Twelve hot topics that got us talking in 2023

The year in review: from connecting communities and commercial strategy, to the power of video and demonstrating member value, here are our top 12 hot topics from 2023.

1. It’s time to put people first

The audiences we create content for are often professional experts in their fields. It’s paramount that our editorial features reflect that. But those audiences also consist of real people with real-world concerns – and that needs to be reflected too. The specific industry may set the context, the agenda, and define the detail, but across those considerations it’s time to put people first when it comes to deepening the connection between member and organisation, or audience and brand.
Read how we take a people-first approach with CIBSE Journal.

2. Multichannel content drives momentum

In the past 12 months, we’ve seen some clients increase the frequency of their printed editorial content, while others have reduced it. So, who’s right? We would suggest that it should never be thought of as a binary opposition of print vs digital. Good research and understanding the target audience helps you to shape your approach to multichannel content, while benchmarking what success looks like can help you to measure progress.  With a little strategic thinking, digital and print should work in harmony.
Read about how we are combining digital and print solutions for the ACT.

3. Good content cuts through the noise

In April, CPL One was in London for the 2023 Content Marketing Association B2B Summit. What did we learn? Well, lots of things. If there was a key insight from the sessions, it would be that we live in very uncertain times with a changing world of work and rapidly advancing technology just two of the challenges we face. Amid all that insecurity, our clients want us to help them cut through the noise, disentangle and declutter their messaging, and help them to focus on the things that will let them achieve their goals.
Here are 12 take-outs from the day.

4. AI remains a hot topic, with unanswered questions

In May, the conversation was all about the potential impact of ChatGPT. At the time, CPL One managing director Mike Sewell wrote that software like ChatGPT had the potential to help us (among many things) drive efficiencies and speed up the initial stages of web-based research for our journalists and sales teams. He also warned that it probably shouldn’t be trusted to provide information that is either correct or original. So, did we get it right?
Read our full set of predictions.

5. Video excels at storytelling

Video can deliver real impact for your organisation. What’s more, creating short films doesn’t always need a Barbie-level budget. With our smartphones at our sides, ready to record and share special moments, aren’t we all moviemakers now? So, while some videos that we shoot at CPL One incur costs such as location and actor/model fees, others deliver successfully against the brief with a mobile phone and a little initiative. Is it time to schedule some video into your comms calendar?
See how we used video to drive a recruitment campaign.

6. Our mission is to help people belong
In the middle of the year, we officially launched the new visual brand identity for CPL One. Its design reinforces our primary business purpose, which is that ‘We help people belong’. And when we say ‘belong’, we are thinking of three audiences: the people who engage with the content we create on behalf of our clients; the individuals who work for our clients and from whom we learn so much; and all the team at CPL One – our most important asset.
Here, managing director Mike Sewell outlines the latest phase in the CPL One story.

7. Flexibility is a foundation for success
Talking of ‘belonging’… whatever work takes priority at CPL One, we want everyone here to feel supported in what they do, with the freedom to express themselves and reach their personal goals. We were delighted to win another Gold accreditation as a Best Employer, reflecting our focus on: having the right working environment to develop creative solutions for clients; ensuring everyone feels supported as individuals; working together in teams to maximise the positive difference we make as a company.
See how flexibility supports creativity, individuality and togetherness.

8. Commercial strategies are due an MOT
Our in-house commercial and media sales team have a trusted process to increase revenues from magazines and websites. Increasingly, however, we find that to get the best from commercial opportunities, organisations need to think holistically, looking at multi-channel sponsorship packages, events, podcasts, recruitment portals and more. In challenging times, it’s about asking “What else can we do for you?” And whether that’s a solus email campaign or a sponsored drinks reception, it is about ensuring we find the best way to deliver tangible benefits for your target audience.
Take a look at our full range of commercial and creative services.

9. Brand evolution can bring a fresh start
Print magazines remain highly regarded by audiences as a vehicle for quality content. A redesigned or relaunched magazine can bring a fresh and more contemporary look, but it can also support a strategic repositioning of an organisation’s key offering in response to a changing world and an audience’s evolving needs and expectations. Could your printed matter work harder to support your business objectives?
Read how we relaunched a charity magazine to drive membership.

10. It’s about connecting communities
At CPL One, we know that in the medium and long term, engaging audiences and building loyalty is about developing trusted relationships and helping to build supportive communities. Those communities are a fount of knowledge and a place where vital experience is shared. Creating podcasts and chairing discussions at conferences is an increasing part of the job for CPL One editors – and it reflects our understanding that connecting communities helps create positive change for organisations.
Read about how we connect communities for CIWM.

11. Demonstrating value is key for membership organisations
Setting out to refresh your membership value proposition (MVP) can feel like a big, big ask. The same can be said when you set out to tackle other broad-based outputs of strategic marketing aimed at long-term transformation. Ultimately, your MVP needs to give your audience a reason to join, and then stay as a member. But does yours do this? And how do you know? 
Here are five tips to help kick-start your MVP refresh.

12. Your brand proposition needs to be delivered 52 weeks a year
To maximise the power of your brand, you need a relentless focus on ensuring customers and other stakeholders experience it in the same consistent way at every touchpoint. For our client Darley Stallions, we help create high-quality multichannel communications on a daily basis. Whether it’s an animated online ad, an exciting promotional film or a major physical installation at a racecourse, we focus on presenting the brand in the best possible light. That’s one reason why Darley has such a strong reputation in its field – and we’re delighted that during 2023 CPL One’s reputation as a leading content marketing agency has only been enhanced too.