It’s that time of year. When we look back and try to learn lessons from our mistakes and omissions of the previous 12 months, and resolve to make improvements in the year to come. And, boy, do I have some work to do.

So, let’s get to it – my New Year’s Content Marketing resolutions:

I resolve to dive deeper. We’re pretty proud of the content we produce here at Scribewise, both for our clients and for ourselves. We bring a journalistic ethic to information gathering, writing and delivering articles. But we can do better. We can go deeper on bigger topics. And by doing so, we’ll be serving the audience better, by providing them more meat on the bone, more in-depth analysis and different viewpoints. We’ll be able to drive more meaningful conversations. We know that those conversations help to build trust between a brand and its audience, and that’s what it’s all about.

We’re not saying that we’re going to just ramble on for 3,000 words all the time, but we do want to dig into some bigger issues. There’s still room for shorter content; no question about that – but those deeper dives, done well, are simply more valuable to the audience. And that makes them worth doing.

I resolve to slap anyone who uses the phrase “piece of content.” Argh.

I resolve to stop writing “content marketing lessons from ______” posts.  This post convinced me how ridiculous it’s gotten, but I’m definitely guilty myself. A lot of the time, we’re writing the same thing over and over, and just plugging in whatever pop culture moment is going into that blank. It’s kinda tedious.

I resolve to launch a podcast. Finally. A friend has been hounding me to do this for at least a year, and he’s right. I mean, I worked in radio for close to two decades. So, stay tuned.

I resolve to keep pushing for a tighter definition of content marketing. If the definition is too broad, and everything becomes content marketing, then nothing is content marketing. It’s just marketing. Which might be where we’re ultimately headed, but I think it’s important to draw a distinction from what has historically been a purely promotional exercise.

The Scribewise definition of content marketing was: “The creation and distribution of journalistic, audience-focused content that helps people do their jobs or live their lives.” 

However!

Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose lambasted me on their podcast a few weeks back over this definition (Episode 50), pointing out that the word marketing isn’t in there. And I realized they were right (we had a good email exchange over this). To be fair, I always deliver this definition within a marketing conversation, but still, we’re making an assumption. So, here is our new and improved definition of content marketing:

“The creation and distribution of journalistic, helpful, audience-focused, content that ultimately increases customer acquisition.” 

The word journalistic raises the bar on quality by implying a more rigorous approach to content creation, based upon research and interviews. Some disagree that content marketing should be journalistic, but we believe that raises the bar. Helpful is a more concise way of saying it’s useful to the audience, whether B2B or B2C. Audience-focused takes out the self-promotional content that some other definitions include – again, to us, that’s just marketing as it’s always been.

But most importantly, I want to be sure we’re having the conversation. “Content” is such a wide-open word; it can lead to conversations in which we’re using the same words but meaning different things. So let’s make that one last resolution for 2015: I resolve to be less confusing!