Four key content marketing trends for the rest of 2017 It might not seem possible but we are already half way through 2017 and autumn is just a brace of weeks away. So now is a good time to take stock of how the content world has developed in the past six months, and what the key implications are for brands and their editorial teams. The podcast revival continues We have written many times about the growth of podcasting. The most unlikely revival since the return of TV show Twin Peaks, goes from strength to strength fuelled by highly successful crime and issue based podcasts from across the pond like Serial and Death, Sex and Money and humour based ones from the UK like this and this. Almost every significant media company now has a portfolio of podcasts on all manner of topics. Even the BBC, which has been issuing its programmes as podcasts for years, has hopped aboard the bandwagon with its Serial-esque Beyond Reasonable Doubt. The impressive levels of engagement that podcasts attain makes them a perfect place for brands to reach out to attentive, invariably intelligent audiences. So far most of the brands that have produced their own podcasts, as opposed to sponsoring them, have tended to be startups like the excellent Backlisted podcast created by Unbound or B2B tech companies like this from Accenture. I do think that more brands, even FMCG ones, will experiment with podcasts over the coming months, perhaps taking inspiration from podcasts like Saints of Somewhere which build a series around a very smart concept. The unstoppable Instagram It seems to have been a very good year so far for the Facebook-owned Instagram platform and in particular the way it has successfully courted brands and media companies. After making a series of long overdue changes last year, which to be fair many of which were copied from Snapchat, like Instagram Stories, this year it has tweaked the platform further beefing up its analytics. Snapchat is still an enticing place for youth focused brands, but Instagram’s brand savvy, and large audience figures (700 million to Snapchat’s 200 million) mean it has the edge over its rival. Expect to see brands pour more and more resources into the platform as the year develops. Addressing Voice Search At the CMA Digital Breakfast earlier in the month Stephen Kenwright Head of Search of Branded3 quoted figures that predicted that by 2020 as many as 50% of online searches will be voice powered by Alexa, Cortana, Siri or whatever else that might come along in the coming years. Some of these voice searches will deliver traditional text results, while others will deliver voice only responses. It is the latter scenario then that presents both a problem and an opportunity for brands. The problem being that searchers are often only presented with a limited selection of responses by Google and Bing. But also opportunity in that if brands can perfect the way that they produce voice optimised content – in other words content that directly answers questions consumers are asking – they may find themselves securing that coveted key voice search position. There is a lot more about the topic on the write up from the Digital Breakfast here. Email’s unlikely revival There’s growing evidence that certain demographics feel more comfortable with email communications from brands as opposed to hearing from them via social media. Conversely email as a platform has become more attractive for brands as they own the channel and don’t have the filter the content via the politics and algorithms of social media. Really well thought out editorially-driven branded emails are becoming a major tool for brands again. The only caveat is that the implementation of GDPR in less than a year means that some brands might have to re-examine their email strategy. Commissioned by The CMA Read more Award Entries Masterclass – 25th & 26th July There is an art to writing award entries, one which can make or break your entry. If you’re entering the International Content Marketing Awards this year, what better way to prepare than take our training course on writing award entries? The short 2.5 hour course is run by Dominic Mills, an experienced awards writer & judge. Course content: Know your audience How judges read awards What catches their eye Tell a story Devise an internal process What good writing looks like What not to do What judges hate Course date? Tuesday 25th July 2017 & Wednesday 26th July The course will be 2.5 hours long. There will be one session in the afternoon of the 25th and another in the afternoon of the 26th. These are two separate sessions, you only attend one. Tuesday 25th July: 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm Wednesday 26th July: 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm Each session is limited to 15 people, so please book early to reserve your place. Cost? CMA Member: £50 plus VAT Non-member: £75 plus VAT Where? The CMA, WeWork, 3 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, EC1N 2SW How do I book? Please download and fill in the booking form here. Please email completed form to & Trainer Dominic Mills, Consultant Editor, The CMA Former Campaign editor and editorial director Dominic Mills has been a business journalist for more than 25 years. Now he writes the weekly ‘Mills on Monday’ column for Mediatel’s Newsline, teaches senior executives how to write better, chairs 20+ conferences a year for organisations including Mediatel, ISBA, the IAB and the IPA and ghost writes for senior executives in the media industry. Dominic is a consultant editor for the Content Marketing Association and the IPA, he does pitch work for content agencies as well as teaching at Roehampton University where he is Honorary Professor of Journalism. Before all that, he was Group Editorial Director for Haymarket Business Publishing, and worked for Reuters. For ten years he wrote a weekly column for The Daily Telegraph. Read more B2B Marketing Challenges – 2nd August The speakers for this Digital Breakfast will be discussing the role of content in marketing to other businesses, creating exciting content in ‘boring’ industries and leveraging the impact of market sector influencers to build a platform for thought leadership