#wordsmatter: Storyteller over content creator and other marketing words that should be changed 

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

When I grew up with the hopes of becoming a journalist the term content creator never even crossed anyone’s mind. Neither did storyteller.

Journalists practiced journalism and marketers marketed. Even though, content marketing was already being practiced by several organizations the term was not yet widely used for around another 20 years.

When I practiced journalism I wouldn’t have dared calling that storytelling, though sometimes the flavor of the month was to focus more on “narrative storytelling” in our journalism. But then the next month came around and we focused on a new shiny object.

Looking back today, the best pieces (no matter the channel) certainly were great stories and told in an engaging storytelling fashion.

Great journalists are also great storytellers. Calling themselves content creators might not be the way to go.

It certainly is important what we call ourselves because that’s how we can quickly explain what we do to others and it helps us form our own identify.

Content creators and other terms were joined by two-way conversations, engagement, deepening relationships and other words soon destined to become buzzwords that everyone would throw around as much as possible.

Many of the common buzzwords really could have used another round of rejections before getting approved for public consumption:


For the most part, I find just about any variation of this not to be a good fit. I’m not a user. Maybe consumer or customer but user just feels cold.

Disney doesn’t say user experience. They call it visitor or guest experience. I find that so much more friendly to think of me that way. It shows in the way they treat you, too.

Citizen journalist

In our continued effort to categorize everything, the authorities (whomever that is) started calling people that take pictures of weather, accidents, etc. citizen journalists. Hardly anyone who isn’t working as a journalist wants to be a journalist. No need to name them part of the newsroom. I would just call them people who tweeted a picture that ended up on the newscast.

User-generated content 

See above. Remember, you get what you pay for!

Target audience 

Oh yes, please target me. Seems a bit agreesive. May I suggest interested community?

Content creator

Content creator (aka content producer) sounds like a production line type role. Please repeat this task over and over and now you’ve created content. It sounds like something that is easily commoditized. Whomever we can hire for the cheapest amount to create that content gets the job. Output, however, doesn’t equal outcome or impact.

Certainly, the way some people create content is a commoditity.

“So how do you go about ghostwriting articles for your subject matter expert?”

“I research the topic online and then put something together.”

“Do you talk to the expert in the process?”

“Sometimes, but not usually at length and not really about additional content that I haven’t found online already.”

So that process can certainly be commoditized. The art and science of true authentic storytelling cannot. In true storytelling, you share the unique and untold story of the expert and oftentimes make it education for readers as well. It cannot be searched for online, because it hasn’t been told online, yet.

Now, it is true that everyone can participate and share their authentic stories through their blogs, social media and offline.

Taking storytelling to another level can happen when we use the help of content marketing journalists (aka storytellers) who can help us tell our stories better.

Content creators might be able to create content for us but can they tell a unique and engaging story? I wouldn’t count on it and go with the storyteller. Sometimes we might just tell our own stories, too, without getting help.

Don’t just churn out content but create meaningful stories that do more than just add noise to the already loud content world.

That’s what authentic storytellers do.

The words we choose can even show our intent and intent matters in authentic storytelling no matter the channel.

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