don’t try to be first, be right first,” said one speaker. “Journalism ethics should be the guide of content marketers.” Along with ethics, words like “authentic,” “genuine” and “real” flowed freely in and out of presentations.


  1. “Emotions” The theme song for Content Marketing World could have been the 1975 classic “Feelings.” Nearly every speaker touched on this idea. There was talk about needing empathy to initiate a response from consumers; making an emotional connection to cut through the clutter; and developing experiences that make people feel. One presenter even quoted Maya Angelou to drive the emotional point home: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


  1. “Storytelling” Storytelling is not a new buzzword. In fact, everyone talks about being a storyteller these days. (Check out this video for more. Warning: strong language used with an Austrian accent.) This time, the talk around storytelling was about what makes a good story. The answer? Emotion. Actor Kevin Spacey (@KevinSpacey) gave an awe-inspiring keynote on the power of storytelling. He said, “The audience has spoken. They want stories. They’re dying for stories. And if you give them what they want, they will talk about it, carry it around with them, share it, and enjoy it with a passion and an intensity that blockbusters can only dream about.” Case in point is Spacey’s amazing address. It received the most mentions on social media of all conference presentations and is still being shared on the Internet.


  1. “MOI” Everyone loves a good acronym, and Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping and energetic keynote speaker, did not disappoint with MOI, or Moments of Inspiration, which he connected to another favorite marketing acronym: ROI. “People don’t love your product,” Davis explained, “They love what it adds to their life.” Creating moments of inspiration will eventually lead to a return on investment. We just need to be smart about creating these MOIs by telling a story that is bigger than the brand.


  1. “Strategy” OK, strategy might seem like an old word, especially for content marketers who have been at it for a while. But as Joe Pulizzi, Author, Epic Content Marketing, pointed out in his opening address, “Effective content marketers are far more likely to (1) document their strategy and (2) follow it closely.” While this seems like a “Yeah, duh” finding, Pulizzi went on to say that only 64% of effective content marketers closely follow a strategy. Clearly, there’s lots of room for improvement.


  1. “Brand Attachment” This notion was introduced by JoAnn Sciarrino, a University of North Carolina professor and one very sharp content marketer. “Brand attachment is the emotional connection between people and brands,” she said. Using linguistics, big data and social media, Sciarrino was able to measure this attachment, and found that the correlation between emotional attachment and sales is about 7 times stronger than other metrics like Facebook “likes” or “shares.”


  1. Brandividual” This mash-up of “brand” and “individual” has been around since 2009, but it surfaced again during Lee Odden’s (@LeeOdden) Content and Influencer Marketing presentation. “A brandividual is someone who is popular. An influencer is effective at creating popularity,” Odden said. It’s an important distinction for marketers looking to use influencers to create and/or amplify their content. Marketers often get tripped up by a brandividual’s large fan or follower base. “A true influencer is probably a niche thought leader,” Odden went on to say. “They are the best answer for a specific area.”


  1. “Google Trends” What would any buzzword countdown be without Google? One speaker touted, “Google Trends is one of the most helpful, underutilized Google tools, and it’s free.” And no, the speaker wasn’t from Google. Countless presenters mentioned how they use this handy tool to strategize, plan and deploy content. A quick search of “Google Trends” on Google Trends backs the claims. Its interface is user-friendly and makes finding correlations between trends fairly straightforward.

Only time will tell which of these terms will still be around at next year’s conference, but as content marketers continue to redefine how they talk about their work, there will almost certainly be new additions to list.

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