strategies. There is a summer sale for the August Digital Breakfast, with tickets heavily discounted at: CMA Members: £50 + VAT Non Members: £75 + VAT To take advantage of the offer, please email Speakers Giuseppe Caltabiano, Head of Content Marketing Advisory Services, NewsCred Giuseppe has +20 years of experience in the fields of IT, Software, Industry, Energy. He is a B2B content marketing speaker, author and writer. Guiseppe is Head of Content Marketing Advisory Services at NewsCred, the world’s leading enterprise content marketing company; he advises global top B2B and B2C brands to build effective content marketing strategy. Kobi Omenaka, Google Certified Digital Marketing Consultant, Teacher & Speaker Kobi is a Google Adwords Certified Social Media and Digital Marketing Consultant, Speaker, Podcaster and Trainer and offer bespoke in-house training, online training courses and consultations. Sam Gallagher, Client Services Director at Progressive Content Sam is Client Services Director at Progressive Content and is responsible for the strategic development and successful delivery of all client work across the agency and Content Cloud platform. He and his team oversee the digital development and multimedia content delivery for some biggest global B2B brands including RBS, KPMG, Sage and ICAEW. Progressive is now the UK’s largest specialist B2B content agency, with services ranging from one-off campaigns to the creation of end-to-end enterprise content platforms for major blue-chip firms. Its Content Cloud® and Knowledge Bank digital solutions allow businesses to connect with customers at speed and at scale. Mike Baxter, Product and Content Lead, Goal Atlas Since 2001, Mike has advised c-suite, senior leadership and heads of teams of global B2B and B2C companies on major business transformation projects.  This has included content strategy, content governance and content audits for clients in a variety of industry sectors. Mike is a psychologist by training and has had successful careers as a research scientist, trawlerman, product designer, government advisor, author, professor of design and communication, before becoming a consultant. In his talk, Mike will present Goal Atlas’s best practice framework for B2B content strategy, rooted in core principles of social psychology. Based on this framework, Mike will use examples from his own consultancy work to define a systematic approach to content strategy development, content strategy deployment and standard operating procedures for managing B2B content in a scaleable business-as-usual way. Host: Tim Tucker, Training Consultant – CMA. Tim is a trainer, content strategist, online copywriter, user experience designer, and consultant who helps people to communicate better through digital media. He has over 13 years’ experience working in digital media. When? August 2nd 2017 9am – 11am (Breakfast consisting of delicious bacon sandwiches, pastries, fruit pots and smoothies is served from 8:30am) Where? Etc Venues 51-53 Hatton Garden Clerkenwell London EC1N 8HN Cost? SUMMER SALE! For the August Digital Breakfast the prices are heavily discounted: CMA Members: £50 + VAT Non Members: £75 + VAT To take advantage of the offer, please email Read more CMA INTERNATIONAL CONTENT MARKETING AWARDS ARE OPEN FOR ENTRY! We are delighted to announce that our CMA International Content Marketing Awards are back and now open for entry. Agencies from across the world will offer up their greatest work from the past 12 months for judgement by some of the biggest names in marketing. Last year we had over 400 entries from 100 different agencies, and 21 countries, making them the most competitive content marketing awards in the world. The event provides the industry with a stunning showcase of talent, expertise, inspiration and insight for brand marketers the world over. New Categories! Excitingly, this year we have introduced more new awards designed to reflect the rapid changes in content marketing. There are now 28 categories available to enter, to win Gold, Silver and Bronze. The winners will be put forward for consideration for the ultimate Grand Prix award. This year you can enter the same entry into as many categories as you like. You can view all categories here Entries Entries can be made until Friday September 8th at ENTER NOW!!!! View 2016 Winners here Criteria The Qualifying period for entries is:    1ST SEPTEMBER 2016 – 31ST AUGUST 2017 Host This years awards will be hosted by the wonderful Katherine Ryan.  This Canadian abroad is the UK’s 2017 break-out star. Katherine recently garnered rave reviews as the presenter and writer of Channel 4’s critically acclaimed prime time series, How Did You Get So Rich? and also regularly appears on all the UK’s major panel shows from BBC’s QI, Have I Got News For You and Live at the Apollo to Dave’s Taskmaster Series 2 (which she won) and Channel 4’s Out of 10 Cats as well as co-hosting two back to back series of Comedy Central’s upcoming Your Face or Mine reboot with Jimmy Carr. TUES 28TH NOVEMBER, THE ROUNDHOUSE, LONDON Read more size? launches Spaces In-Between – a brave new campaign exploring the influence of sub-culture on style size?, the global footwear and apparel retailer, is focusing on using deeper engagement to drive brand loyalty through the campaign. TCO, the media company behind youth culture brand Huck and film brand Little White Lies, has been appointed to lead on the campaign, which will be delivered through premium magazines, a bold new website, and monthly podcasts, and is supported by cutting-edge videos, photography and illustrations from leading creatives such as Benedict Redgrove, Adam Cruft and Dan Emmerson. size? Marketing and Creative Manager Peter Kellett says: “Spaces In-Between is an opportunity to build brand loyalty through a stronger relationship with our consumers. It’s a place for us to not only champion and document culture, but also to influence it. TCO, through their title Huck, know how to talk credibly to an audience of millennial tastemakers. Their premium execution also aligns with our positioning.” Simon Baker, TCO’s Managing Director, says: “Spaces In-Between hits that perfect trifecta: size? is contributing to culture through credible journalism; it’s building brand loyalty; and the audience is getting loads of value. With digital content and podcasts being supported by a print mag, we’re also bringing the content in-store, linking the two worlds together. This is branded content as it should be.” Editorial direction for the campaign is being led by TCO’s Agency Editor, Michael Fordham, former features editor at Dazed and Confused. He adds: “Spaces In-Between is a colourful, celebratory documentation of culture – the stuff that draws us together rather than divides.” The first stories to feature include hip-hop heavyweight Talib Kweli; the youth pushing fashion from the block parties of Portland, Jamaica; the local pride of whippet racers in the North East of England; and the European football fixtures in the 1970s that led to the boom in British streetwear. Culture-clash aficionado Don Letts hosts ‘Join the Dots’, a series of podcasts uncovering people who are creating culture, on the ground. The first episode features South London rising artist ‘Cosima’. The 100-page magazines will be distributed for free in all size? stores and through Huck’s network of neighbourhood distributors, with further articles, videos and digital content available at About size? size? size? Is a global premium supplier of footwear and garments featuring a collection of the world’s best brands. About TCO TCO is a fiercely independent media company, publisher and content agency that makes credible premium branded content for millennial audiences. “Cutting-edge publishers”. TIME magazine About Huck Huck is a premium youth culture brand across print, digital and film, offering unique counter-narratives through quality journalism from around the world. “In Huck, subcultures are entry points for articles about music, politics and places all over the world”. The New York Times   Read more The Future of Content Marketing What the future holds for content marketing, especially in relation to Artificial Intelligence and the future of search, was the theme for a packed CMA Digital Breakfast on July 5th. First to speak was Stephen Kenwright, Director of Search at Branded3. He began by asking the question – what is the future of content – how will it look in the near future specifically 2020? Stephen’s initial point was that the way that content is accessed and how it is distributed are already changing and will continue to change. To reassure the delegates though he made the point that in media ‘status quo is not necessarily a good thing.’ To illustrate this, he cited programmatic advertising explaining that as people get more attuned to living with it the less likely they are to click on the ads. Therefore, the cost for each click continues to rise. The rise of voice search Stephen predicted that the most marked way that content will change will be as a reaction to the success of voice search. The growth of Cortana by Microsoft, Siri by Apple and Alexa by Amazon means that within three years 50% of all searches will be conducted by voice. At the current time, it is around 20% Stephen believes that this will mean the death of navigation of websites as it is really no longer applicable. To illustrate this Stephen discussed Amazon, explaining that it is a company that has constantly innovated. He described the company’s multiple products pages as search answers in themselves and suggested that Amazon has the potential to become Google’s biggest search engine rival. ‘The changing nature of search should make publishers and brands stop for a minute and think about the content that they are producing’ believes Stephen. He argues the key metric in the future will be ‘dwell time, how long can you keep a person on your site before they revert to Google?’ In explaining this Stephen cited the example of one of his clients – Virgin Holidays and its site was built for SEO and aims to answer the questions that people want answering. He added that the site was right at the end of the sales funnel and experienced high levels of conversion. Stephen then advised brands to start thinking about how they might build a knowledge database. This can be done in number of ways using analytics, customer service, traditional SEO keywords and more. Once this has been achieved brands should then create the content that addresses those issues and answers those questions. Stephen then turned his attention to voice search for existing brands saying they should at least consider experimenting with Alexa Skills or chatbots. He finished by reiterating his early point that navigation would disappear soon. He thinks there are other ways in which we find content in the future. The second speaker to present was Nicola Fleming, VP Head of Digital Content Strategy, Barclays  She took as her theme ‘why brands need to start thinking about Intelligent Content.’ She began her talk by referencing the days when the mantra was ‘content is king.’ Although she still saw content as essential, she conceded that a lot of content was created without the originator thinking a great deal about the life cycle it would have. Chatbots and AI Nicola also talked about the impact of the mobile phones and how few brands were properly prepared for the impact they had. She argued that a lot of businesses were still not up to speed on the basics, while others were having to invest heavily in a bid to catch up. As for her prognosis for the future Nicola argued that ‘things move so quickly it is impossible predict where we will be in 10 years.’ She did however cite the growing popularity of chatbots and voice assistants among both consumers and brands. And she agreed with the previous speaker, Stephen Kenwright, that voice would be very important to company websites by 2020. As for chatbots Nicola pointed out that any brand could create a chatbot now by using Facebook. However, there was little point in doing this if the company wasn’t prepared and didn’t have the right content to work with the chatbot. She said it is good for brands to retrieve the right answers for the consumer, but in order for them to be able to do this their content needs to be well structured. Another key trend that Nicola highlighted was Hyper Personalisation – using data and context to serve content for individuals at every step of their online journey. She also said empathetic tech – for example using phones with microphones and cameras to gauge people’s faces and reactions, could potentially have an important future. Another technology likely to have a huge impact in the future is Machine Learning, which Nicola believes will constantly evolve content to present to readers what it believes they will find most engaging. Machine Learning will also enable brands to analyse past data and learn from it to improve user outcomes. It will also play an important role in the evolution of chatbots, voice assistants and personalised content. ‘The benefits to the brand are that they can understand what content works and what is most effective,’ she argued. Nicola mentioned both VR (Virtual reality) and AR (Augmented Reality), particular highlighting the potential of the latter for the way it blends digital and physical worlds. She cited as a good example of how brands might use AR the way that Ikea has an app that enables consumers to place furniture in their living room to see how it looks. Intelligent Content Nicola then asked the question ‘what is Intelligent Content?’ and examined its five key elements. She believes they are; Content in small fragments – bite sized chunks Content that is semantically categorised – relating to various elements Content that is automatically discoverable – so that it is easily accessible Content that is reusable – so that content can be placed in a number sources from blog posts through to product descriptions and case studies Content that is adaptable – in other words it can be tweaked to suit different platforms and scenarios, To explain what she meant and illustrate how important Intelligent Content is Nicola mentioned that quite often various parts of a website are written by different people. Sometimes there is no uniformity. This is a problem that Intelligent Content can solve. Intelligent Content can be broken down into fragments and stored centrally, then the various writers could access it and deploy it in different content baskets. Intelligent Content does need to be adaptable though in that there should be different flavours of fragments which are tailored to different audiences via different channels. The key thing for brands is the classification of the fragments – it may be that they are called one thing internally and then something different when related to the consumer. Ultimately Nicola believes that brand adoption of Intelligent Content has three key benefits: Saves time and money Better customer experience Future ready She did however acknowledge that there are problems to be overcome first from siloed teams to prioritisation of design in companies. She finished by running though her key steps for getting started with Intelligent Content. She said; Make intelligent content part of your strategy Get buy in from the teams Invest in experts Think about single CMS Make organisational and process changes Progress iteratively The third speaker at the breakfast was Noz Urbina, Content Strategist and Founder, Urbina Consulting. You can read an exclusive interview with Noz and learn more about his pioneering approach to content marketing next week. Commissioned by The CMA Read more Acquisition of The Creative Engagement Group Limited Huntsworth pie, the healthcare communications and public relations  group (“Huntsworth” or “the Group”), announced the acquisition of the entire share capital of The Creative Engagement Group (“TCEG”) from funds managed by LDC (Managers) Limited (“LDC”) and certain members of TCEG’s management for total consideration of £24.7m. Transaction highlights TCEG is a collection of three creative agencies – WRG, The Moment and Just Communicate – that provide experiential marketing primarily through events and digital marketing, including virtual and augmented reality, predominantly to healthcare clients. The addition of TCEG will strengthen further Huntsworth’s ability to provide high quality digital creativity to its clients, and allow TCEG to benefit from access to the Group’s existing healthcare clients, especially in the US where there is significant opportunity for TCEG to increase its market share. The addition of TCEG supports Huntsworth’s strategy of adding capability to better support the needs of healthcare clients through both organic growth and selective acquisitions. TCEG is based in the UK but services clients across the world, with approximately one third of revenue generated in the US. The TCEG management team is led by CEO Russ Lidstone and COO David Sharrock, and both will remain with the business. The consideration of £24.7m will be financed through the Group’s existing facilities. TCEG generated revenues of c. £26m and EBITDA of c. £3.8m in the year to 31 October 2016 and the Group expects the acquisition to be accretive to the Group’s earnings in the current financial year. TCEG’s gross assets were £26.6m as at 31 October 2016. Commenting on the acquisition, Paul Taaffe, Group CEO, said: “TCEG is a great company with a wealth of talent and blue chip clients which will benefit from Hunts worth’s reach and connections especially in healthcare. With more and  more  clients seeking to engage both employees and customers with powerful experiences, TCEG is well positioned for future growth.” The statement regarding earnings enhancement is not a profit forecast and should not be interpreted to mean that the Group’s earnings per share will necessarily match or exceed the historic earnings of the Group  Huntsworth pie – The Creative Engagement Group – Read more Redactive Media Group Redactive to publish The Environmentalist for IEMA Redactive has won the contract to publish The Environmentalist, IEMA’s monthly membership magazine, after a competitive tender. IEMA (formerly the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment) is the worldwide alliance of environment and sustainability professionals. It has a global membership of 14,000 individuals who are responsible for the environmental, economic and social sustainability of their organisations. IEMA members are active in 65% of FTSE 100 companies. Redactive assumes responsibility for the multi-platform