Content Is A Lousy Word For Something So Important.

Content. The word stems from the Latin ‘contentum’ (plural contenta) meaning ‘things contained.’ As in, “here’s a box, fill it with some stuff.” Or, more to the point: “Here’s a website, fill it with some words, pictures and video.” When the IT world began integrating with the marketing communications world some years ago, both sides rushed […]

Content. The word stems from the Latin ‘contentum’ (plural contenta) meaning ‘things contained.’ As in, “here’s a box, fill it with some stuff.” Or, more to the point: “Here’s a website, fill it with some words, pictures and video.”

When the IT world began integrating with the marketing communications world some years ago, both sides rushed to create new terminology for new tools and new thinking. Technology folks, unaccustomed to the craft of marketing, simply saw the need to ‘fill’ technology tools with words, pictures and video. You know, content.

Now, a business generation (or two) later, the term has stuck.

Unfortunately, use of the term ‘content’ necessarily positions the thing being filled as more primary than the stuff with which it’s being filled. Worse, it drives thinking that starts with the ‘holes that need to be filled’ and works backward to figure out what said holes need to contain.

Convoluted at best, this tool-first mentality has helped degrade strategic thinking on just about every marketing and communications front.

I don’t blame the IT world. To their process-driven way of thinking, ‘content’ is the perfect term.

But I do blame the marketing world. That marketers would allow their organizations to treat directional purpose, position and message as mere ‘content’ is to say the very least, disturbing. That they would begin the effort to build a tool, or platform without the foundation of solid positioning and messaging, is unprofessional.

Content advocates, you’ve won the battle of creating a term that marketers use. But at our firm, we’ll fight to the end to leverage the value of what true positioning and messaging can achieve. That it must be the very first link in the marketing value chain. That it is more primary and critical than content.

Because for our clients, it’s a war worth fighting. And winning.


Cohesion is a Positioning & Messaging Consultancy

Since 1999, Cohesion has focused on the development of positioning, messaging and strategic narratives for a wide range of Fortune 500 and many smaller organizations. Ours is the business of marketing direction: a strategic niche different from research firms, marketing agencies, design companies and digital shops. Our highest value is at the very beginning of the marketing value chain.

Whether for complex, large-scale corporate brand development, or for the most basic positioning or messaging assignment, we work to build longer term consistency and momentum. For more information, contact Brian Creath, president, at 314-276-5383, or at bcreath@cohesioncompany.com.

Leave a Reply

Submit