I’ll be honest with you: I used to think that awards programs were just another way organizations could extract money from needy agencies and brands that want a hug.
Since I’ve been involved in the Content Marketing Awards, the oldest and largest content marketing awards program in the world, I’ve had to rethink my stance. Especially this year.
Let me explain.
What I described in my recent post, Content Marketing: It’s Going to Get Weird, is true. The shiny luster of content marketing is gone. Content marketing effectiveness is not improving (yet). Some brands are thinking about giving up and trying something new. (I’m not sure what that would be, but they are discouraged.)
It doesn’t help that there are multiple articles each week talking about how brands have no right to be publishing on the web. That it’s a fruitless endeavor. In all honestly, I’m a bit exhausted sticking up for this old (yet new to most) industry of content marketing.
OK, let’s roll with this for a minute. If not content marketing, then what? What’s the alternative? More advertising? More interruption? That’s what kills me about these negative articles. They slam the practice but they don’t provide an alternative solution. Do you know why? Because there is none.
Everything we offer today as companies can be duplicated by someone else (think about that for a minute.) Yes, everything, even that special sauce or process you are so proud of. There is only one way to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace … to our customers. That’s by communicating differently. So easy, yet so hard.
It all starts by communicating directly, something of value, consistently, with a point of view to a specific group of people. If we do that well, and long enough, we build an audience that knows us, likes us, trusts us, and, ultimately, buys (or buys more) from us.
That’s the beauty of content marketing.
And when it works, we need to applaud it. We need to hold it up for the industry to see that communication, proper communication with customers, is not dead at all … it doesn’t give in easily.
That is why the Content Marketing Awards are so critical. Sure, I want you to win and be recognized. It helps you with company buy-in. It presents agencies as true experts in their fields. Winning a Content Marketing Award may justify the existence of the effort. That’s great.
But this year, it’s different. Your content marketing work is important this year – in 2016 – for the industry. We need to see these examples so that we don’t get discouraged or lose our way thinking that content marketing is not a worthy journey.
Actually, it’s the most worthy of all your options to communicate. I truly believe that.
You can read what I’m talking about in the post I shared detailing the efforts of last year’s winners or see it in this video:
This year, we are bringing together over 75 of the most amazing judges on the planet to keep this industry moving forward. Among the essential criteria for any successful content marketing initiative that they will consider are:
- Informational and/or entertainment value
- Relevancy for audience
- Effectiveness in achieving goals
- Ability to support the brand and/or its image
We are ready to review your application. Start getting it ready today.
Let your content marketing work make a difference for you, your brand, and the industry this year. Enter the 2016 Content Marketing Awards today.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute