When I coach senior B2B leaders on content marketing—and others for whom content marketing is new territory—they often say, “It’s like a foreign language to me.”
They’re reluctant to lead the content marketing charge because they’re afraid of sounding foolish, ignorant, or both.
It’s a form of imposter syndrome.
To help them, I’ve compiled a list of words and phrases that are important to B2B content marketing, along with some quick-fire definitions.
This is not meant to be a definitive glossary, so cut me some slack if the one-liners are incomplete or occasionally imprecise.
My goal is to provide enough common vocabulary for hesitant leaders and contributors to get off the starting line.
Wait a sec, I hear you say, that’s not what your post title says.
True. You won’t speak B2B content marketing like a native if you only memorize these phrases and sprinkle them into your conversations.
Speaking like a native requires having the confidence to join content marketing conversations, and then practice, practice, practice.
The more you speak content marketing with other practitioners, the more you will broaden your vocabulary and deepen your understanding—and the more confident you will become.
At some point, if you stay the course, you will sound like a native.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Here’s an alphabetized list of words and phrases that I consider important for B2B content marketers to understand and use.
Comment, message, or email me to suggest others. I will update and republish this post every few months to keep it relevant and useful.
A/B Testing: The practice of simultaneously publishing two versions of a piece of content or advert that contain different design elements to determine which performs better in terms of engagement or conversions.
Analytics: The process of collecting and analyzing data to gain insights into content performance and audience behavior.
Anchoring: The process of relating content to fundamental business statements of purpose, mission, vision, positioning, and differentiation.
Authenticity: The attribute of content that accurately reflects the personality, expertise, and intentions of the author, brand, and company, which leads to a higher level of trust between the buyer/customer and the company.
Authority: Credibility and expertise in a specific industry or domain that is demonstrated by publishing informative and trustworthy content.
Blog: A regularly updated online platform where you publish articles, news, and insights (collectively, blog posts) relevant to your industry or audience.
Brand: The combination of visual elements (colors, typography, images, logos) and behavioral elements (personality: voice, tone, style) that a prospect or customer experiences when interacting with the company.
Brand Personality: The voice, tone, and style of communication used by the company, which becomes a recognizable behavioral attribute and combines with visual elements to form the company’s overall brand.
Buyer’s Journey: The process a prospect/customer goes through from initial awareness of their challenge to making a purchase and implementing the solution, seen from the buyer’s point of view, which informs what content you should publish, and where, at each stage to help them successfully complete their journey.
Buyer’s Journey Mapping: The process of analyzing and capturing the stages that a buyer (or buyer persona) goes through as they become aware of a challenge, evaluate potential solutions, select and purchase a solution, implement the solution, and become a loyal customer. This provides vital information for designing content and selecting channels for communicating with prospects and customers.
Call-to-Action (CTA): A prompt or instruction that encourages the viewer to take a specific action, such as visiting a web page, downloading a resource, or subscribing to a newsletter.
Case Study: A detailed customer success story, including real-world data, that showcases how your product or service solved their problem and delivered value.
Click-through Rate: The percentage of audience members who view a piece of content (known as an impression) that click on an associated call to action (CTA).
Competitive Analysis: Evaluating and monitoring competitors' content strategies, strengths, and weaknesses to inform your own content approach.
Content Calendar: A detailed plan for creating, editing, and publishing each piece of content, aimed at ensuring a consistent publication cadence.
Content Creation: The process of ideating, producing, and publishing content assets that align with your marketing goals and resonate with your target audience.
Content Distribution: The methods and channels your company uses to share and promote your content, reaching and engaging your target audience effectively.
Content Marketing Strategy: A documented plan that outlines your content goals, target audience, customer understanding, key messages, and prioritized distribution channels, as well as how you will evaluate content performance and ROI.
Conversion Rate: The percentage of web page visitors who take a desired action, such as filling out a form or making a purchase (often after having clicked on an advert – see Click-through Rate).
CRM (Customer Relationship Management): The process of, and associated software for, managing and analyzing prospect and customer interactions, and using data to improve content targeting and personalization (see Marketing Automation).
Customer Retention: Strategies and tactics aimed at keeping existing customers engaged, satisfied, and loyal to your brand through valuable content offerings.
Data-driven Marketing: Making content decisions based on insights and analysis of data to optimize content performance and achieve business goals(see also, Random Acts of Marketing).
eBook: A digital book or guide that offers in-depth information on a specific topic, often used as a lead generation tool.
Editorial Calendar: A multi-month schedule outlining the themes, topics, formats, and publishing dates for your content, aimed at ensuring effective coverage of key topics at all stages of your target buyer’s journey.
Engagement: The level of interaction that users have with your content, such as likes, shares, comments, and time spent on posts and webpages.
Evergreen Content: Enduring content that remains relevant and valuable to your audience over an extended period, often through periodic updates and republication.
