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International Content Marketing Awards 2018   The International Content Marketing Awards are the biggest night in the content marketing calendar. Agencies from across the world offer up their greatest work from the past 12 months for judgement by some of the biggest names in marketing. We are excited to announce that there are 24 categories available to enter this year, to win Gold, Silver and Bronze.  The winners from categories excluding individual awards (Editor, Designer & Rising Star) will be put forward for consideration for the ultimate Grand Prix award. For more information on the categories, please click here. HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2017 KEY DATES Entry deadline: Friday 7th September 2018 Shortlist announced: Monday 8th October 2018 Awards evening: Tuesday 27th November 2018 LOCATION The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, Camden, London NW1 8EH COSTS Ticket prices remain the same for the 3rd consecutive year. CMA Member Award Entry – £199 + VAT Non – Member Award Entry – £299 + VAT CMA Members qualify for Early Bird entry costs of £156 plus VAT per entry for a limited time. Get in touch for details. CMA Member Individual Award Ticket – £399 + VAT Non- Member Individual Award Ticket – £499 + VAT The ticket price includes entertainment, a delicious 3 course meal and UNLIMITED wine and beer HOST We are delighted to announce that this years host is the hilarious Rob Beckett! If you have any queries, please head to our FAQ page, here #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Subscribe to our mailing list * indicates required Name Job Title * Company * Email Address * Where they found us (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[1]='NAME';ftypes[1]='text';fnames[4]='MMERGE4';ftypes[4]='text';fnames[6]='MMERGE6';ftypes[6]='text';fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';fnames[2]='MMERGE2';ftypes[2]='text';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Read more Key Content Marketing Trends in 2018 Earlier in the year, we published an article which highlighted the key trends it believes will shape content marketing in 2018. We suggested that brands would diversify the type of content they produce, and would also invest in developing multidisciplinary content teams. We predicted that GDPR would have a significant impact on the shape of content marketing and that social issues could come to the fore. I think that in many ways we have been more right than wrong in our predictions. Certainly GDPR is a catalyst for seismic change. With the quieter summer months looming we wondered what the companies who are at the cutting edge of content marketing in the UK thought of the way that the discipline has evolved this year. Overall around 20 companies took part with key executives offering their opinions. What we discovered was that content marketers have plenty to be concerned about from GDPR though to emerging social platforms, but they are overwhelming mostly focused on with producing quality content. The impact of fake news and GDPR It is hard to overstate the impact of the growth of fake news on brand communications. That isn’t to say that brands were ever in the business of tricking their consumers. The increasing scepticism with which consumers view social content however has meant that there has been a clear shift from filling platforms with large amounts of content to delivering high quality stories, videos and images that will engage consumers. This includes podcasts and longform, but on an everyday basis means that blog posts, listicles and social updates are more thought out, crafted, ruthlessly edited and rooted in strategy  than ever. Fortunately brands have an emerging ally in their quest for content that will chime with consumers – technology. Use of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence continues to grow in content marketing, from helping brands to personalise content through to optimising the reach of that content. The other huge question for content marketers is to how to handle the fall out from the introduction of GDPR last month. Some companies have seen their email lists decimated, while others have started from scratch with new ones. Yet, as tricky as its implementation has been, GDPR presents brands with an opportunity. How can they both create and maintain meaningful relationships with consumers? The longest list of email addresses ever is pretty useless if no one opens the communications that the brand sends. So, it is fascinating time for content marketers of all types. Click here to download the report. Ashley Norris, Content Consultant, The CMA Read more All hail the rebirth of the Podcast One topic that we often discuss at the CMA office is the question of ‘how should agencies market themselves?’ We are lucky. Many of our members are great at instituting content marketing programmes that feed both SEO and media relations campaigns, while at the same time highlight thought leadership and business acumen. In fact, the standard of content that is produced by our members on their own websites and blogs is really high, award winning in fact! Dispelling the myth that agencies aren’t actually that great at marketing themselves. It does, however, beg the question ‘what can agencies do to stand out further?’ Obviously speaking at events, especially CMA events, is one way of highlighting an agency’s key differentiators, and we are always keen to hear from members who want to contribute to the events we run. Another way of exhibiting thought leadership, and ensuring high levels of engagement from both existing clients and potential prospects, is via the rising phenomenon of podcasts A year or two ago the jury was very much out on podcasts as a format. The success of Serial, and the many shows that followed it, had revitalised the media, but I wonder if many marketers assumed it would be a short passing fad. That hasn’t proved to be the case and the latest figures from Nielsen in the US shows that almost 50% of Americans listen to them. Brands have also commandeered podcasts as a way of deepening their relationship with their customers. Where they work so well is in engaging the listener. If you can persuade someone to listen to half an hour of audio from your brand you have attained incredible levels of customer loyalty. Inevitably then most branded podcasts tend to be fairly subtle in their approach, offering insight, advice and, sometimes even, humour in a very light way. Branded messages are low-key and intelligently placed. Great British podcasts CMA members have been at the forefront of producing podcasts. TCO has created an excellent series called Joining The Dots for its client leisurewear company Size. The podcast takes the form of deep dive interviews helmed by polymath Don Letts. Other members too have delivered podcasts for brands. Companies with a publishing heritage, such as News UK and Bloomberg, boast many podcasts tackling all manner of