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The current awards season prompts Martin Bewick to offer his suggestions for some new categories for content marketing awards
Brits, Baftas, Golden Globes, Oscars… As the red carpets are rolled up at the end of the early-year awards season, I’d like to nominate one final winner.
The accolade is for the Greatest Generator of Success in Content Marketing. And for Lifetime Achievement in Content Marketing. Oh, and Most Misused Word in Content Marketing.
And the award goes to… “Strategy”.
Despite the hard work of creative teams in making shiny new websites, social campaigns or print or digital magazines, without a solid strategy most of that time, effort and money may be wasted.
Without strategy, a client’s marketing communications – and the agency’s creative endeavours – are more likely to remain a cost centre rather than a revenue driver.
Without strategy, your creative work is – in Hollywood terms – an A-list actor in need of a good script, a film director who hasn’t won the backing of the studio, or a studio that forgot to measure an audience’s changing tastes.
Without strategy, it’s harder to be the bridge between the organisation or brand you’re promoting, and the audience you want to reach.
When it works well, strategy can be the foundation for much of what we do as content marketers. It provides the insight and shared understanding that makes our working practices more efficient and successful.
There’s nothing new in this, of course, which is why strategy should win its Lifetime Achievement Award.
So why is the word so often misused?
Usually, it’s because there’s a confusion between what is a ‘strategy’ and what is a ‘plan’.
A plan is a to-do list, a schedule that needs to be kept to, actions that need to be delivered. The plan says “four magazines a year in print, a redesigned content hub with four news posts a week, and social around everything that’s created”.
The strategy asks “Why?” and wonders “How does this all help?”.
It’s strategy that joins the dots between brand promise and customer expectation, and between organisations and their members. It also means we can deliver better against a client’s wider objectives.
Strategy is a winner for clients and customers alike. It wins CPL awards, too. We should talk about it.