Shipping company generates new business through news website

Business Insights, a website from American Airlines Cargo that’s filled with news and opinion, looks and feels like a news site published by a media company.


When you ship a product by air, someone called an air forwarder takes your package to a carrier, which flies the item to its destination. American Airlines Cargo is one example of an air carrier; that means its customer is the air forwarder.

That also means the company’s PR and marketing departments focus their attention on air forwarders—attracting and retaining their business is how AA Cargo thrives.

Unfortunately, AA Cargo’s traditional PR efforts weren’t spurring the kind of business opportunities it desired, so the shipping company got into the media business. It partnered with Adfero Group to create Business Insights, a website filled with news and opinion on the air cargo industry.

The site’s polished design and well-written articles—plus its ability to hook new business opportunities—have earned AA Cargo top honors in the Best Content Marketing/Brand Journalism Site category in PR Daily’s Digital PR & Social Media Awards.

PR Daily’s 2012 Digital PR and Social Media Awards were presented by Synaptic Digital. Learn more about Synaptic Digital here (pdf).

Content marketing, also known as brand journalism, is the increasingly popular practice of companies forming their own media outlets.

Business Insights looks and feels like—and in many ways is—a journalistic product. It reports on industry trends and offers in-depth analysis; the site features opinion pieces bylined by industry experts and AA Cargo executives, as well as blog posts, graphics, maps, data tables, and videos.

“The site content needed to offer real value to air cargo and logistics industry experts,” according to a rep of AA Cargo, a division of American Airlines. “Content that merely repeats or rehashes commonly understood concepts and issues would not offer much value to the experts working in the industry every day.”

There’s a story about the rise of perishable goods in Latin America, a video on transporting temperature-sensitive products, and a blog post about the U.S. and EU inking an air cargo safety agreement.

The articles offer deep analyses of the industry, yet they’re written in plain English—delightfully free of jargon—that makes them accessible for people outside the air cargo world.

Better yet, the site has led to media coverage and new business.

Trade publications have quoted Business Insights or republished stories from the site in full. Meanwhile, a series on temperature-controlled supply chain—in other words, shipping stuff that needs to stay at a certain temperature—inspired one major company to pursue business with AA Cargo.

Taylor Bennett explains the secret behind the site’s success:

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