The Content Marketing Word Of The Year?

Michael Brenner on Nov 19, 2014 in Content Marketing

Well if you haven’t heard, Oxford Dictionary has released their annual “word of the year.” After 2013’s word of the year selfie, the 2014 word of the year is vape.

The word is short for vaporize and also comes in verb form (vaping). It means ‘to inhale and exhale the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.’

Some of the runner-ups were contactless, (relating to mobile phones and payments) and slacktivism, (supporting a worthy cause with little or no effort such as signing an e-petition), and budtender, (the person who dispenses marijuana at a dispensary.)

So hearing about all this got me to thinking:

What’s the content marketing word of the year?

We all know Content Marketing is hot. But as The Onion reported earlier this year, content could be hotter, more social, relevant, and digestible.

Now, aside from the phrase content marketing itself, we have many choices for content marketing word  or phrase of the year:

  • Brand publishing
  • Native advertising
  • Storytelling
  • Thought leadership
  • Content strategy
  • Sponsored content
  • Editorial mindset
  • Journalistic content
  • Consumable
  • Shareable
  • Snackable
  • Digestible
  • Always-on

And the list goes on. (Please add your own favorite in the comments?)

Cowards Hide Behind Semantics

I’m actually not going to pick which word or phrase should be chosen as best or most relevant or hottest buzz phrase.

Because I believe that cowards like to hide behind semantics. The word-obsessed folks among us (I’m sure you know one or two) use their knowledge of a topic and their fear of change to divert attention away from the thing we need the most: listening, understanding, empathy and emotional connections.

Or they like to use their semantic nit-picking as a way to interrupt really just about anyone who might be talking, in a passive-aggressive game of “I am smarter than you.”

I don’t care what words you use to describe content marketing. If you believe marketing has a marketing problem. If you know that marketing is more than just promotion and advertising. If you believe in your business’ mission and want to help your customers, then use whatever words you like.

Marketers of every size and shape are finding that the answer to reaching customers in today’s always-on, socially-connected, attention-starved world is to create content people want.

The Future of Content Marketing

Last week I presented on a NewsCred webinar on the future of content marketing. I talked about how marketing has always used great storytelling to connect with people.

I talked about how we are becoming a much more visual society, scanning information for the details we need in less than a second.

I used some stats and research and graphs to show that content marketing is all the marketing that’s left. And my focus for the future of content marketing was for brands to be:

  • Informative
  • Visual
  • Shareable (and snackable, consumable, digestible, and always-on)
  • Entertaining

But I don’t think any of these should be content marketing word of the year! I just know that your audience wants stories, not ads. And I hope to help you give it them!

So check out the presentation below. Or just follow the top 5 strategies for content marketing success.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.
Showing 12 comments
  • Mary Jane Kinkade

    Very creative and a great read! Thanks so much!

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Mary Jane. It was one of those posts where I had no intention of writing what I did but had a little bit of inspiration from the “word of the year” announcement and it gave me some idea on where to go. Thanks so much for the encouragement and support.

  • George Guidotti

    End-to-end seems to be a happening marketing phrase I hear often.

  • Mael Roth

    You have good ones in there! “shareable” is probably one of my favorites. Truth is, there are so many words which came into play this year (and everybody tries to make it a thing) that I have a hard time trying to remember other ones.

    Great read 🙂

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Mael,

      I agree. And every large business has their own lingo. I remember when I started at SAP, everyone was saying “what’s the ask?” and “that’s not my KPI!” and I thought they were all crazy at first. Now everyone uses those terms although I still dislike them.

      I’m guilty of throwing these around to try and get anyone who will listen to jump on board the content marketing revolution. I think we can do better as an industry, in reaching our audience.

      And I’m honored to have your support! Thanks my friend.

  • Erin

    Awesome article! Just FYI, The Onion is a satire news site.

    “We all know Content Marketing is hot. But as The Onion reported earlier this year, content could be hotter, more social, relevant, and digestible.”

    Not sure if that was intended as a joke or not.

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Erin and yes, I was totally, 100% being sarcastic and playing on The Onion’s satire of the buzzwords being used about content marketing.

  • Anne Janzer

    In the ideal world, the content marketing word of the year would be “empathy.” Thanks for this post!

    • Michael Brenner


      I couldn’t agree with you more. Empathy is the secret to successful content marketing. I think I even wrote a post about that somewhere on here 😉

      Thanks so much!

  • Chris Cuhsnick

    You’ve given me a lot to digest. Very inspiring. Thank you for all you have given me today in this article.

  • Steve

    Glad to know about such interesting information about content marketing. was not aware that content marketing can be explain with so many phrases.

    And the word “Vape” is new to me. Good to know the meaning of it as well.

    An awesome read for sure. Thanks for sharing.