topics, And there is now a solid assortment of branded podcasts from the UK the best of which include Penguin, Boots, Unbound and Landrover. There are also a growing number of industry podcasts, like for example the always stimulating Media Voices which focuses on publishing and the media, and the Campaign podcast which takes a broader view of issues the marketing industry is grappling with. Going back to the original point though there is clearly an opportunity for agencies to use podcasts to parade their thought leadership thereby increasing brand awareness and ultimately attracting new business. Several CMA members have already produced podcasts in this way the most high profile of which is the iProspect podcast. Its series of shows tackle some of the key technological challenges facing marketers at the moment, unpacking them in an informed, but informal way. For example, if you are confused about the difference between Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning, this discussion, between three of the company’s senior team, is a great place to start. As you’d expect iProspect also cleverly weaves clients and case studies into their podcasts, so for example, the podcast on chatbots not only focuses on their evolution as a format but also features Diageo’s Paid Social strategy as a case study. Another CMA member that has harnessed podcasts to show thought leadership is Havas. Similar to the iProspect offering its episodes tend to feature its experts discussing how technological change is both impacting on consumers and empowering marketers. Archant Dialogue is putting together the finishing touches to their “Dialogue With” podcast which will go live later this month. As with all B2B content reach is less of an issue than perhaps it is with its B2C equivalent. Numbers might not be so important, but getting the podcast heard by its core target audience is clearly essential. It is here that social media, as well as paid advertising, has an important role to play. One other way of extending the reach is by inviting influencers on to the podcast as they will invariably promote the episode to potentially new audiences through their own channels.   Deciding to create a podcast is one thing, there are then a series of editorial challenges from ensuring the content is compelling enough to keep people listening, to deciding on the format and tone and much else. If these are issues you are wrestling with the CMA is running a podcast workshop on August 21st where Kobi Omenaka, Podcaster, Digital Marketing Consultant and Startup Mentor whose Podcast CV includes The Guardian’s “The Business Podcast”, The Kobestarr Digital Podcast, The Wire: Stripped Flixwatcher to mention just a few, will run through the basics, and offer insight into how to make the podcast compelling. The CMA podcast Here at the CMA we have taken the plunge and decided that creating our own podcast would be a wonderful thing! Launching in September we will be producing a series of podcasts ranging from interviews with our members to hints and tips to assist you in the evolving world of marketing. Be sure to tune in! Contact Rob.John@the-cma.com if you are interested in taking part.               Read more How AI platforms are improving content marketing strategies In a world where almost every business is investing in content marketing, the internet has become flooded with content (and most of it, not very good). To be able to keep your audience’s attention you must be creating high-quality content – and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help you do just that. AI has come a long way since the question of intelligent machines was first asked back in the 1950’s. It’s all around us now; Amazon uses it to recommend us products, Apple uses it to listen to and answer questions with Siri, even delivery services use it to work out the best routes for their drivers. Some marketers are worried AI may eventually take their jobs, but content and artificial intelligence are a match made in marketing heaven. AI can be used by marketers to automate any manual and repetitive task, saving your time so you can think up some great ideas for more creative content. Auditing content If there is one thing AI is undoubtedly better at than people, it is analysing data. Using AI to examine your old content, you can create a strategy for future content that will resonate with your audience and improve your SEO. Content inventories and audits are an essential part of your content marketing strategy as they can have a substantial effect on SEO. It’s likely when you started your content marketing you were not entirely sure of what you were doing. You may have just put out large quantities of content with little detail and few insights in the hopes that the sheer amount would bring traffic to your site. Content like this can have a negative impact on your SEO as Google’s Panda algorithm penalises sites that have weak and thin content. Even if all of your content is broad with in-depth insights, the older content on your site is probably out of date, with information that is no longer relevant and has an old date stamp. These things are probably causing high bounce rates on these pieces of content which, again, affects SEO. You can use AI platforms to quickly audit your content, see what performs well, as well as what is outdated and needs a refresh. You can then use these insights for creating future content and removing old content from your site. Spying on competitors There are many tools out there that let you monitor your competitor’s digital footprint. Rather than spending hours manually scrolling through your competitor’s social media and website, a machine can do this for you in minutes. You can use insights gained from these tools to create a more effective marketing strategy – Analyse what is working well for your competitors and why. Then use these insights to develop content that will perform well for the same reasons. You can also use these insights to see gaps in your competitors content marketing and fill these gaps in your own strategy. This gives you the opportunity to capture their audience by providing them with the information they can’t get from your competitor. Personalising content AI tools are now examining trends to tell you what type of content your audience wants to see. They can do this, not just in a broad way but recommend personalised content for each member of your audience. Once your audience has consumed that content, AI can then recommend the next piece of content to them. These recommendations are based on their behaviour, demographics, interactions with your website and other detailed data it has accumulated about them. Customers are increasingly demanding personalised engagement – 79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized. The personalisation makes them feel special and also provides them with better content and recommendations. Marketing can often feel disconnected with so many different channels, but AI helps you integrate