How do content marketers market themselves?
Who are the benchmark custom content agencies media companies should be studying closely? Most of them were at the Custom Content Council's 2011 Pearl Awards, held in Manhattan on Nov. 7.
The CCC knows how to put on a fast-paced awards event, doling out more than 170 Pearls in 2 hours. A few companies stood out with multiple wins. I didn't gain any insights into the strengths of these companies by watching the parade of award recipients, but it is interesting to see how they use content to promote themselves on their websites.
Kudos to TMG for a heavy emphasis on, well, content. Yes, the company promotes the usual list of services, awards won, and clients delighted like all of its competitors, but it also publishes a lot of useful content about content marketing, which is featured prominently on the home page.
Time Inc. clearly opens doors with its brand and its blue-chip relationships. The company's custom publishing group also executes very well, indeed. What the company doesn't do is use its website to effectively market its award-winning services. I'd love to know why.
Here's another big brand that doesn't use the Web well to promote its superior custom content solutions. Unlike Time, American Express does have a link to a dedicated site. Unfortunately, it's nothing but a placeholder page. Business must be booming.
Pace Communications not only won plenty of awards, but CEO Bonnie McElveen-Hunter accepted the Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award as well. Pace presents a lot of capabilities on its website, and does a nice job using content to tell stories that bolster its credentials.
London-based Spafax not only promotes itself with custom content, the company has gone beyond the corporate blog and has a custom content site called Sparksheet. It is the most impressive use of the Web to promote the business through content among this list of multiple Pearl winners.
The takeaway for me is that if you're a media company trying to win custom content business from competitors, you'd do well to do more than add a page to your PDF media kit. The dedicated custom content agencies above (especially TMG and Spafax) do a great job of showcasing their abilities on their own behalf. Media companies looking to expand their custom content and other marketing services should do the same.