The Environmentalist magazine with immediate effect. In addition to publishing The Environmentalist in print 10 times a year, Redactive will also manage the magazine’s website and official jobs board – Of this new partnership Tim Balcon, IEMA’s CEO, says “our magazine is an important and highly valued element of IEMA membership, read by an alliance of thousands of environment and sustainability professionals worldwide. That is why we have been incredibly careful to select the right long-term publishing partner and we know that Redactive is the perfect choice to deliver and develop the title. My team and I are very much looking forward to working with Redactive, and we are excited to tell our members about the bold changes we will introduce later in 2017.” The Environmentalist editorial or advertising enquiries should be directed by email to or telephone +44 (0) 20 7880 6200. Read more Month in Content Marketing: June 2017 Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group revamps print and online magazine, RBS debuts virtual bank for kids and CNN and August team up at Cannes. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group revamps print and online magazine – Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced a revamp of its in-room and online magazine and will team up with CMA member Cedar to produce it. The content and media brief brings a new approach to connecting with the brand’s current and new customers. It includes digital consultancy, social strategy, content planning, monthly digital destination content and the production of the Group’s bi-annual in-room magazine available at all 29 hotels worldwide. The brief also includes media sales, offering print advertising opportunities to carefully selected global luxury brands as part of Cedar’s Premium Travel Audience media offer. Cedar’s appointment followed a competitive pitch. Cedar’s Business Development Director, Joe Costello said, ‘It’s a real pleasure to work with a brand as prestigious and iconic as Mandarin Oriental, particularly as luxury travel has become such a heartland for us at Cedar. We have exciting plans for its multichannel content and commercial portfolio that we can’t wait to share.’ More here. RBS unveils online virtual bank for kids – As part of its MoneySense financial education programme, RBS has created an online virtual bank for young people. The interactive bank, which was created for the company by John Brown Media, enables young people to explore a typical high-street branch, where they can practise withdrawing cash, paying in coins, and even changing some pounds into euros for a holiday abroad. Players get a series of money-related tasks to complete, while making sure their balance never goes into the red – a useful practice for adult life! A key design challenge for the team was how to render the inside of a bank in a realistic and recognisable way, while still using a fun, friendly art style that appeals to young people aged from 8 to 16. Caroline Edwards, Senior Community Programmes Manager at RBS Sustainability, said: “Being able to explore a digital bank from the comfort of their home or in the classroom is so useful for young people, and we know there’s a demand from teachers for this sort of experiential learning. “We’re delighted with the work John Brown have done on this project – they’ve taken a potentially dry topic, and brought it to life in a way that we think will really appeal to a generation who are comfortable in a digital environment. We can’t wait to hear what young people say about it – we think the reaction will be really positive.” See the digital bank in action here. More here. Butlin’s teams up with ITV’s The Voice Kids – Butlin’s has launched its ‘Summer Breaks’ sponsorship of ITV’s The Voice Kids, with the campaign creative and production by ITN Productions. The family-focused sponsorship series premiered on Saturday June 10 with the tagline Discovering Something Special. This creative informed the wider Butlin’s Summer Breaks Campaign Turning Your Summer into Something Special. The idents aim to challenge perceptions and exceed expectations, as we follow a family discovering Butlin’s for the first time in a series of authentic moments. To standout from music driven The Voice Kids, the idents feature the sounds of the classic British seaside recorded at Butlin’s: children laughing and playing, fairground rides, seagulls and waves crashing in the sea.  These soundscapes are designed to make the viewer feel they are experiencing a ’seaside break’ from the comfort of their own home. Helen Martin, Head of Marketing at Butlin’s, said: “We are incredibly proud to be sponsoring the very first season of The Voice Kids. Our founder, Sir Billy Butlin, was a pioneer and set a precedent of trying something new, and we always look to reflect this in our marketing. The team at ITN have done a fantastic job in supporting us to turn our brief into the fantastic idents we now have live. They really took the time to understand our brand and ensure we showed the true Butlin’s experience through our creative.” Iconic Butlin’s cutaway shots of the helter skelter, the carousel, ice-creams, swooping curves and art deco patterned textures are used to evoke the happy memories of parents’ own childhood, whilst the colourful vibrancy of the images, diverse family, show its relevance today. More here. Genero working with Facebook – Global video production marketplace Genero has been confirmed as a Facebook Marketing Partner in the Content Marketing specialty. Genero connects brands looking to scale their video production with a global creative community of 300,000+ production companies, directors, editors and animators. Clients post creative briefs, video creators pitch their ideas and the client selects the filmmaker and manages the entire production process on Genero’s cloud-hosted software platform. Co-founder and CEO Mick Entwisle said “We’re so excited to be recognised as an official Facebook Marketing Partner and to be working with the Facebook team to provide a fast and affordable video production solution to their advertising clients.” Facebook has been clear on the importance of video to their future strategy. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told investors during its fourth quarter earnings announcement in February, “I see video as a megatrend. That’s why I’m going to keep putting video first across our family of apps.” More here. EIC to revamp its Energy Focus flagship magazine – The Energy Industries Council’s (EIC), a not-for-profit organisation with a membership of over 650 UK-registered energy companies, has re-launched its flagship magazine, Energy Focus. From summer 2017 Energy Focus will feature a new, modern and sophisticated design and an enhanced editorial content mix and will be published by CMA member Redactive. Energy Focus is increasing in frequency to quarterly from two issues per year and will continue to put the spotlight on emerging markets, technologies and innovation across the energy industries, making it a must-read publication for those looking to identify and understand industry trends and business opportunities worldwide. It will continue to reach its extensive readership in the oil & gas, power, renewable energy and nuclear sectors – industries that collectively employ over 1 million people and generate over £100 billion in revenues. Edward White, Editor and Communications Manager at EIC, says “I can’t wait for our refreshed Energy Focus to hit the shelves at leading energy events around the world. Aaron Nicholls, Director at Redactive, says “Energy Focus has huge potential to help EIC to communicate with its members even more effectively and to provide members with insight that will help them to develop their businesses. The reinvigorated Energy Focus that we have created with EIC is befitting of the prestige of EIC and its high profile membership. We look forward to a successful partnership.” More here. CNN and August team up at Cannes Lions – In June CNN teamed up with August, the content agency of Publicis UK, to produce a new publication which was distributed at this year’s Cannes Lions. Showcasing CNN’s signature international perspective, CANNES included premium business stories from CNN Tech and CNN Travel, alongside its cinematic Great Big Story content and Turner entertainment highlights. CANNES was distributed to all VIPs and keynote speakers travelling in the CNN/Turner sponsored Festival delegate cars and was also available at the CNN/Turner beach cabana. Geraldine Finnegan, CNN’s Head of Network Integration and Partnerships, said: “As nations look inward, those with an international outlook – our core audience – are identifying themselves as different. CANNES profiles the breadth of our premium programming for this audience and captures the spirit of our brand for the creative industry here at the Cannes Lions.” More here. The Local Government Association updates first magazine – The Local Government Association (LGA is to revamp its first magazine with assistance from CMA member CPL. The Local Government Association (LGA) is a politically led, cross-party organisation that works on behalf of councils to ensure local government has a strong, credible voice with national government. In total, 415 authorities are members of the Association, including English and Welsh councils, national parks and parish councils. Published monthly, first is received by 18,000 councillors and 400 chief executives. CPL will be responsible for the design, print, media sales and production of first and will work closely with LGA’s in-house communications team to create the magazine. Richard Walters, CPL’s director – commercial, said: “We’re delighted that CPL has been appointed to produce LGA’s flagship magazine. It is a key membership benefit and the number one way in which members find out about the work of the LGA. “We are looking forward to working with the LGA team to continue making first a useful and relevant publication, both for now and for the future.” More here. The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) revamps its monthly magazine, Company Director – The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) is to revamp its monthly magazine, Company Director. It will work with Medium Rare Content Agency, the current content provider for Qantas, Coles, Foxtel and David Jones, on the revamp. The first issue of Company Director magazine that the pair have collaborated on will debut in October 2017, and has been redesigned and reformatted. Company Director is the AICD’s official member magazine, mailed directly to all members 11 times a year. The magazine is read by an audience of board directors, C-Suite executives, not-for-profit and government leaders in the governance space. The magazine plays a key role among the AICD’s content channels in helping to create more effective directors, boards and businesses by reporting, informing and leading the debate around leadership, governance and performance. AICD Chairman Elizabeth Proust said Medium Rare’s extensive experience in publishing, as well as content creation, design and development across multiple platforms, will deliver an improved member experience. “Our magazine is a trusted and valued source of information, with our members identifying it as the number one benefit of AICD membership across successive surveys,” she said. “This is a great opportunity to further develop our membership offering and enhance the content we provide members in an ever-changing media environment. More here. Also this month the CMA blog looked at whether GDPR was a big opportunity for content marketers, how brands operate as broadcasters and content and the retail revolution. Commissioned by The CMA Read more Content’s glittering prizes are up for grabs The International Content Marketing Awards are now open for business. CMA managing director Catherine Maskell – a CMA award winner herself in an earlier role – explains what’s new and why the awards matter. The awards season comes around faster every year, or so it feels. Perhaps it’s the anticipation that seemingly accelerates the cycle and telescopes the gap between each event. And that time has come again. The CMA’s International Content Marketing Awards are once again open for entry. And as the saying goes, if you ain’t in it, you ain’t going to win it. That moment in the spotlight, the glory, the thank-you speech, the celebratory fizz: unless you enter it will only ever be a fantasy. I’m lucky enough to know what success at the awards means. At Reed Global we won gold and silver in 2015. You cannot underestimate the impact those wins had. We were delighted for our agency of course, and the external recognition the awards confer on it and those who worked on our business. They deserved the accolades. Equally, the internal effects were enormous. First, the team was enormously enthused and fired up. We went into the next year, and the next campaign, with energy, drive and commitment second to none. We felt like giants, and no obstacle could halt us. Second, was the internal validation with senior Reed management and budget holders.  