It’s that time of year where the best and brightest marketers start preparing submissions for the myriad of awards on offer; the Content Marketing (CMA), Mumbrella and Effie Australia Awards are a few of the more prestigious.
I’m a judge on the global CMAs, which are run by the Content Marketing Institute. In a nutshell, they recognise the most successful content marketing projects, agencies and marketers.
I can’t speak for everyone, but if you’re in it to win it, these are my tips to ensure you make the cut.
My first submission call is brutal
Now that may seem harsh and I’m the first to admit there were some excellent ‘campaigns’ that got culled straight away.
But that was their problem: they were campaigns, not business drivers.
And I cut them because their submissions were missing the most critical element: demonstrable business results.
These awards – at least in my mind – are not for campaigns that simply had a brilliant creative idea or well-crafted content.
How I assess the few remaining entries
Once I’ve whittled it down to a much smaller, high-quality number of entries – typically around 15% – the review takes a lot longer. My approach is to grade them against the following:
The nexus of content marketing and business strategy
How did the content marketing strategy marry up to and accelerate the delivery of business results?
What business outcome were they trying to drive, with which specific segment or audience, and why? And what insights or research was the strategy based on and how does this help you differentiate from competitors?
(For a deeper dive on how to develop and embed a sophisticated strategy, check out our free ebook that details the 20 steps to achieve content nirvana.)
They have clear and measurable objectives
They need SMART metrics and ideally, financial outcomes – or at the very minimum be aligned to the buyer journey. You’ll see the hyperlink is to a finance institute. People in finance deal in the real world, where money matters more than pretty pictures.
Demonstrable results that tick both the strategy and objectives box
Their results clearly demonstrate how they delivered or better yet, exceeded, their objectives.
Winners are grinners – and commercial
Its objectives were to:
How they did it:
For every $1 invested in, the campaign generated $167 in [category] spending and $7 in [category]
Now, this wasn’t a big brand or a big financial investment.
But it was a really strategic, sophisticated and targeted content marketing play – executed brilliantly. And to be frank, it was a pretty easy decision as a judge to recognise this brand. From memory, I scored than 24 out of a total of 25 points.
So, as I sit back and wait for the tsunami of submissions to review this year, I hope there are more of these, and less of the latter that go in the infamous ‘pretty pictures but no results category’.