Over the past few years BuzzFeed has become a publishing phenomenon, growing from a small obscure website specialising in viral content into a multi-million pound media company. It built this success largely by perfecting one form of content: the list
It’s easy to see why. In our busy world, when we don’t always have time to commit to long-form articles, or are accessing the internet via our phones, lists help us to breakdown and understand complex information. They are immediate, accessible and enable us to make quick comparisons. Lists, and their off-shoot the listicle (a cross between a list and an article), now dominate the internet. From the Top 10 Summer Hairstyles, to the Seven Most Important Points From The Budget, there’s a list and ranking for practically everything, and, unsurprisingly, cities are no different. Marketing Manchester monitors Greater Manchester’s position on a number of these international indexes to monitor how our city-region compares to its peers. The UN City Prosperity Index, for example, ranks cities on metrics such as productivity, infrastructure and social inclusion, while the Anholt City Brands Index, measures presence, place, people and potential. We can use these indexes to benchmark our international standing, set our aspirations and inform our city’s strategic direction. In the Anholt index, for example, we are currently rated as 27th in the world and it is our goal to be in the top 20 by 2035. A challenging, but achievable target
Lists and rankings also help us to promote our city as they provide attractive and punchy stories for the media. As a dynamic, outward looking city-region, Greater Manchester is no stranger to securing top places in these articles. Last year, we were awarded the accolade of one of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2016. Recently the San Francisco Chronicle has heralded us as a place to go in 2017 (a great boost as our cities are about to be connected by direct flights), the Hip Neighbourhood’s Index rated Ancoats as the coolest district in the UK, and the Global Liveability Survey ranked us as the UK’s most liveable city (again). On the investment side we have been ranked by KPMG as one of Europe’s top cities for business competitiveness, the leading Large European City for Foreign Direct Investment Strategy by the Financial Times’ fDi magazine, the European Digital City Index ranked us as one of Europe’s top 20 digital cities, and we are the most successful city for attracting FDI outside London according to EY’s UK Attractiveness Survey 2016. In the conference sector Smart Meeting’s has marked us as one of the top 10 Emerging International Meeting Cities and Cvent rates us as one of the top 25 meeting cities in EMEA. These rankings not only help mark our past successes, but also help gained the attention of new stakeholders and secure new business.
What perhaps is less well understood is Marketing Manchester’s role in securing these rankings and accolades. We are constantly working with journalists to build relationships, meeting them at trade shows and events and organising familiarisation trips so they can see the best our city has to offer. For other awards we have to research and submit detailed application forms so that the judging panels can make informed decisions. We also work to secure coverage of our rankings in the media and on the internet. This press is important, because it not only reaches a wide general audience, but strong coverage in the trade and sectoral press can carry significant weight in areas such as conferencing and inward investment.
As we move forward into 2017 we will be looking for further opportunities to secure Greater Manchester’s position on more high-profile lists and surveys. We will also be monitoring our position on the international indexes to insure we are on track for our 2035 targets. I know that our city-region is one of the best in world, this type of coverage, is a brilliant way to prove it to other people.