Our credibility and status were enhanced. That glory and sense of achievement conveyed by an award is reflected back up to the top of the organisation. Focused on effectiveness and judging integrity To me, it’s not hard to figure out why. Unlike other awards, which are focused exclusively or mainly on creativity, the CMA awards make effectiveness a key criterion. As a former marketer, it cannot be any other way. All forms of marketing must be effective to be credible internally and to justify budget. This is one reason why the Reed Global management prized the awards so highly. We knew we had beaten other, formidable, brands on effectiveness to win. One of the ways we maintain this focus on effectiveness at the CMA is through the quality of the judges. We invite experienced and hard-nosed judges to consider the entries. You cannot pull the wool over their eyes. Last year’s judges included marketers from brands like Barclays, Axa, Spotify, Snapchat, EE and Asda. To get a feel, you can see the list of final-round judges here. Freshening up the categories This year, as with last, we are freshening up the categories. It’s something all awards need to do, but perhaps more so in content marketing than other disciplines. This is because content marketing is the most dynamic and fast-moving of disciplines. The definition of content marketing is, of course, expanding continuously, as are the platforms and techniques which can be brought to bear and, not least, the new brands and services coming into content, all of which move the game on in their own ways. You can see this most obviously in the previous winners but also in the make-up of the CMA membership. This is constantly evolving, and now includes many different specialisms: from search and social, to broadcasters and video specialists. Thus, we have four new categories this year. Two, reflecting its growing importance – all the more so as the likes of Facebook move more deeply into it – are in video. One is for single or one-off videos; the other for series, where perhaps different executions will be used across multiple platforms or different videos will be used in sequential storytelling, the execution depending on either device or location or position in the purchase funnel. A third is for Best Use of SEO. SEO and content are closely related, all the more so as search algorithms increasingly reward quality content. The fourth addition is one we are especially delighted with. Like any forward-thinking industry, we should recognise and reward our young talent. So, this award – Rising Star – is an individual award for anyone under the age of 30, in any function or organisation, making an outstanding contribution to content marketing in the last 12 months. You can find more about all the categories here. But some things stay the same Change is good, but so is continuity. And some things about the CMA awards aren’t changing. One is that they will remain the most competed-for dedicated content awards. Last year we had entries from over 120 agencies in 30 markets. That will no doubt continue as content spreads its wings across the globe, as more brands roll out multi-market content campaigns, and agencies – notably our members – increasingly work on the global stage. Two, as I noted earlier, we will continue to recruit only the most expert and experienced of judges. And last, we keep our ceremonies tight. There’s nothing worse than awards ceremonies that go on too long – past the point where everyone wants to celebrate and network. We have just 28 awards, with the Grand Prix selected from one of the earlier winners. That tightness means we keep the ceremony down to around an hour. Finally, if I have a word of advice for entrants, it’s this: as before, make sure your entries show how your content marketing made a difference to the client’s business. All the details and key dates are here. Good luck. Catherine Maskell, Managing Director, The CMA Read more Genero named as a Facebook Marketing Partner in Content Marketing Global video production marketplace Genero has been confirmed as a Facebook Marketing Partner in the Content Marketing specialty. Genero connects brands looking to scale their video production with a global creative community of 300,000+ production companies, directors, editors and animators. Clients post creative briefs, video creators pitch their ideas and the client selects the filmmaker and manages the entire production process on Genero’s cloud-hosted software platform. Co-founder and CEO Mick Entwisle said “We’re so excited to be recognised as an official Facebook Marketing Partner and to be working with the Facebook team to provide a fast and affordable video production solution to their advertising clients.” Facebook has been clear on the importance of video to their future strategy. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told investors during its fourth quarter earnings announcement in February, “I see video as a megatrend. That’s why I’m going to keep putting video first across our family of apps.” Entwisle added: “We definitely have a shared vision about the importance of video. On the consumer side it’s the most engaging form of content so brands understand they need to be producing more video to keep people engaged as they spend more time on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The challenge for most is working out how to produce enough of it through the traditional ad agency model, which many are finding too slow and expensive to use at scale. That’s the big problem we’re solving for brands.” Facebook Partner Development Manager APAC Philip Hur said, “Genero’s platform is at the forefront of video production on demand, setting a new bar for what it means to produce video at scale. In the age of mobile, capturing people’s attention requires moving fast, but not at the expense of quality. Genero has proven quality measures in place to ensure that efficiency does not sacrifice effectiveness.” Genero has their headquarters in Melbourne where their product and development team is located, with offices in London, Singapore and Sydney, with its US expansion planned for later in 2017. Their clients include Unilever, Diageo, Trivago, HP, Universal Music, Sony, Mediacom, William Grant & Sons and Saatchi & Saatchi. Read more Three UK Tech companies who are Nailing Content Marketing Over the past few years there has been an explosion in the number of new tech based companies in London. The area around Shoreditch now boasts so many startups its only serious rivals, in new tech companies, are the key US business engines of New York and Silicon Valley. Many of the companies might have global ambitions, but at the same time they have a very British flavour. Given the success of The City of London it is not surprising, for example, that the capital is rich in Fintech (financial tech) starts up. There is also an explosion of media tech companies and other newer areas include insurance tech and health tech. One thing that unites many of the companies, and indeed some of the more established tech players, is their championing of content. Far sighted marketing execs realised early on that insightful and engaging content not only ensures reach via search engines, but also enables their company to have a credible voice in their niche. This in turn can prove to be a very effective new business driver. Here then are a trio of British startups who have created innovative and interesting content which appear to be yielding excellent results for them. Unbound In some ways to call the excellent Backlisted Podcast ‘branded content’ seems to not really do it justice. Yet at the same time it is clearly a highly effective marketing tool for a startup called Unbound. The company is fascinating one in that it has a platform that enables authors to crowdfund money for the books they are writing. They create the title and theme of the book, and invariably video content, and if they meet with the company’s approval the pitch gets posted on the site. It isn’t just first-timers who use Unbound to get their books funded either, established authors, high profile bloggers and comedians are using it to fund their projects. The Backlisted Podcast is one way that company uses to connect with a book-loving community. For around an hour key company personnel discuss forgotten, but excellent cult novels with invited authors, journalists and fiction influentials. The result is one of the most interesting and intelligent podcasts to come out of the UK. Unbound is at the heart of the podcast, but is never pushed too hard. Ultimately though I am sure the success of the podcast has pulled many people into the Unbound universe, and I bet a fair chunk have gone on to fund a book (I’m up to four and counting). Freeagent Freeagent is one of the most successful startups to emerge from Scotland in recent years. The company offers online accountancy software aimed at freelancers and SMEs. The idea is that it takes the hassle out of invoice and expense management, VAT, payroll and Self Assessment tax return filing. What Freeagent has done so brilliantly is to bring the topic alive via a blog that is a must read for anyone in the UK starting out on their own. It is packed with useful tips and advice  – from ‘how to price out your services’ through to ‘how to get paid on time.’ The authors have clearly taken a page out of the Buzzfeed content playbook too by using GIF-illustrated listicles to create content that is funny, engaging and is sure resonate with their audience. Freeagent has successfully created the feel of the club for freelancers via their content and the sales element is done subtly and politely and never too intrusively. The company strategy has possibly been inspired by Sage who pioneered this type of content in the UK and created a similar club feel for larger businesses. Like Sage though they have executed it brilliantly and I am certain that content is a big part of Freeagent’s new business engine. Kurtosys Actually calling Kurtosys a startup is stretching things a little as the company has been in existence since 2002. Over that time though it has constantly evolved and innovated and today it offers a series of online digital platforms largely aimed at financial institutions. In order to position itself as authority on the intersection between technology and finance, while at the same time reaching out to emerging companies which could be potential customers, Kurtosys created the Fintech blog. Updated at least several times a month, the blog takes a 360 degree look at the Fintech world and aims to ensure that the reader is up to date with what is happening in a what is a very fast moving industry. One very smart move is that the company, which has clients across the globe, has profiled the Fintech scene in individual countries like this post on Brazil. It is really good read dipping into the historical and political context of the country and highlighting why it boasts so many innovative Fintech companies. There is information on both regulation and the companies that are operating there. It is made even more engaging, well to this reader anyhow, by the inclusion of gratuitous footballing analogies and references. It is one small part of a larger content output from Kurtosys which also includes videos, infographics and webinars. The company operates the new business funnel in a classic and highly effective way drawing readers in via top of the funeral SEO-friendly engaging content and then gently pushing them on to content like the webinars and videos which are more likely to secure a sale. Commissioned by the CMA       Read more Read More News Articles »
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