these channels together and create more customer-focused content. Measuring the results Even if you are exceptionally good at analysing your marketing metrics, manual analysis is not scalable. AI can simplify analytics of your content and merge data from multiple sources saving you vast amounts of time you would otherwise spend accumulating and analysing data. The primary purpose of content marketing analytics is to understand your audience, how they behave, what they like, and what they think of your products. AI allows you access to these insights without you manually having to take the time to find them yourselves. AI can then also make recommendations about what content you should post in future from analysis of the data and these recommendations come without any bias from a human, meaning you should see better results. Kerri Rogers, Content Specialist, JBH Content Agency Read more Four reasons to enter the CMA awards Swapping your desks for a sun lounger? With the unprecedented summer climate distracting and disrupting everyone’s work and sleep patterns, if you must focus on one thing before you swap your desk for a sun lounger it is your CMA award entry. You can read the main details here, but with a deadline of September 7th to submit your entries, teams need to get cracking. We should start by stating the obvious that winning any of our awards is a highly credible, respected recognition of some fantastic work. It obviously has huge benefits for everything from new business generation (‘did we tell you about award?’) through to recruitment (‘come and join an award winning agency’). Yet aside from the obvious there are other more subtle reasons why you ought to be spending the next few weeks compiling your awards entries. 1. It forces you to evaluate the work you have done Awards in general, and the CMA awards in particular, cause teams to stop for moment and reflect. Not just about how successful the campaign has been and whether it has hit the required KPIs, but also about the journey. What worked well? What could have been done better? Re-evaluating campaigns can help lead us to conclusions which may end up colouring the work we do with that client or in the future with other clients. 2. You get the chance to establish your credentials in different areas What unites CMA members is that we all work in the sphere of audience first content marketing. However, if you have a specific focus or expertise – such as videos creation, SEO or media relations being part of a Content Marketing Award gives companies a chance to underline their credentials in areas that they might not necessarily be associated with; which as we know can have a profound affect on new business. 3. Your clients love it almost as much as you do Along with winning new business, retention is key to any agency, and there’s no better way to keeping a client on your good side than winning an award for a campaign you have both worked on. Sometimes clients have a limited understanding as to the excellence of the work that has been undertaken on their behalf. Industry wide recognition is a positive way to, bring this to their attention. Even if you enter but don’t make the Nominee list, the awards process and the ambition of winning will bring the relationship between client and agency that little bit closer. 4. Never judge someone by the opinion of others.” Anonymous Every entry is judged on its own merit, with the focus being effectiveness and with budget and size not being the primary focus.  So, you don’t have to responsible for a large budget or to have reached millions of individuals to a be a winner. The questions for you and your client or agency to consider when laying in the shade are: “was it effective?” “Did the campaign deliver against the objectives?” “Is there a clear brand synergy within the campaign?” and finally……………. We pride ourselves on the quality of our CMA judging panel. Judges are drawn from across the industry and feature content marketing influencers, editors, publishers and marketers from brands so you can be assured that your work is being judged by the best of the best! Ashley Norris, Editorial Consultant, The CMA Read more How Instagram’s IGTV innovation will change content marketing A couple of weeks ago Instagram made what might turn out to be one of the most significant social media announcements of 2018. It unveiled IGTV, its new longform, vertical video, full screen platform that is available in the Instagram app as well as a standalone IGTV app. Individuals and brands have been able to upload videos to Instagram for a while but there have been limitations. IGTV addresses these and then some. As video creation solutions provider Wochit explained on their blog, “the new platform is an amalgamation of concepts seen elsewhere – videos are shown vertically and full screen (like Snapchat or Instagram Stories), and brands or users host them on their own channels (similar to YouTube). Videos can be anywhere from 15 seconds to one hour in length and can be shared over a direct message, favourited or commented on like a regular Instagram post” The long-form potential of IGTV has already piqued the interest of both brands and content creators as it seems to address the growing trend for longer, more engaging content, while opening up new avenues for them to explore. “I believe in the unparalleled ability of AV to connect with the viewer on an emotional level,” says Sophie Bowen, Strategist at Cedar Communications. “So, at a time when we are being told to make video shorter and shorter to catch a tenuous ‘view’, it is an exciting move because at the very least I hope it shows a return to content less transient and a belief in the validity of longer form video on social platforms other than YouTube.” In many ways it is surprising that it has taken Instagram, and indeed its owners Facebook, so long to develop a premium video option. Given the massive popularity of Instagram with both Millennials and Gen Z it has a huge potential audience. Secondly full-screen, vertical mobile videos with significant running times are a big point of difference with other social platforms. There is also talk of ads being rolled out across the network at some point later in the year to increase its attractiveness to brands. Needless to say, the usual suspects (innovative brands and media companies) have piled in already. BuzzFeed, Vogue, BBC, The Economist, Louis Vuitton, Bacardi, Cheddar, The Food Network and Chipotle have already started experimenting with the format and we are seeing musicians use it to release new tracks and indeed albums. The bigger picture So why launch now? Sebastian Redenz, Head of Paid Social, iProspect believes that Instagram and Facebook had no choice as they are playing catch up. “Currently, YouTube and Snapchat provide brands with strong original content offerings, particularly long-form. In my opinion, IGTV is Facebook’s attempt to join the original content space.” However, Sebastian also thinks that as well as increasing dwell times for Instagram to serve more ads, IGTV is actually a bit of trial run for potential future Facebook plans. Innovations like IGTV will enable social platforms to be able to distribute studio made content positioning them as a possible rival to both existing broadcasters and on demand video portals like Netflix. “I think it is about gathering learnings and insights that help pave the way for an eventual launch of their big bet FB Watch at some point in the future. Brands will experiment with IGTV and start releasing longer edits of material used for Stories. When you evaluate the success of IGTV, it will be about key metrics such as intent to watch, watch time and retention.”  