January 08, 2017 - by Peter Evans
With so many great achievements over the past year, our team found it difficult to select 2017’s winners that celebrate the best in expert marketing. These organizations are a diverse group of corporate, higher education, association and nonprofit clients. They are focused on driving visibility and reputation for their organizations, using a variety of innovative approaches to showcase some of the world’s most outstanding people.
Join us as we celebrate this year’s winners as we recognize their leading use of expert content from driving the newsroom to talent development.
Best Newsroom Award:
Wake Forest University: news.wfu.edu
In late 2015, the Communications & External Relations group at Wake Forest set an ambitious goal: “[to]Tell Wake Forest stories and create a positive experience for news media by providing them as much content, access and support as possible.”
The Wake Forest Newsroom, has since achieved notable success, with the new site winning the 2016 Bulldog Reporter Award for “Best Online Newsroom.” The panel of judges included award-winning journalists, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and a number of different media outlets including The Washington Post, USA Today, Forbes, and The Oregonian.
So what are the things that made this newsroom stand above the rest? First, they wrote stories that would be interesting to journalists, containing relevant news items, story ideas and expert pitches in a central and very visible location called “Headlines.”
Next, Wake Forest was able to extend their expert content on multiple pages, while still being able to manage that content from one central dashboard. This has allowed the Wake Forest News and Communications team to be more proactive in updating expert content, capturing key engagement metrics and responding to potential opportunities in a timely manner. They also added advanced search functions to many of the pages throughout the site making it extremely easy to discover the best expert and ideal experts to speak and share their opinions.
Best Design Award:
(Formal launch March 2017)
ExpertWomen is a non-profit organization committed to amplifying women’s voices for a more democratic and equitable world. While women now comprise 60% of university graduates in Canada, recent research has found that women’s voices currently make up only 29% of those being heard on the air or quoted in print in Canada.
ExpertWomen wanted to create a highly engaging site that shines the light on outstanding women in Canada and effectively profiles their perspectives and contributions to the media.
While there is a clear priority to provide advanced search functions, the use of graphic design elements such as large “hero” images makes the site one of our favorites. It’s hard to find anything that can be as relatable and descriptive as a photograph. The page layout is aesthetically pleasing and helps build depth into the home page of the site. It drives visitors further into the site by giving them a peek beneath the surface and is also an excellent way to visually display the diversity of women represented. They have made excellent use of the “photo collage” feature in the ExpertFile Design Lab try it for yourself here. The layout of news releases using theExpertFile Spotlight news release feature is also very well integrated into the home page, it instantly shows journalists and conference organizers the relevance of ExpertWomen to current breaking news and events.
Loyola Marymount University: newsroom.lmu.edu
Loyola Marymount University (LMU) has received lots of buzz and industry recognition for its new website. They were recently awarded “Best University/School Website” in the 20th annual Webby awards. Hailed as the “Oscars® of the Internet” by The New York Times, LMU won out over 13,000 other entrants from around the world. They have also shown an incredible commitment to ensuring that LMU faculty are well-represented online. In planning the initial design, LMU’s agency, mStoner, wanted to unify the look and feel of faculty content across all parts of its website. Pulling together multimedia expert content that was previously strewn across the web is now easy with pre-built connectors to content platforms such as YouTube™, Vimeo™, SlideShare™, Twitter™ and Amazon™ Books.
LMU now uses ExpertFile to distribute expert content to over 20 areas of their website. This has led to a significant improvement in search rankings for LMU faculty names and content. Time sensitive media inquiries are also immediately routed through the platform to appropriate media relations contacts via email.
All this hard work has paid off for LMU. The university has received over 1,000 inquiries in the past year from media, international researchers for collaboration, potential students, donors and alumni. They have also generated media source requests from numerous national and international publications including CBS News, ABC, Fast Company, Al Jazeera, National Geographic and Telemundo.
Cross-Channel Program Award:
International Federation of Ageing: www.ifa-fiv.org/expert-centre
The International Federation of Ageing (IFA) wanted to boost its visibility as a leading Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) focused on positively changing age-related policies that improve the lives of our ageing population. To do this they needed to drive global education, collaboration and innovation with thought leaders in all sectors and disciplines. Working in partnership with government, NGO, industry, academia and other agencies such as the World Health Organization, the IFA launched its online expert directory. The IFA was the first global NGO to use ExpertFile as a platform to influence and shape policy – serving as a key point of connection while utilizing breaking news from featured experts as prime resources on ageing related topics.
The IFA’s 13th Global Conference in Brisbane, Australia was used as a key event for staff to build their roster of experts, focused in areas such as: age friendly cities and communities; community and residential care; natural disasters and older people; elder abuse; law and rights, and income protection and security. But the IFA didn’t stop there, they saw experts as a critical element to build internal collaborations, as well as conversations with media and prospective attendees leading up to the Brisbane Conference. To promote their experts, the IFA worked with ExpertFile to develop a series of media Spotlights that that focused on breaking and developing stories on ageing topics that were appearing in the media. Next, they developed promotional “one-sheet” conference materials using ExpertFile profile data. To also highlight speakers at the Brisbane conference, details from their expert profiles were exported to build a digital signage reel which created a dynamic backdrop to the conference. The conference was a huge success!
The IFA website is now ranked much higher on key aging-related topics in search engines. As a result, member recruitment has increased substantially. IFA executives and their experts are also in high demand, the number of speaking inquiries from around the world continues to increase as more journalists and conference organizers search their new website.
Talent Development Award:
IDC Canada: www.idc.ca/analysts
International Data Corporation (IDC) is a leading global provider of market intelligence and advisory services, as well as events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With deep expertise in the technology sector, expert analysts from IDC are often called to speak to the media, and at conferences. The marketing team at IDC Canada wanted to create a more engaging online presence for their analysts. They started with adding detailed biographical information and multimedia files in order to help prospective clients, media and conference organizers find the most relevant analyst. Advanced search functions also help users to refine their search by name, expertise or affiliation. The directory was also nicely organized by practice areas using the category filter.
Just as important, the IDC Canada team was committed to invest in extensive media training for their analysts as part of an integrated program. Analysts and executives were put through full-day media coaching workshops led by award-winning journalists with extensive broadcast radio and television experience. Participants received valuable hands-on interview experience as they worked through real-life media interview scenarios with guidance of the session leads. This unique experience was specifically designed in cooperation with the IDC Canada Marketing and Executive Team to deliver the information that analysts need to help them make engaging and informative media interviews. This program was seen as a major success in helping the analyst team better play to their strengths and develop confidence in their communications abilities as evidenced by “before” and “after” interview videos shot during the sessions. IDC analysts had very positive feedback following the sessions and the marketing team has seen an increased responsiveness and willingness of analysts to work with the media. They have also seen an increase in the number of media mentions IDC Canada receives in the news. While media training is often viewed as an afterthought by many organizations, IDC Canada’s investment in their people has clearly paid off. It has been integral to a positive cultural change on the IDC team, arming them with the important skills they need to be even more successful in the media.