I had a conniption last week, and not the right sort… Unfortunately, it became apparent why some people refer to the marketing team as the colouring in department.
And I suspect this view is exacerbated for content marketers.
For context, I was judging the CMI 2019 Content Marketing Awards.
I want to say upfront I was honoured to be involved in judging, this is not a soapbox post or a dig at the awards, and there were a heap of cracking submissions that blew my socks off – more on this later.
The winners and finalists are indeed the best of the best, and there were myriad exceptional entries that unequivocally do not fall into the ‘colouring in department’.
But in too many instances, I didn’t believe there was a clear articulation of how content marketing was powering a paid, owned and earned (POE) ecosystem; or how the program delivered commercial outcomes.
And to be honest, some were little more than beautifully glossy entries peppered with bright images and colourful language in an attempt to tart up an otherwise dull campaign entry – i.e., perfectly coloured in between the lines.
When these elements aren’t front and centre, we do ourselves a disservice by reporting on stuff our executives just don’t care about.
In a recent post about judging, I said: “The critical element I’ll be awarding top marks for [are] submissions that show how the strategy enables business goals, and the execution delivers them.”
Rather than bemoan the industry or crucify the lesser lights, I want to focus on what made the most robust projects so outstanding.
It’s also worth calling out that some of the best examples operate in dull, low-interest categories. They are most definitely not the likes of Nike, Red Bull or Tourism Australia.
Hopefully, these redacted insights, which I’ve summarised and combined from some of my favourite entries, will help you steer a more robust path forward.
Content marketing strategy
Content is not a standalone. It’s the hero within a broader POE strategy. And their operating model straddles content, social, PR, SEO, customer insights, and performance marketing teams.
Content is underpinned by clear customer insights and an understanding of the emotional drivers behind the behaviour.
Content marketing results and return on investment
I can’t wait until the winners are announced as there are some cracking entries.
I encourage you to dissect what makes the best so good and to draw inspiration from (i.e. steal ideas) to strengthen your marketing efforts.