The challenge of vertical video One of the key issues brands face is that the vertical video demands of IGTV mean that to harness the format in an optimum way they might need to invest more in their video output. As Patricio Robles of Econsultancy explains in this article there’s no free lunch for brands on IGTV. “One of the primary reasons for this is that IGTV uses the vertical video format. While it’s theoretically possible to repurpose videos created for horizontal formats like YouTube’s, more realistically publishers and brands will need to create content tailored to IGTV if they want to be successful. In other words, without an ability to quickly repurpose content, they will need to invest time and money in content creation for yet another digital platform.” Adam Neale, MD, Bold Content believes that IGTV will further strengthen the case for vertical video. But he agrees with the Econsultancy perspective that it presents challenges for brands. “You can’t just shoot 16×9 video and hope that it will also work in a vertical format.” he says.  “Close ups need to be framed differently as do interviews. If in a traditional 16×9 video, you have one person on the left side of the screen and another on the right, and they’re having a conversation, then in vertical video you need to decide who to favour rather than showing both at once.  To avoid a choppy edit you need an experienced editor who can use techniques such as L cuts to continue dialogue from one person as you see the image of the other person. Hence a new vertical visual language is established.” “Video production companies will need to be adaptable, creative, and innovative. It’s crucial that these companies are embracing the opportunities created by IGTV. Only time will tell how well IGTV does in competition with Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat and whether the vertical format will entice filmmakers to try new things with the language of film.” Implications of long-form The second key issue for brands and creators is learning how to adapt long-form video to the new format. In the past Instagram has been a terrible place for long-form content claims Florie-Anne Virgile, Founder, Myth-To-Measure. “Recently, I watched Sophia Bush’s IG story about the heartbreaking separations of families at the border in the US. She’s literally crying live after watching footage of kids in court trying to defend themselves without lawyers or just a basic understanding of what’s happening. She’s crying, it’s raw, it’s real. And she gets cut every minute. The whole experience starts feeling a bit fake after a while, because of those cuts.” “As a content producer I think IGTV is the answer to a need that has been growing since the launch of IG live: the possibility to produce videos longer than one minute. We’ve all watched IG stories where content creators had to record or edit and cut 10 videos to say what they had to say. IGTV will prevent this from happening. The limitations of Instagram and how IGTV addresses these have also been noted by Kevin Gibbons, MD, BlueGlass. “IG stories are great for short snippets, but for long videos they break up into multiple clips – which isn’t the best user experience. Plus, standard IG video posts are capped to 60 seconds. So, I think there was a demand for consuming video content this way. From a publisher/marketing perspective, right now is a great chance to stand out. Getting your story watched is very competitive, but IGTV is promoted ahead of this, with less people using it so far because it’s brand new – so now’s the time to jump in and try it. Gaining reach However, while there are many content creators who are very excited about the potential of IGTV others strike a note of caution. Navigate Video believes that “if any platform can compete with YouTube, Instagram (the second most popular mobile social networking platform) is the best option.’ But they add “however, brands need to consider whether creating content for IGTV is actually beneficial for their brand and for reaching their target audience, and if so, how they are going to incorporate this new platform into their content marketing strategy. There is no one-size-fits-all approach with video, especially for a new platform like IGTV where brands are still trying to figure out how they can use it.” Finding content on the new platform might also present a roadblock too ToTheEnd believes that smaller brands need not get too excited. “With a real lack of decent discovery opportunities for those who aren’t Kim Kardashian, it might be a nice additional offering for smaller accounts to give to their audience, but such little reward doesn’t yet justify real time spent on the platform.” No matter how it develops the arrival of IGTV is forcing brands to take another look at their video strategies. As Mats Gylldorff, European Media Partner explains, “there is a great possibility that IGTV will be a good compliment to e.g. YouTube. IGTV has a creator focus and already existing eyeballs. If you believe your audience will consume content on IGTV you should do strategic testing and share content on a regular basis and focus on quality, relevance and creative content.” Ultimately though as Dialogue‘s Howard Wilmot adds, in order to make the most of the new format, brands are going to need to move quickly “As with all new digital opportunities, it seems the window of opportunity is only ever open for so long before the space becomes too saturated.” So, what do you think? Is IGTV the platform that brands have been waiting for? Or is it going to further complicate an already crowded and diffuse video marketplace? Ashley Norris, Editorial Consultant, The CMA Read more New Content Marketing Association (CMA) award acknowledges intersection of content and PR Over the last couple of years, we have noticed a growing interest in content marketing from the ​PR departments of brands and dedicated PR agencies. “More and more members with a PR background are joining the Content Marketing Association (CMA) and attending our events, while we are increasingly receiving requests to address audiences of PR execs at conferences,” says Catherine Maskell, MD of the CMA. “So, with many companies and agencies now creating integrated campaigns which blend owned (their websites and social channels), paid for (ads) and now earned (coverage