Content Management is Just More Jargon

Content management content marketingHave you noticed? The terms “content management” and “content marketing” are all the rage this year.

The Content Management Institute shoots me an email everyday with different posts on the topic, some of which I find quite interesting, and it also offers free seminars on the topic.

What’s the Big Deal?

Copyblogger, considered one of the pre-eminent social media sites on the planet, sells Scribe, a content marketing software program that enables “smarter content creation.”

It describes content marketing as “creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.”

Social Media Examiner held a session entitled “10 Content Marketing Secrets That Will Propel You Beyond the Competition” at its Social Media Marketing World summit last month. I confess that a guest blogger wrote a post on this site a few weeks ago about content marketing and I wrote one, too..

Does it Matter?

Content management seems to matter to a lot of people who are marketing – content management! The term is already becoming a new form of jargon in the social media space (jargon).

Here’s the thing. Content marketing doesn’t seem to be on the radar screen (cliché) of other mere mortals. For the heck of it, I searched the term using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool and found an underwhelming 27,167 searches (in the U.S.) for content marketing and 167,000 for content management. That’s decent but not sterling for one of the hottest topics in social media this year.

Now let’s look at a topic close to my heart: blogging. “What is a blog” and variations on that phrase get 20.4 million searches a month. A blog, as you know, is all about “creating and sharing valuable free content,” to use a phrase from Copyblogger.

Avoid Using Jargon

There is a lot more interest in creating content with a blog, which is a mature content creation tool. Those of us who work in social media are using jargon that doesn’t resonate with the very prospects we’re trying to reach. Mea culpa. If you re-read the definition of content marketing, all it’s about is good writing that attracts the attention of prospective customers. It could be a blog or content shared on a social media network.

Wow, that’s revolutionary. To be serious, we all need a common vocabulary in business to communicate with mutual understanding. It may be OK to use the terms content management and content marketing if you’re talking to someone else who toils in social media.

Ask the average CEO (actually I have asked a few) and he will tell you he isn’t searching for the term content marketing and doesn’t know what a Twitter “handle” is. For all we know, those 27,000 searches were by people like me in social media.

Content management and content marketing are just more jargon. Do you agree?

Leave a Reply


  1. I agree. We create new catch phrases or words everyday that are just a different way of communicating a tried and true method of doing business. It does help to be aware of and know them, so that you can communicate on the same levels as others in the business. Just my thoughts. 🙂

    • Susan — I agree that within the social media community it’s helpful to use a common vocabulary. But some people are treating comment management and marketing as sort of a Second Coming. It’s simply a new name for something everybody’s been doing all along — creating content that stimulates some sort of a desired response on the part of a target audience. But who am I to fight City Hall?

  2. I agree and disagree on this one. Content marketing at its heart is about good writing, but I’ve come across lots of great messages that have lousy packaging. Text is no long just text. It’s all about the medium the message is delivered in.

    • Jeri — you make a valid point. Everything has to come together, the words, the pictures and the proper channel.

  3. Your article brings up two pet peeves of mine. One is adding marketing to every tactic such as content marketing or Facebook marketing. You never heard anyone say television advertising marketing or radio advertising marketing. The problem of adding marketing to all these tactics is it doesn’t take into account all the other elements that are involved in marketing a product or service.

    I think your article brings to my mind that the industries are focused on what they sell so they use jargon where as customers are focused on achieving outcomes or goals. The other pet peeve is the over and incorrect use of the word strategy.

    • Susan — I love the examples you give. It’s the old story of concentrating on what WE want and not what the customer wants. I agree that strategy is overused and when people talk about strategy they are often talking about a tactic (an activity that helps to carry out a strategy).

  4. New buzzwords are going to come up all the time, and then eventually some become part of mainstream language and aren’t buzzy any more. Content marketing makes sense as a phrase once you know what it’s referring to, so I think it’s fine to use it between other marketing professionals. But the actual content of what you are saying always has to be in a form that the average person can understand, otherwise it’s useless.

