As traditional media continues to decline, content marketing grows in importance for reaching new audiences. The winners of Ragan & PR Daily’s Content Marketing Awards shine in many of these areas, including working with experts, creating innovative video series and reimagining the corporate blog.
Read on to find practical, tactical ideas you can implement today from these winners of our 2023 Content Marketing Awards. And to find your name in our next article, enter this year’s awards by Feb. 16.
Strategy of the Year: BPM-PR Firm for Bellabeat
The challenge: A negative TechCrunch review threatened to scare both consumers and investors away ahead of the launch of the Bellabeat Ivy, a wearable device that monitors and tracks a woman’s daily routine and bio-responses and correlates the data with her menstrual cycle, pregnancy and other data points.
The solution: While Bellabeat made changes to its mobile app, BPM-PR got to work pivoting launch excitement away from the tech space and into the fashion, lifestyle and wellness media market.
The effort included tactics like actress and model Olivia Culpo’s endorsement, press surrounding Bellabeat’s International Women’s Day campaign and responsive media initiatives to issues like the overturn of Roe v. Wade and privacy data concerns. BPM-PR also recruited OBGYN, endometriosis, fitness and meditation experts to incorporate into the PR strategy, and enlisted experts for the Bellabeat Podcast, to provide quotes on nutrition, menstrual cycle stages, postpartum depression, sexual health, mental health and wellness.
BPM-PR Firm’s campaign secured top coverage in national and international media, Time, Fox News, “Good Morning America,” Digital Trends and more. One of the highlights of the campaign came when Bellabeat finally began receiving large technology media placements with positive reviews in outlets like The Verge. The campaign ultimately generated more than 195 media placements, not including television.
The idea to steal: If one media avenue isn’t working out, pivot! By finding other avenues for positive media coverage first, they were able to build buzz with new audiences — and lay the foundation for re-establishing trust with their core market.
Winner for Branded Content Series (Print or Digital) — B2B: Salesforce and Fortune Brand Studio
The challenge: Salesforce and Fortune Media wanted to demonstrate their commitment to both sustainability and entrepreneurship, which serve as core values for the companies and their audiences.
The solution: “The Ecopreneurs” is an 11-episode video series that takes a long-form, character-based storytelling approach to showing how businesses are adapting to and solving some of the greatest challenges of the climate crisis.
Episodes take viewers to the frontlines of the crisis with underwater cameras showcasing newly regenerated seascapes, drones flying over 15,000-foot Andean peaks and a global movement to restore one trillion trees to the world, capturing some of the rarest and most remote ecosystems on Earth.
Salesforce promoted the monthly episodes across social channels, with an emphasis on LinkedIn. Fortune Brand Studio created a branded content hub for each episode featuring clips from the show, Q&As, animated explainers and long-form articles. All content on the hub was distributed through dark posts on Fortune’s social channels as well as through native promotion on Fortune.com.
The campaign met or beat all key performance indicators and objectives. “SeaTrees,” released on YouTube, garnered more than 3.3 million views.
Steal this idea: Storytelling is king. Rather than telling everyone about their commitment to the environment and entrepreneurs, these organizations showed it through compelling videos that were worth watching.
Winner for Corporate Blog: MD Anderson Cancer Center
The challenge: The Cancerwise blog had heavily covered the impacts of COVID-19 on its vulnerable patient demographic for two years during the height of the pandemic. But by 2022, interest in the pandemic began to fade — and so did traffic to the blog.
The solution: The team behind their blog shifted their focus to SEO opportunities while still focusing on their core mission of publishing patient stories, new research, cancer topics and issues from the MD Anderson online communities.
Each month, the SEO lead recommended data-driven topics, ranging from “When to worry about blood in your stool” to adding explanations on various types of cancer. This was a shift from past strategies, where the SEO lead made their recommendations after stories were assigned. Now, they were proactive partners, assigning stories to the two-person writing team who then executed them.
By winter 2023, the team began seeing results, as search-based stories published in the summer and fall drove growing monthly traffic, including a 44% increase in visits year over year. Cancerwise also topped 1 million visits in May 2023 and nearly did the same in April, something that’s happened only once in the prior three years during a COVID-19 spike.
Steal this idea: SEO shouldn’t be tacked on the end — it should be a core part of your content marketing strategy when it comes to getting in front of core audiences. Seek to answer their questions proactively, and you’ll see results.