achieved via PR) media we thought it was high time that a CMA award reflected this.” Hence, for the first time, the CMA have introduced the award for Best Use of Content Within Media Relations. “We are looking for examples of the way that imaginative and creative content has generated successful media coverage,” says Catherine. “But ultimately delivered measurable business outcomes.” In the b2b space this could mean a thought leadership article, a survey or a white paper that has been widely reported by the press and has generated significant new business leads. In the consumer sphere we are looking for content like video, an infographic or image content that has been widely circulated and picked up by media outlets. It can be an integrated campaign, as long as there is a key element of earned media. You don’t have to be a CMA member, or indeed have a history of content marketing to enter. You also don’t have to be a PR agency (or from a department in a brand). The winner will be chosen on the strength of the campaign and the results it delivered irrespective of where it emanates from. The details on how to enter the award are ​here​.   Read more Award Winners: Rising Star, Tom Cornish In addition to the awards for campaigns and media, the CMA Awards also offers individuals the chance to shine. Editor of the year and Designer are up for grabs alongside an award introduced for the first time last year for ‘Rising Star’ – the person under the age of 30 who have demonstrated they have played an important part in their company’s content marketing success. In 2017 the clear winner was Tom Cornish, the Influencer Marketing Director from Wavemaker. Tom has already notched up an impressive career working with both PR and media agencies, but he thinks that the move to Wavemaker gave him an opportunity to make his mark. “Since being at Wavemaker I’ve become more prominent in what the business does, so it’s opened up some big opportunities for me,” explains Tom. “I’ve moved over to focusing on influencer marketing more recently, which is a big strand of what we do as a content practice.” “The influencer marketing practice works across the whole business,” adds Tom. “So we work for  big clients, but because influencer marketing is quite agile, quick to activate, relatively inexpensive compared to something like TV – it also means we work with a lot of our smaller clients. So, we have done campaigns for a train operator called C2C, which has had some brilliant success. They actually got silver in the Content Marketing Awards last year for an influencer campaign in the Best Use of Monetised Content category.” Great work Wavemaker entered many CMA awards in 2017 and it was Abi Morrish, Head of Digital Engagement at Wavemaker, who pushed Tom into entering for rising star. “We have a marketing department within the agency, and one of the responsibilities of that department is to find relevant awards for us to take part in. And it was through my boss at the time, Abi Morrish, that I f got wind of the CMA Rising Star award.” “She, for better or worse, thought that I could do it. And she said, ‘you should put yourself forward for this.’ To be honest, I don’t think I would have, without her giving me that nudge.” Together Abi and Tom filled out the application highlighting some of the excellent work that Wavemaker in general, and Tom in particular, had done in the previous year. “I talked a lot about the C2C work that we’d done, because that was being submitted at the same awards. Also, we talked quite a lot about some of the new business stuff that we’d done.” “I was also doing a lot of planning, helping our teams to work on social content, to have a bit of strategic direction in what they were going to do over the course of the year. So, we talked quite a lot about that stuff and the impact that those changes and strategies had had on the brands.” Although Tom clearly had a really strong entry he admits to feeling “gobsmacked” when on the night his name was called. Bit of a blur “My first reaction was that they were just putting up the names of everybody else before the person who’d won. And in my head, was just, ‘well that’s not me.’ And it’s genuinely just a blur from that point until later when there was this short piece to camera afterwards out back, and that was kind of when I was back in the room. It was amazing, really. I did not see it coming.” Many companies, when they win awards have established practices for sharing the good news, which means pushing the news out to the media and sharing across social channels. With the Rising Star award Wavemaker’s approach was more nuanced. “It’s been more organic, because I wouldn’t really have wanted to be trotted out by Wavemaker and used as a marketing tool, and I think that they are respectful of that,” explains Tom. From a career perspective too winning an award can be transformative. “The award has raised my profile internally and people are now more aware of who I am.,” adds Tom. “There’s been, people contacting me on there and congratulating me – people I’ve worked with in the past, which is really nice.” Finally Tom has some advice for people entering the awards this year. “I think you need to have a story, I think you need to have a reason for winning the award, over and above the numbers, and performance of the work that you’ve done.” Read more Award Winning Agencies: Mediaplanet “Reputation and credibility are very important to us. Previously, it could be said we were a bit of a ‘churn and burn’ supplement company. Now, we’re winning gold awards for content marketing. It was a long journey, and we put the work in to get where we are now. Awards like this are credit to that.” Two years ago, Alex Williams, MD of Mediaplanet, had a pressing issue to deal with. Although the company could boast 16 offices worldwide and claim to be Europe’s largest content marketing agency, Mediaplanet was still relatively unknown in the UK. The catalyst for change was the 2016 Content Marketing Awards. “We applied for the CMA awards in 2016, won a bronze award and saw a lift in our business,” explains Alex. “It was a great achievement. We were there to throw our weight around with the big content marketing companies. But we knew that next time we wanted to win gold.” So, in 2017, Mediaplanet joined up as members of the CMA and that year, applied for just one award, with big hopes for a prize. “We were confident our 2017 campaign entry was a lot stronger than what we put forward for 2016. It’s a title we run every year, but we were particularly proud of this year’s content, influencers and distribution, as were our clients!” The campaign promoted women in STEM. As Alex explains, “The campaign raises awareness of the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We really got under the skin of issues that are just not being covered around women in STEM; issues we felt that weren’t getting the coverage they deserve. Then we reached out to key partners like WISE, who felt the exact same way and were keen to