    • A.K. — Maybe someday content marketing won’t be jargon — or a buzzword anymore and we’ll just accept it. But content will always be about good writing no matter what you call it.

  5. Years ago, before there were any blogs but the web did exist in full force, I wrote on my website that I was a content developer. I got into a conversation with someone who wanted to know what that was. I realized it was an ambiguous term and not useful to post, so I took it off.

    If you are talking to someone who knows all about content marketing, then by all means, use the term. But if your target audience does not, then talk to them in their language. Easier said than done, of course.

    Good definition you wrote: ” creating content that stimulates some sort of a desired response on the part of a target audience” – so say if using the term to someone who may not know.

  6. Amen! As a former journalist, I began my career in public relations 20 years ago. I am and always will consider myself a writer. Whether I’m producing content, copy or an article, my clients only care that my work is clear, relevant, and brings results.

    • Lucinda – we’ve traveled similar paths. I, too, began my career as a business reporter and then moved into public relations. Now I’ve come full circle and I’m back to business writing. Communication, or whatever you call it, is all about good writing.

  7. Brilliant post and comments, all of them.

    Jargon is an issue in EVERY industry so why would social media be any different.

    One of the issues for me is how suspect it makes me of the social media “experts” or “gurus.” Isn’t it common sense in marketing that you would WANT to speak the language your prospective clients are using to find solutions to their problems?

    Yet they aren’t walking their talk? Geez.

    Aren’t we really just talking about valuable and relevant content versus advertising and spam?

    Thanks for the reference to the – Content Marketing Institute. Sounds like it’s worth a peek.

    • Pat — You’re right. Why aren’t communications professionals (and that’s what we all are) using the language of their customers and not more jargon only they understand?

  8. Back in the day, it was called Public Relations. Unfortunately, the less strategic or effective practices of that discipline were the proverbial bad apples, so we started calling it something else. And then again, something else, and then again…

    It’s always been about putting an organization’s message in front of its constituents that results in them buying something, saying something, thinking something, or doing or not doing something. If calling it Content Marketing or Content Management will strategically, creatively and effectively deliver results, then have at it.

    • Susannah — having spent my entire career in Public Relations, I am sad that people look for euphemisms because PR has gotten such a bad rap in the press. I guess content management or content marketing are more terms to hide behind.

  9. Jeannette,
    I was smiling and nodding my head in agreement with you as I read this article. I’ve often wondered what people meant when they’re talking about content marketing. To me, the term implies that you’re selling content. It’s strictly jargon. As for the term content management, I’ve always assumed that was derived from CMS (content management system) which really means more to programmers and techies than anyone else. When you say CMS to me, I immediately think of Drupal and Joomla which preceded WordPress in popularity. (I still have one client whose site runs on Joomla.) I believe that it may have been after WP became the preferred CMS software that we started to see an overuse of the terms.

    • Sherryl — you’re quite right. The term CMS was first coined by the technology industry. I always refer to WP as a content management system — not to be confused, of of course with content marketing and content management!

  10. I can see the pros and cons of both. PR has definitely gotten a bad rap, especially in the more recent years, but ultimately I agree that these are more terms to hide behind. Keeping it on, what I like to call, “front street” is definitely the best way to go. It’s funny though, that a blog is described as being free content. I can see why it would be, but to me (as a creative) it’s always been a creative/marketing tool. Heavier on the creative with a light spread of marketing. 🙂

    It was good to read your blog again, Jeannette.

    • Hi Dennis — welcome back. Always good to hear from you. I enjoy reading your posts because they are so creatively written. Of course, blogs are also a marketing tool, which I’m glad you pointed out. As I’ve often said, a blog is the centerpiece of a company’s social media strategy in reaching its customers and potential customers.

  11. Thanks for your comment, Karnal. Yes, if the jargon is unfamiliar to your target audience, why use it?