Thursday, April 19, 2018

Why Some Content Producers Hate the Word ‘Content’

There’s a growing discontent among bloggers over a simple word most of us have used without thinking twice about it. The word is ‘content.’

Does the word content, when used as a noun to refer to the ingredients of your blog posts, bother you?

Apparently, it has become a thorn in the side of some bloggers and writers. Take, for example, this line from a recent article in The Kernel:

Demeaning to both ourselves and our trade, it makes us feel like Miss World contenders forced to register with the taxman as strippers.

I’m not one of the people who are so bothered about the word.

Here’s the thing about ‘content.’

Some blog posts contain text. Some contain song lyrics or poetry. Some contain images. Others contain video or podcasts.

And some contain a combination of any or all of the above.

They’re all legitimate ingredients and there has to be a satisfactory word we can use to encompass all of the parts that make up the whole when it comes to a blog post or the website we call a blog.

The word content seems to serve as a good umbrella title for the various types of media that make up a post or a site.

In my real job, I’m a digital content manager. That means I manage the various types of the aforementioned ingredients on a professional website. It might be text, it might be images and slideshows, it might be video and it might be interactive elements. No one in their right mind would come up with a job title like “digital text/image/audio/video/graphic manager.”

The whole argument is absurd.

It’s even more absurd when you consider the fact that for years, bloggers have been urged to develop and continously refine their “content strategy,” the approach they take to best optimizing their blog for the audience. Part of the “content strategy,” we’ve been told, includes attention to “content marketing,” particularly on social media where we can find a bigger audience to attract to our blogs with the right kind of posts. And as they’ve refined their strategy, they’ve happily loaded more material — in whatever form it might take — into services like WordPress, Blogger and other “content management systems.”

We didn’t object to the word content then, did we?

And we certainly didn’t object when anyone embraced the phrase, “Content is king” as a rallying cry for bloggers to keep their audience in mind as they produced posts that were more user-friendly and useful.

I’m not bothered by the word content the way some people apparently are. I don’t see it as demeaning and if you refer to the “content” of my blog — at least some of which I genuinely hope you find useful in one way or another — I’m not going to be offended by your use of that descriptor.

In the grand scheme of things, it ranks extraordinarily low on the list of things that rank as pet peeves in my life.

Perhaps the main reason comes down to this: if you somehow ban the word content, what are you going to replace it with? And then how long will it take for that word to become the object of the same scorn? After all, no matter what word you come up with as an alternative to content, you still have to call it something.

If you are offended by the word ‘content’ used to refer to what’s in your blog, what word would you prefer and why?

Leave a Response

Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.