Client Stories

Finance, Hospitality, and Retail Brands Take Top Honors at the Contently Awards

In case you missed it, the Contently Awards had their debut last week. Three companies were recognized at the Contently Summit for having the best content marketing in the categories of startup brand, mid-market brand, and enterprise brand.

Despite our underestimation of the number of submissions we would receive when we announced the competition, the judges put in extra hours to narrow down the submissions to just three finalists in each category before reconvening to choose one victor for each category.

And the winners are…

Best Content Marketing for a Startup Brand

The U.S. South African Tourism Office: “What’s Your Big 5?”

Most people have no trouble rattling off a list of places they’re dying to visit. With all the world’s beaches, cities, and mountains to explore, competition is stiff. So how can a particular tourist destination stand out?

Well, what if you made potential visitors feel like they’re already there? That’s exactly what the U.S. South African Tourism Office did with its “What’s Your BIG 5?” campaign. The POV video series highlights 10 uniquely South African experiences under the “Big 5″ travel umbrella of Adventure, Culture, Entertainment, Romance, and Safari.

The POV approach takes viewers on a creative journey through the adventures—like bungee jumping, romantic dinners, and safari drives—as if they’re experiencing them firsthand. And even more impressively, the videos are stitched together in a “choose your own adventure” format that builds into a cohesive interactive experience that is now the centerpiece of the newly redesigned

In addition to sharing the videos on Facebook and YouTube, the U.S. South African Tourism Office cut the videos into 30-second units and distributed them through an owned, paid, and earned media strategy targeting both the coveted 26- to 40-year-old demographic and Baby Boomers.

The video series spurred in a 25 percent increase in’s pageviews and generated over 3.6 million views on Facebook.

Best Content Marketing for a Mid-Market Brand

W. L. Gore & Associates: “Experience More”

For decades, Gore-Tex, W. L. Gore & Associates’ famous outdoor apparel brand, has been part of adventures around the globe. Until recently, however, the vast majority of Gore-Tex branded content dealt with product features rather than the amazing experiences those products helped customers enjoy.

Recently, Gore-Tex decided to change course so that its content would connect more the company’s target customers—outdoorsy families and independent explorers. In May 2015, with the help of digital agency LaneTerralever, W. L. Gore & Associates launched the first issue of Experience More, a digital publication.

The magazine celebrates everyday explorers doing extraordinary things, all told through breathtaking images and longform articles. Experience More has helped Gore-Tex build better relationships with customers, and in just six months, it’s led to impressive engagement. The publication has increased readership by 72 percent since May, and organic search traffic has grown 23 percent week over week. Additionally, with the support of a paid media campaign, Gore-Tex has managed to increase traffic at a much lower cost per click.

Best Content Marketing for an Enterprise Brand

JPMorgan Chase & Co.: “From the Ground Up”

From the Ground Up” is a five-part series highlighting the leaders working to revitalize Brownsville, Brooklyn, a historically underserved community in the New York City area.

Through investigative reporting, custom illustrations, and accompanying video interviews, Chase reveals how Brownsville residents are coming together to build a stronger community. During the five-part series, Chase shares stories from the communities where the bank’s nonprofit arm operates, focusing on topics such as entrepreneurship, the youth criminal justice system, and creating a community center.

The Brownsville series is just one example of what Chase publishes on the “Your Community” tab of News & Stories, a section that is featured on the company’s homepage. These articles describe inspiring narratives from cities across the country like New Orleans, Akron, and Seattle. And the prominent placement on the homepage makes it easy for the 35+ million people who visit each month to see the brand’s commitment to impactful storytelling.

If there is one thing we learned from setting up the Contently Awards, it’s that the content marketing industry is maturing quickly. With only nine months until submissions open for next year’s awards, it’s probably a good idea to start planning now—if this year is any indication, the competition is only getting stronger.

Image by Ned Klezmer

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