And it kind of spoils the big news instead of teasing it.
Of all the awards from all the gin joints in the world, this is the one we most wanted to stumble into.
The Content Marketing Institute is the Vatican of our discipline. And I always love Content Marketing World, as I hope my mid-event, stream-of-consciousness snapshot shows. But this year was special.
To win the Content Marketing Agency of the Year (for agencies with fewer than 100 employees), is a big, big deal for us.
And to be the first B2B agency to win it feels like we shattered the smoke-stained, asbestos ceiling (B2B doesn’t get glass ones).
I’d like to tell you that the whole V team went up on stage to bask in the glory. But, actually, it was just me.
Me without a prepared speech and with no real track record of grace under pressure.
Reader, I blew it.
I did make it on to the stage and I did take the award from Joe Pulizzi’s hands and I think I thanked the kind sponsor (Ken Wincko from Cision).
But then I apparently kissed Joe. I don’t remember it but the evidence is incontrovertible:
(I’ll be honest, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never found the right moment. This seemed about as right a moment as I could expect to come along. Carpe Diem or what?)
And my speech turned out to be a single awkward sentence about being rendered speechless (which, if not exactly erudite, was at least both literally and figuratively correct). So much for the quick-witted, urbane copywriter thing.
No way to hide it: I did a goddam Paltrow.
Then the moment was over and I was whisked (okay frog-marched) off-stage to do a video interview (Me: “Um, Yeah! Woo! Cool or what?! You betcha!”) and dumped in the dark wings to kind of compose myself and call Stan and then re-compose myself (we’ve been through a lot together. So yes, there were tears. Sue us.)
Why winning Content Marketing Agency of the Year matters
The email to the V team was a long, gushy, sweary thing that I won’t share with you here (or, let’s face it, anywhere else).
But this little chunk of it will give you a sense of why we’re so happy about this thing (warning: may — probably will — contain language of an adult-if-not-exactly-mature nature):
“As you guys know, Stan and I go back and forth about the value of these things. (Today, we’re a lot more forth than back).
But a few things can’t be denied:
Awards like this do reflect real peer recognition – validation that we’re doing exceptional work, from people who see a lot of content marketing.
They’re great for our business. Clients look at this stuff.
But most important to us, an award like this is a reminder that we’re doing something special — even when it often doesn’t feel like we’re doing something special.
A reminder that we’re doing something hard. That many, many fellow agencies and clients struggle to do well.
A reminder that we’re actually bloody good at this.
And a huge reminder that we’re lucky.
Lucky to work in an industry that rewards creativity and craft and intelligence.
Lucky to work with great clients who value what we value – who come to us for what we do well.
Lucky to have a healthy business that gives us a level of freedom that is rare in any service industry.
Lucky to have Stan running the show instead of some asshole.
And really, really, immeasurably, unforgettably lucky to be doing this as part of this amazing team of smart, funny, talented, cranky, quirky, committed and so-fucking-nice people.”
[The ‘f-word’ (fucking) may not be in every company’s cultural warp and weft but, I confess, it has found its way into ours. Trying to unpick it now would be near-f*cking impossible.] [Are you starting to suspect that I’m more part of the problem than part of the solution? Guilty.]
We’re walking around thanking anything that moves. You’re reading this, so we hereby thank you too.
How to get Content Marketing Agency of the Year into another subhead.
We now have 360-ish days to milk every last drop of glory (and SEO juice) out of this sucker. If you’re looking for humility and subtlety and good sportsmanship and all that… you’re in the wrong place. We’re moving to one of the Trump-branded buildings in Gloat City and we plan to ENJOY it. (Except for the insufferable tackiness of the décor… goes with the brand).
Actually, maybe a bit of Federer-ness wouldn’t be such a bad idea here: we only knew two of our fellow shortlisted agencies and they’re both really, really impressive:
PM, poslovni mediji in Slovenia – You know, the guys who wrote that inimitable (and, I confess, unpronounceable) headline, “Kdo smo?”. Primoz Inkret and Nenad Senic are smart, smart guys and their English is so much better than my Slovenian will ever be, so the language teasing is actually deep admiration in disguise. They run Pomp Forum in Ljubljana, one of the best content marketing events in Europe (hope to go next year).
Next year, I fully expect to unclench my fist from the award trophy long enough to let one of these guys clutch it for a while. (Tip to Primoz or Karen: bring WD-40).
And, while we’re still in gracious mode, big kudos to King Content, who beat us to the award last year. Only now can we admit that they really deserved it. (Craig, Todd… well done).
Okay, enough with the Jimmy Stewart schtick, back to bragging.
We also won Best Client Agency Relationship for our work with Xerox!
After Agency of the Year, this is definitely the one we’re proudest to win. This is a collaborative business. You ONLY do great work for great clients. And Xerox is an AWESOME client.
There are way too many Xeroxians to thank for this, but we might as well name-check John Kennedy, Josh Golden, Duane Schultz, Jeannine Rossignol, Randy Golden, Barbara Basney, Tracy Yelencsics, Ben Rand, Greg Pings and… uh-oh, I’ve started but there’s no way I can thank everyone. Y’all know who you are. THANK YOU.
Man, I could get used to this.
Photo credit: Wetzler’s Studios & Content Marketing Institute