Brand Publishing Buzzword Awards

Jessica Black co-authored this post.

Brand publishing was one of the big trends of 2013, and you know what marketers love to do with trendsbuzzword it!

Yes, for every great piece of branded contentfrom Chipotle’s The Scarecrow to GE’s everythingthere seemed to be a buzzword terrorizing us from the wry pages of Digiday to the illustrious business section of The Times.

It’s time to give these brave cliches their due, high-school-yearbook style.

Prom King— Content

(See what we did there?)

What it is: If you listen to a lot of marketers, pretty much everything. Ideally, though, it should be limited to actual pieces of media. Let’s leave the banner ads dressed up as tweets in the limo.

What to watch out for in 2014: A pushback against the vagueness of “content,” and some new/awful buzzword that connotes “quality content.” Quontent? Oh no, I’ve created a monster.

Prom Queen— Native Ad


What it is: Ads that mimic the style of the sites where they are placed; also known as “good advertising” and “half the content on Buzzfeed.” Native ads took off in 2013, as publishers pursued new revenue streams and advertisers tried to find new ways to connect with consumers. It worked!

What to watch out for in 2014: Heading into the New Year, native ads appear to be mobile advertising’s only hope. As a result, opportunistic ad:tech folk are trying to “scale” native ads, which would render the term meaningless. It isn’t native advertising when you cram a link to sponsored content into an IAB ad unit, people. That’s called display advertising, and it wouldn’t win Prom Queen if it gave everyone a free cruise. (Instead of, you know, promising one and stealing your credit card. Sorry, I’m still bitter.)

Most Misunderstood: Engagement

What it is: From the looks of it, nobody knows anymore. We’ve seen everything from page views, to shares, to accidental clicks on content-related display ads described as engagement. We’re about two weeks from a marketer proposing to his girlfriend, filming her reaction, putting it in a deck, and trying to pass it off as ROI.

What to watch out for in 2014: Smart people finally taking ownership of the term and creating a set of true engagement metrics for branded content.

Most Likely to Succeed  — Brand Newsroom


What it is: The group of people and processes that allow brands to create engaging content quickly and efficiently. C’mon, did you really expect us to pick anything else?

What to watch out for in 2014: Every agency office in the world claiming that it’s now a “brand newsroom”; it’s only a matter of time before one of them gets really confused and orders 1,500 typewriters. Smart brands, though, will build ones the right way.

Best Dressed – Immersive Experience


What it is: A visually dynamic web page designed to engage the reader with images, videos, gifs, and multilayered text; a way to trick millennials into reading long form content. Also knows as the “Snowfallification” of digital storytelling.

What to watch out for in 2014: Everyone suddenly waking up and wondering: Wait, do readers actually prefer this? They may not.

Most Annoying— SoLoMo


What it is: Social-local-mobile technology and content; a term used by “thought leaders” who just woke up from a two-year coma.

What to watch out for in 2014: “pcommerce” and “advertainment” fiercely competing to win next year’s trophy.

Class ClownSlog

What it is: When brands use Tumblr to host their blog, post 60 animated GIFs, and think they’re innovative geniuses that have tackled all their social and content marketing in one fell swoop.

What to watch out for in 2014: Some brand getting sued when their “slog” gives someone a seizure.

What are your awards? Tell us @Contently on Twitter.

What’s the deal with the Content Strategist? At Contently, storytelling is the only marketing we do, and it works wonders. It could for you, too. Learn more.

Image by Pavel L Photo and Video /
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