Funnel (Marketing Funnel, Sales Funnel): A visual representation of prospects, seen from the company’s perspective, typically divided into qualification stages (marketing qualified, sales qualified, opportunity, closed won/lost). Unqualified leads enter at the top of the funnel (TOFU), reduce in number as only some become marketing and sales qualified (middle of the funnel, MOFU), and reduce still further as only some result in a sales opportunity and closed-won deal (bottom of the funnel, BOFU).
Guest Blogging: Writing and publishing articles on other companies’ websites or blogs to reach new audiences and build backlinks to your own site.
Influencer Marketing: Collaborating with influential individuals or experts in your sector or industry, to amplify your content's reach and credibility.
Infographic: A visually appealing and informative graphic representation of data or information, often used to break down and explain a complex technology or process.
Keyword Research: The process of identifying and analyzing keywords to include in your content based on search volume, competition, and relevance.
Keywords: Words or phrases that appear regularly in search terms used by prospective buyers, used by the company to optimize content for search engines and improve organic visibility.
Landing Page: A standalone web page designed for a specific advert or marketing campaign, optimized to turn visitors into leads and drive conversions.
Lead Generation: The process of attracting potential customers (also known as prospects) and nurturing them with valuable content offerings.
Lead Nurturing: The process of engaging and building relationships with prospects at various stages of their buyer’s journey to guide them towards a purchase decision.
Long-form Content: Comprehensive and in-depth content pieces—typically 500 words or more in length—such as blog posts, whitepapers, or research reports, that provide extensive information to the audience.
Marketing Automation: The use of software to automate repetitive marketing tasks, provide rapid response to customer actions, and personalize content delivery based on user behavior and preferences.
Mobile Optimization (Mobile First): Ensuring that your content and website are optimized for seamless user experiences on mobile devices.
Native Advertising: Paid advertising that matches the form and function of the platform, where it appears, attempting to blend seamlessly with the surrounding content.
Optimization: The process of refining and improving content elements, such as headlines, meta tags, creative elements, body copy, and calls to action (CTAs), to increase visibility and conversions.
Organic Visibility: How often your content is discovered and viewed by audience members searching for answers on the internet.
Persona (Buyer Persona, Customer Persona): A fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on market research and team member experience, used to tailor content to their needs and wants.
Persona-based Marketing: Tailoring content and marketing efforts to specific buyer personas, addressing their needs, wants, emotions, beliefs, and preferences.
Personalization: The process of tailoring content elements and experiences to individual users based on their preferences, behavior, and demographics (often based on data captured in the company’s CRM system).
Podcast: Audio content series that covers specific topics or industry discussions, offering insights and thought leadership.
Quality Content: High-value, relevant, engaging, and helpful content that meets the needs of your audience and authentically reflects your brand's expertise and character.
Random Acts of Marketing: Publishing one-off or infrequent pieces of content, such as a blog or social media posts, that achieve little because they are not part of a consistent, long-term publication strategy.
ROI (Return on Investment): The measure of business value created by a content marketing tactic or campaign relative to the investment made in its creation and execution.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Strategies and techniques for improving organic visibility and rankings in search engine results, including technical SEO (webpage code) and on-page SEO (webpage content, such as keywords).
Social Media: Platforms used to share content, engage with the audience, and build brand awareness and relationships, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and X.
Social Proof: Evidence and validation of your brand and solutions’ credibility and value through testimonials, case studies, reviews, and social media mentions.
Target Audience: The specific group of people your company aims to reach and engage with, based on demographic, firmographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics.
Thought Leadership: Establishing your brand or an individual team member as an industry expert who provides unique insights and perspectives through content they author, and who leads others in conversations about the future of your sector or industry.
User Experience (UX): The overall experience and satisfaction users have when interacting with your website or digital content.
User-generated Content (UGC): Content created and shared by members of your audience, showcasing their experiences with—and opinions of—your product or service.
Video Marketing: The use of videos to convey messages, educate, entertain, or demonstrate products, creating engaging and shareable content.
Visual Content: Content assets that rely heavily on visual elements, such as images, videos, infographics, and memes, to engage and communicate with your audience.
Webinar: An online seminar or presentation that includes interaction between the presenter(s) and the audience, often used for educational or lead generation purposes.
Whitepaper: An authoritative and in-depth report that addresses a specific problem or topic, offering valuable insights and solutions.
These terms—and many more—are explained in greater detail in the following books:
Content Marketing: Mission Critical, a guide for B2B CEOs and other leaders wanting to design and champion an effective content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing: Making the Magic Happen, a B2B marketing leader’s guide to operationalizing effective content marketing strategy.
A boxed set containing a copy of each volume (since they are highly complementary), signed by the author, is available via the MessageUp website (U.S. only at this time).
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Image credits: Adobe Stock