support our diversity-inspired agenda” “The gender split in senior positions in STEM is skewed 80:20 towards men. This is something we wanted to tell people about and – hopefully – help to change. Our content aimed to inspire people, especially women, whether they were doing GCSEs, A Levels, apprenticeships, university degrees, or maybe looking at vocational courses. We presented them with inspirational role models: women who have gone through that journey and achieved great things; people high up in companies who are desperate for a change of voice. We talked about the importance of diversity and how recruiting people from different backgrounds would give companies fresh opinions, ideas and technologies, which actually reflect the diverse audience these companies want to identify with. And that is why we are so passionate about this campaign.” “What really motivated our partners though, was whose eyes we had looking at the content. We made sure our distribution was very carefully targeted. Of the 70,000 copies we printed, some went directly to head teachers and careers advisors in schools, others were given out at careers fairs, and we even got in front of parents and teachers simultaneously by distributing at PGA meetings. You have to understand that a lot of girls don’t get into STEM because society – accidentally or not – dissuades them from it. We just wanted to say that, if your child is interested in those areas, there is a viable career path for them. We were able to show how these women were changing the world through the work they are doing, and that the girls of the future could too.” “The award that Mediaplanet won was ‘Best Distribution Strategy’ and it was a recognition of our robust distribution strategy. We’re proud of that. We’re doing something really important here, and this award means we’re doing it well.” One reason the campaign was so successful was the incredible level of support they received. “We partnered with European space agency and had people from NASA talking about the campaign. We even had a female astronaut tweet us from space! That really got some traction for our message.” Nerves on the night Even though the narrative of the campaign was strong and Mediaplanet had a very clear and measurable ROI to show the judges, they weren’t sure whether they would win the award. Alex says he had never been that nervous in his life. “The awards were more than just about that one campaign, though. The whole night gave the team a chance to feel incredibly proud, motivated and inspired for the projects they cover; it was a really special evening” says Alex. “It was as much for the staff as it was the company and what we were promoting,” he explains. “It was so important for the team to see that their hard work was worth it. I think we are bad in the marketing industry for not celebrating our staff when they do good work.” Alex says that the award has been a pivotal part of their credentials for this year. “Once we were nominated, we started leveraging that with our clients. One of our USPs is how we reach our target audience; we are not just producing content, we are distributing it too, so that’s a huge part for us.” “We work with national newspapers and specialist publications in distribution, so, to win an award for distribution was everything. It is our USP that has been accredited.” “Realistically, it has helped us in terms of letting people know about what we do and how we do it. It has helped increase the company profile in the UK.” The awards procedure is already in full swing and Mediaplanet has high hopes that it might repeat its success this year. “We have lots of really strong campaigns for 2018. Maybe we’ll enter more than one category this time!” For more details on the awards and how to enter them, check out this page here.   Read more Measurement Survey Measurement has been identified by our CMA members as one of the major issues facing the content marketing industry. So we have a set up a CMA Special Interest group specifically to assess and develop a “best practice” approach that can be used to promote and use in the future. Now, more than ever, content marketing needs to find a repeatable and robust method for measuring the value delivered to clients and together we would like to crack it! So with this in mind, we would like to gain some credible research from all content enthusiasts about current existing thoughts and processes on ROI and measurement. Please take 4 mins to complete the survey below. Your time is greatly appreciated, a full report will be shared in September 2018. To be in with a chance of winning £100’s worth of M&S vouchers, please fill in the data capture section at the end of the survey. If you work for a brand, please complete this survey. If you work for an agency, please complete this survey.   Read more Five innovative examples of content marketing from the US The content marketing industry in the UK is buoyant. According to a recent-ish report from Yahoo and Enders Analysis, it will apparently be worth £349 million in 2020, up from £125 million in 2014. It seems like we are finally catching up with the US which has over recent years witnessed a massive surge in investment in branded content. In fact, according to a report published last November by market research firm Technavio, the global content marketing industry will grow at an annual rate of 16% per year through 2021, reaching $412 billion by the end of 2021. It would however be churlish of us not to admit that some of the best examples of how companies harness content come from the other side of the pond. So here is a selection of great examples to inspire you. SAP Hybris At first glance the Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce looks like a standalone editorial site, and a great one at that. It is brimming with insightful thought leaderships articles and state of the industry surveys. The site, however, is an important lead generation tool for SAP Hybris, a company which creates customer engagement software and has partnerships with many of the world’s biggest enterprises. SAP Hybris’ strategy is to encourage potential customers to dip into the website’s high quality content and then to shift them along the funnel. Perhaps firstly to signing up to an email, but then moving them along to SAP Hybris’ more salesy content which they hope will create paying customers. The site is a textbook example of how to harness quality content and SEO techniques to creates sales leads. Away Travel One of the big questions the founders of startup Away Travel had to grapple with was ‘how do you make luggage interesting?’ How do you shift the dial from being perceived as a bag maker to emerging as a lifestyle travel brand. The solution for Away has been content and in particular its excellent content portal here. It’s a first class travel magazine that mixes advice – like improving your travel selfies – with guides, such as finding the best restaurants in Madrid. The content is short, pithy and engaging and accompanied by high quality images. In 2017 Away followed in the footsteps of Airbnb and ASOS and created a printed version of Here. It has a high ticket price of $25, but for that investment its readers are able to revel in some glorious photography and excellent long form content. First Round A few years ago Venture Capitalists realised that if they wanted to attract the hottest tech startups they would have to create great content to underline their approach and thought leadership. First Round does this on an almost industrial scale and is reaping the rewards for its diligence. It boasts a suite of nine online magazines, from sales through to fundraising, which offer insight and advice for growing tech companies. The quality of the content, much of which is verging on longform, is uniformly excellent. In the last year the company has also innovated ensuring it is where its customers are on social channels like Medium, but also creating First Search, a comprehensive database of articles about companies compiled from across the web. Users offer up a little information about themselves, and the search engine optimises the features it delivers to them. General Electric General Electric is a content marketing innovator which has over the years delivered a huge content portal, experimented with emerging social platforms and pioneered the use of technology such as drones in branded content creation. In many ways its flagship content site, GE Reports is the gold standard of branded tech content – an inspired mixture of forward looking technological articles and videos often illustrated by company case studies. The roundup of The 5 Coolest Things On Earth This Week which focuses on brilliant innovations from the world of academia, is unmissable. Tomas Kellner, the editor in chief at GE recently told Forbes that the quality of branded content has to be really high now to enable any kind of cut through with audiences.  “GE Reports’ competition isn’t IBM or Boeing or Intel,” Kellner says, it’s really The Wall Street Journal. His mission is to break through the noise and distractions of cell phones, incessant notifications, media saturation. It’s not easy. “People don’t set aside 10 minutes each day to read branded content,” Kellner says. Bloomberg One of the key issues for many established companies is ‘how do you change culture?’ There is often a clear demarcation, with the majority of the management teams from Generation X and employees being Millennials. Yet it is important that the attitudes and tastes of the younger employees are communicated, not just to the management, but across the business and indeed reflected to the outside world. And this is an issue that content can help address. A really great example is the Diversity and Inclusion blog from Bloomberg. It is an inspired mixture of help and advice for employees from all backgrounds on how to increase workplace inclusivity. So, for example there are articles on the power of mentorship, LGBT+ inclusion in Asia and why a multigenerational workforce is a competitive advantage. The content is helpful and insightful but sometimes challenging too with calls to action to Bloomberg employees to create a truly diverse and inclusive workplace. It will be interesting to see if other larger enterprises adopt a similar approach. Ashley Norris, Content Consultant, The CMA   Read more How brands are using humour to show personality and gain trust It’s all about trust. As consumers, we are losing trust in the brands we buy from. With the rise of fake news, post-truth, the recent Facebook data scandals and the brand safety issues surrounding YouTube, this is all hardly surprising. So, what is it that brands need to do to win back the trust of their target audience? Of the many answers to this question, one of the most important is personality. Brands attempting to show their personality through their content reveal more of who they are and what makes them tick – creating a more genuine and loyal relationship with their consumers. Central to all of this is the subject of humour. When done right, adding humour to content can be the best way to reveal personality. However, as we all know, there is a fine line between being funny and head-in-hands cringe. If you’re not careful, humour can backfire terribly risking the ridicule of your social audience and an image that’s hard to shake off. So, how are brands using humour? Here’s a list of some of our favourite brands that are doing it well (and some that aren’t…) 1) New Zealand Tourist Board Famous for their self-deprecating sense of humour, this piece from the NZ tourist board is a great example of fun, engaging content. Showing that even their own Prime Minister has a sense of humour, this film sees a local private detective attempting to work out why New Zealand is disappearing from the world’s maps. 2) Hostelworld Widely applauded, the series of films from Hostelworld sees celebrities ‘slum it’ by staying in an American hostel, usually frequented by students and travellers. In this case, famously troublesome guest and super-celebrity Mariah Carey is pleasantly surprised by what she finds when her team mistakenly book her in to the wrong hotel. 3) SodaStream Along similar lines to the Dollar Shave Club factory walk-through, this is certainly one of the better recruitment films we’ve seen over the years. With a large helping of self-deprecating humour throughout, SodaStream definitely ensures we get to know the people and the brand as we are warmly welcomed to join the team. 4) Volvo An oldie but goodie. ‘The Epic Split’ features a fantastic pairing of the Swedish Volvo brand with the cool and composed Belgian, Jean-Claude Van Damme. Held up as one of the great executions of the last 10 years, Volvo creates a masterpiece that you just have to crack a smile at.  (The ‘making-of’ film is also well worth seeking out.) Note: the important role that music plays here to complement the film and enhance the ambience. 5) Yoti And finally, we’ve included this one as an example of how even serious issues can be dealt with cleverly using humour. The element of humour (here used to illustrate how easily someone can adopt a fake identity) is used to draw the audience into a difficult, yet important subject, and gently provide the shock needed to encourage the audience to take the issue seriously. