How to make content that strikes gold

What makes content award-winning? This week’s International Content Marketing Awards provided a few clues

It wouldn’t be an awards ceremony without a debate over who should or shouldn’t have won. But sitting at the CMA’s International Content Marketing Awards ceremony on Tuesday, a couple of things became clear.

There are no direct routes to success, but there are some familiar sights along the way.

A unique voice

The winner of the Grand Prix, as well as Best Video and Best Specialist, was The Truck Driver’s Mother, created by Geelmuyden Kiese on behalf of the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority.

Here it is:

Tasked with delivering information on Norwegian driving regulations, the video puts the mother of Polish truck driver travelling to Norway in the cab with him. She fusses over her son, warns him he’s going too fast and highlights some of the country’s driving laws that he may or may not be aware of.

There are all sorts of things to enjoy about the video. There’s the heavy lacing of humour thanks to Lukasz’s weary embarrassment at his mother’s busy fretting. There are also the gorgeous landscapes of Norway’s roads and mountains captured on the drives. The music choice is also inspired – a Polish lullaby updated into a contemporary, minimalist electro style. The editorial vision is clear and beautifully pulled off.

No arguments from anyone, it’s an excellent piece of content. But the root of its effectiveness is a simple angle: at the end of the day, everyone listens to their mum.

It’s a disarmingly literal way of thinking about content marketing. In an industry devoted to communicating a message, who better to do it? And it raises the issue of not how to deliver a message, but who should do it.

In the world of B2B video, for example, far too many companies resort to a standard ‘talking head in boardroom’ approach to content. And we’ve written before about three common B2B video mistakes and how to correct them.

There is a place for such an approach, of course, but a unique voice will always stand out.

Can you feature an underrepresented voice in your content? If you’re aiming to speak to HR execs in SMEs, why not feature an HR exec from an SME? You want to speak to an accountant? How about getting an accountant to do it? With beautiful production values and expert editorial guidance, anyone can be an effective, engaging subject.

Put content at the heart

Focusing further on B2B, and it was a successful night for Progressive Content, picking up the Best B2B gong for the RBS Group’s ContentLive solution.

ContentLive brings content front and centre. Essentially, it’s a content hub featuring comment, thought leadership, reports and guides. From the custom-built app, frontline staff can request content – receiving the finished article in as little as 48 hours from a dedicated editorial team.

That request content function means the audience receives tailored, timely articles. The emphasis on relevance and timing is vital to ContentLive’s success, showing how content can be the centrepiece of an organisation’s communication strategy.

But actually there’s even more to it than that. ContentLive isn’t just about transforming business communication, it’s about affecting the whole perception of the business. Content opens the doors of an organisation – it becomes more than a bank, but a genuinely useful information provider. It’s not enough to simply shout about your own services.

Find out what your audience needs and provide content that fills the gap. You may need an active insight team to help root out what would be the most useful, or it might just be a case of asking the right questions to as many of the audience as possible.

An ‘I saw this and thought of you’ approach, provided at scale, is a difficult feat to pull off but engaging, useful content is a surefire way to keep your audience happy – and keep them coming back for more, and maybe pick up a few awards along the way too.

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