You know you have an amazing native advertising campaign and you feel that you have a good chance of winning an award. But do you know how to create an award entry that the jury will actually like? What are they looking for? What's the secret to creating an award entry that will make it to the shortlist?
Be patient and read this.
In a few minutes, you’ll know exactly what to do as 10 current and former jury members from the Native Advertising Awards have revealed their best tips for creating an award entry that will wow them.
(Pssst. Remember to submit for Native Advertising Awards before 31 January 2023. And if you’d like to save money – and who doesn't – submit before 16 December 2022 to take advantage of the early bird discount and submit three entries for the price of two!)
Firstly, start with a compelling summary!
You’re not writing a novel, so give away the ending first and work back from there, presenting the vital information that supports it! The first paragraph is key, it needs to grab the attention and tell the story succinctly. Don’t make the jury search for the key facts, spell them out! Too many entries are spoiled by jury members having to decipher the relevance of the entry to the category by trying to piece together the jigsaw from the fragments provided, trust me.
Secondly, show real evidence of what you’ve achieved: meaningful facts and figures illustrating the scale of success. Percentages are a great way to express growth, but they must relate to real figures! On their own, percentages without actual numbers are meaningless and imply that the missing number might actually be small. For example, a stat claiming 1000% growth might sound very impressive, but if it’s based on growing email sign-ups from 5 to 50 it’s not really, is it? But 5,000 to 50,000 really does sound good. So be prepared and back up your claims!
Tim Cain, Founder of Digital First Media
Writing a good award entry requires putting yourself in the jury's shoes. The jury has no context when evaluating your campaign. Set the stage. What was the problem the content was trying to solve? Had other approaches been ineffective? There’s the story the content tells and then there’s the story about how the content came to be—that’s the one the jury needs to hear.
Describe how this idea came to be and disclose as much of your thinking as you can in an engaging way. Offer some perspective about your budget; what were the constraints on this project? Those can give the story urgency and show us the challenges you had to overcome.
Finally, explain what the campaign achieved. People who submit for awards often think volume metrics will impress judges, and of course they do, but sometimes a story about how a piece of content affected even one viewer can illustrate its impact.
Not all campaigns achieve success through volume. Sometimes a quote from a stakeholder is the perfect way to illustrate how a campaign transformed its ecosystem. Once you’ve touched on all six points of who-what-where-when-why-and-how, you’ve probably done what you needed to do to make your case before a judging panel.
Stephanie Losee, Head of Content at Visa Communications
Make sure to respond to all the questions!
Sometimes we see great creatives, but no information on the results. Or there's a lot of information about the results, but little about the goal or the creative. Help us judge your work fairly and holistically!
Rebecca Lieb, Leading Industry Analyst on Native Advertising
One of the best ways to ensure a successful entry is to be very intentional about the category you choose to submit a project for. We often see great entries that were submitted for a category that doesn't allow them to shine, or that don't meet the criteria for the category selected. Spend time with the category descriptions and details, and carefully consider which would be the best fit for your chosen work.
Melanie Deziel, Brand Storytelling Consultant & Speaker
There are some recurring obvious examples that drive a jury mad. Like lack of evidence or fluffy KPIs. My key recommendation for entering awards is to demonstrate an understanding of the commercial or business objectives of the business you are representing or the strategy or campaign you are putting forward.
Put yourself in the shoes of a typical jury member. They have usually been asked to qualify entries because, as we say in Australia, “they have been around the block”. In other words, they have a bank of proven work themselves. Indeed, they have most likely had to grow a business themselves and/or have been personally responsible for the outcomes of a large number of marketing programs over time.
So many entries I’ve seen concentrate on some kind of emotive feeling of a programme, rather than outlining how they responded to a commercial goal. So, you built this super creative, bespoke activation with a kooky thingy that got some PR. But how many ‘real’ people saw it, turned up, signed up, download it or paid as a result? It’s immediately clear in the jury room when somebody has misunderstood this concept.
Natalie Giddings, Managing Director at The Remarkables Group
A visual overview of what the project entails is always very welcome. It doesn't need to be a fancy, graphic masterpiece, just something to help the jury understand the scope and context quickly. A showreel or a PDF presentation would do.
Jesper Laursen, CEO & Founder of Native Advertising Institute
There are two things I’m looking for as a jurist on the panel. First, I’m looking for powerful, creative stories that are separate from the brand/product/service - but that tie into the approach of the brand in a truly creative way.
The second are demonstrable results that go beyond page views, or reach metrics - but into either actual audience acquisition (e.g. subscriptions) or other ways of bringing audiences into the goals of the marketing organizations.
Robert Rose, Content Marketing and Customer Experience Expert
There are some basics that must be in place but are often forgotten when it comes to case studies and award entries.
The most crucial one is probably linking the results to actual goals. Effect is not just about reach or engagement, but about how the campaign or program actually affects your brand's business goals. If you can prove that, and isolate the effect from other initiatives, you will have a good chance to win.
Also, it’s important to be innovative. Brands that have the ability to create innovation and challenge traditionally-accepted best practices will always stand out in the competition.
Björn Owen Glad, Marketing Manager at Spoon Publishing
I’d like to see a true collaboration between a publisher or agency and a brand, providing value to the readers and viewers. A piece of storytelling that is not limited to the brand nor the media but bridges both worlds elegantly. And also, something that demonstrates scalability that can drive additional values cross channels.
Johannes Ceh, Content Strategist and Management Consultant
I expect to see entries showcasing the new and unexpected and entries that seduce the jury through their narrative and clever storytelling. Moreover, I’m looking forward to seeing entries that captivate us with their relevance and a clear display of why they deserve the viewers’ interest. In short, the entries should showcase a solid marriage between quality and creativity.
Nina Nørgaard Jacobsen, CEO & Founder of Biites
Check out our collection of award-winning native advertising campaigns in this ebook
Join +10,000 peers and become part of the growing native advertising community.