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Of course, it’s not all good. It would be remiss of us to publish an article on humour without adding the very strong caveat that, with humour, things can also go very wrong. Humour is a very subjective thing that will touch the funny bones of some, but not of others. So, a word of warning, be careful how you use humour and be sure to test your idea out on as large a sample pool as you can before pressing the big, red ‘Live’ button. Here’s a couple of examples we feel simply miss the mark, but we’d love to hear what you think, or if you live in the countries these ads were aimed at, where the reception might have been very different from the one we’re giving them over here! 6) POM (USA) 7) Pizza Hut (Singapore)  Nick Hajdu, Co-Founder, Navigate Video Read more CMA Member Exclusive Discount on VR & AR Training Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) 1 Day Training Masterclass London Thursday 27th September Background to this workshop By 2021, the combined market size of augmented and virtual reality is expected to reach 215 billion U.S. dollars. All around us we are now seeing examples of where both VR and AR can reshape existing ways of doing things- buying a new home, educating children, interacting with a doctor or watching a concert with VR and the recent launches of Apple’s AR Kit and Google’s ARC Core proves the tech giants continued investment in Augmented Reality applications. Some commentators now believe in the next 18 months that AR has a higher potential for growth than its more higher profile VR cousin. What is certain is that both VR and AR advances and price points decline enable these immersive technologies to offer incredible almost limitless creative opportunities ranging from experiences based to live-action, replicating traditional storytelling and filmmaking, pioneering 360 content production computer-generated content for learning and education and much more. About this 1 Day Workshop: On this 1 day workshop you be will introduce attendees to the fundamental pillars and creative possibilities of virtual reality and augmented technology which are disrupting the entertainment, engineering, property and healthcare industries. Attendees will learn how to create and manage immersive technology environments, design 3D scenes and be taught the essential element of interactivity using Oculus Rift and Touch technology Who should attend This workshop is designed for marketing professionals, creatives, technologists, storytellers, writers and film producers, senior strategists and entrepreneurs who wish to fully understand the core principles and practical applications of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology Training Venue: Wework Southcentral The workshop will be held at Wework Southcentral, 33 Stamford St, South Bank, London SE1 9PY: https://goo.gl/maps/oe12djGqEWL2 What you will learn by attending this workshop The workshop will include the following modules Introduction to VR and AR – A brief history of VR and AR, – The titans of VR and AR explained; Oculus/Facebook, Samsung, Sony, Apple and Google. – The essential ingredients of presence (Tracking, FoV, peripherals, haptics, foveated rendering, locomotion, 3D audio etc) – The continued rise of MR and AR (Inside-out tracking, MS HoloLens (I will try and bring one) and why it is so important. Content and Distribution – VR, AR and 360 content distribution platforms – What content is working and what is not – The commercial landscape – Software development platforms – Introduction to social VR – Creative tools VR production process explained – 360 degree capture – 360 video formats – Editing 360 content – Capturing 360 sound and core principles of 360 production – How to make a simple webVR app – Group 360 photo tour project, from concept to delivery Use cases for immersive technology – How immersive is revolutionising multiple verticals, from healthcare, recruitment, productivity to training. – Integration of VR into existing workflows – Practical applications of ARKit and ARCore The Future of VR and AR – The new 180 degree format – Volumetric video capture and photogrammetry – Making a simple VR animation (each person will need their laptop) – Artificial intelligence, 5G and IOT – what these will mean for immersive – Q  and A About your Virtual Reality Workshop Trainer- Jonathan Tustain Jonathan Tustain has been fascinated and deeply involved in the virtual reality and AR industry all his life and has been immersed in the industry since 2012. He is founder of London’s largest VR meetup group, VR Developers Meetup and is well known in London VR circles, writing for founding mobile VR company Proteus and freefly VR and acts as a consultant for many companies and agencies seeking to test VR applications and speaks at regular VR events such as 2018 recent Future Tech Now VR in London He has written features and stories for Shots.net (for example – The future of digital actors), How it Works magazine and Yahoo and shoots video reports from VR events such as VRLO. Testimonials: Below are some customer feedback from attendees who have attended our workshops in 2017/2018: “I wanted to say that I had an EXTREMELY useful day at the VR Workshop – it covered all of the questions I had and I took away a lot of ideas as my knowledge about VR was greatly enhanced after this day. What I loved the most was the demo and examples given, the opportunity to play around with the equipment and to see the endless VR possibilities within a day. The VR Workshop has broadened my perspectives and awaken my imagination. A HUGE THANK YOU to both of you for organizing and running this great workshop – it will certainly make a difference to my line of work”  In-house Digital Executive- Knight Frank ‘As a producer for a production company I found this course incredibly useful. I was specifically looking for a workshop that was really practical and would expand my knowledge of the production process, trends and how best to use VR creatively. This course certainly delivered on these requirements and has inspired me to go learn more about this space’ Production manage- leading Ad Agency in London “We really enjoyed this workshop.  Jonathan clearly had a huge wealth of knowledge of the VR industry and was able to cover a lot of the positive aspects and pitfalls of VR.  It was an very interesting journey through the history of VR and also the different types of virtual media that existed. In many respects, this has given us more confidence in identifying the type of virtual media that would benefit a training solution we could offer in our area of business. We’re greatly appreciative to Jonathan for bringing some clarification to this from the huge range of VR choices. We made many notes of websites and facts concerning AR, VR and mixed reality that were really useful. It was also great that Jonathan had an understanding of the different range of tools that we could use to get started on VR. Jonathan also gave us some good leads on future VR training events, some of which we’ve signed up to already.” Digital Services Producer, The Police Cost to attend £450 is our normal retail rate Special rate for CMA members! Let’s Learn Digital are offering CMA members a special rate of £400 to attend our next workshop To reserve your place booking here: To redeem this offer, CMA members will just need to enter a code at the checkout. To get the code, please email: Hugo.deSoissons@the-cma.com Please contact us on david@letslearndigital.com or call direct on 07989 985922 if you have any questions on the above course. Read more Read More News Articles »
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