How to Win an Award in Content Marketing*February 17th, 2017
*Also including how not to win an award in content marketing.
This is the story of how Bookmark London’s Tesco team recently won a Digital Impact Award. But first, I’ll tell you about the time we didn’t win at the Young Digital Leader Awards.
To be more precise, it’s not so much that we didn’t win – we actually received a high commendation – it’s that I heard my name read out and thought we had won the top prize. And nearly walked on stage. In front of a room full of people.
A few days later – when my colleagues finally stopped sending me memes of Kanye West ‘stage storming’ Taylor Swift – we discovered that we had won Best Use of Social Media (small budget) at the DIAs. So here’s what I learned about actually winning an award (as opposed to thinking you’ve won an award).
1. Gather Your A-Team
No man is an island, and most companies are an archipelago of talent connected just below the surface (if there’s an award for needless geological metaphors, please let me know). Anyway, what you need to do is unite your colleagues from across the business – we chose creative, social media, account management, new business and strategy – and all review the brief from their own perspective. You’ll be amazed what they pick out that you would have missed. Don’t forget your client is a part of your team too, so allow time for them to input and approve.
2. Answer the Question
Nothing takes you back to school exams like a command to ‘read the question carefully’ but when it comes to awards submissions, it remains pretty strong advice. Even if the question is the same as one you’ve had before for another submission – ‘What was the challenge?’, for example – the angle will vary depending on the award body’s main interest. Watch out for clues in the wording about what the judges are looking for, which will help you to…
3. Choose Your Project
We all have projects that stand out as the most fun, most effective, most portfolio-able – it’s a word, honest – but that doesn’t mean they’re best suited to this particular submission. For the Digital Impact Awards, we picked our #GuessThatGift campaign for Tesco Baby Club, which involved giving out a Christmas present every day via Facebook and had clear objectives, relevant successes and some gorgeous visuals to boot.
4. Results Results Results
You can have the most creative campaign in the world but if it didn’t deliver the numbers, it probably won’t make it past the first round. We were able to prove engagement, conversions and substantial new sign-ups to our eCRM programme. Not all wins are numerical though – if the brief asks for teamwork and best use of existing resources, pull those out too.
5. Writing Matters
All those facts might look pretty dull on their own so make sure the creatives in your team give the writing a final punch at the end. Judges are busy and they want to be able to see at a glance why they should pick you – make it easy for them by repeating their own wording back to them and even bolding out key phrases if you need to. Your opening should be like a ‘hook’ on a great article, summing up the core message and leaving them wanting more.
6. And Finally…
Always, always check you actually won the award before stepping forward to collect it – from someone who knows.
About the Author
Abigail Smith is Head of Content for Retail at Bookmark, London, where she oversees creative on a variety of projects. Her greatest love will always be the written word – but she also crafts stories through visuals, videos, social and strategy.