Want to win a Shorty, Webby and other international marketing awards?
“Sure, Joe, but I don’t have a big budget campaign or a flashy case study. Do I still have a chance of winning?” you ask.
According to James Chen, who leads marketing, partnerships and social media at the Asian Television Awards, “yes you do.” Chen helped his organization win seven Shorty Awards and get shortlisted in the same category as Ellen DeGeneres at the Webby Awards.
So how did a small, in-house team with a $1,000 budget campaign compete with media powerhouses?
In this piece, Chen shares his secrets for winning top-tier marketing awards.
How To Write An Award-winning Case Study
Firstly, it may seem obvious but read and save the award guidelines before you begin. For instance, know if you are supposed to submit a link or a case study within the awards submission platform. “If a link is required, you can consider using Medium because it allows you to embed your social media posts, images and videos,” recommends Chen.
How do you know if your campaign is good enough to compete?
Chen says “Know your competition. Analyze your battlefield by looking at the winning entries from the last few years, if available. By doing so, you can better understand the judges’ mentality as well as the benchmark that you have to beat.”
Most marketing case studies ask you to state your campaign challenges, idea, execution and results. Having judged multiple business awards, I can tell you judges place an emphasis on your results. Chen suggests, “state your campaign objectives upfront. Restate the goals in the results section and share how your campaign met or exceeded your objectives.”
Once you’ve finished drafting your case study, don’t forget to have multiple people in your organization check it. Ask them to review not only the spelling and grammar, but also feedback on the flow and overall narrative.
After you’ve finalized your written case study, you can fill out the awards submission form and hit ‘send,’ right?
Well, not so fast. According to Chen, “a case study video is a prerequisite, not a luxury. It can also be helpful in getting around any word count restrictions.”
How To Create An Award-winning Video Entry
Based on my experience, most judges review anywhere from 20 to 200 submissions so they essentially skim each written case study. But if you have a short case study video, they are much more inclined to stop and watch it.
Once again, watch the videos submitted by previous winners. “Ask yourself: can I beat or at least match the winners’ videos?” says Chen.
If the answer is “yes,” then proceed to create your video entry.
How can you create a great video?
“Keep your video under two minutes,” advises Chen. “Judges have short attention spans.”
Your video submission should complement and not duplicate your written submission. “Think of your written and video case study as a compelling presentation, complemented by an awesome slideshow. Each must impress, but in different ways,” says Chen.
“Try to incorporate your work including social media posts into your video,” says Chen. Remember, your video should include strong visuals from your campaign.
Should you create the video in-house?
“Unless you’ve got a professional video production team in-house, it’s best to outsource the production,” says Chen. The same goes for voiceover artists. “Unless you’re a TV broadcaster or radio station with a wealth of vocal talents, leave this to the experts. Expecting your existing staff or even interns to pull this off will no doubt allow you to save cost. In doing so though, you aren’t likely to be nominated if you put together something amateurish. If you insist on doing so with cost saving as a justification, it’s best you don’t submit for starters. Remember, each entry is a ‘sunk’ cost. Right?” says Chen.
Here’s an example of Chen’s video entry. The total cost to produce the video? Less than $3,000.
Bonus Tips For Winning International Marketing Awards
Chen shares a few more tips to help give you an edge when submitting your awards entries:
1. If public voting is involved, you should know the ins and outs of what is considered as a legitimate vote. For instance, some awards organizers only allow one vote per registered email address or one vote a day from registered users.
2. Your campaign doesn’t have to have the biggest follower count or largest number of impressions to succeed at marketing awards. Numbers are impressive, but they are not everything. Judges will keep in mind the quality of execution and results given the available budget.
3. You need to stick to your timeline and start planning your submission a year in advance. So if you are targeting for that particular award in 2018, you should have started yesterday!
Are we missing any tips? Tell us about it in the comments section!
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