Pedigree on awards shortlist raises the bar for future content creators

If there was one word that was on everybody's lips in the industry in 2012 it was "content."

If there was one word that was on everybody's lips in the industry in 2012 it was “content.”

Brands and corporations are positioning themselves as content creators and media owners – and they have tasked their PR and communications executives and PR agencies with overseeing a key role at the heart of this content-generation process.

It is one of the biggest trends in communications and marketing, and many senior broadcasters and journalists are joining agencies and brands to provide the expertise required to take advantage of these opportunities.

This role is not without challenges. As John Skipper, president of ESPN, pointed out at the PRWeek Conference last November: “The landscape is littered with [consumer and technology] companies that tried to become content companies. They are usually conflicted, which at some point causes them not to be very good at it.”

In his position, you could say that Skipper would say that. But senior players in PR also strike a cautionary note. In December's issue of PRWeek Ogilvy Public Relations' global CEO Christopher Graves rightly said: “The rush is on for every company to position itself as a media firm. Just because you can create content doesn't mean it is effective or good. I worry about the other C-word: crap.”

If content is to be effective, it has to be quality content – and it has to supply a genuine consumer need.

Some of the best examples of content generation are on display in this issue in the PRWeek Awards Shortlist for 2013 – and these case studies bear close examination for those looking to implement effective content strategies at their own companies or firms.

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