How to Write a Great Awards Entry

Awards TeaserThe deadline for this year’s Effective Mobile Marketing Awards is just over eight weeks away. So as you start pulling together your submissions, here’s a guide to how to put together, if not the perfect entry, then at least one that gives you a chance.
Rule 1 – Start early
We all know how long and difficult a process it can be to get client approval to shout about a great piece of work in public, so don’t leave it until a week, or even a month, before the submission deadline to start asking for permission. Our final deadline is 7 August, but to avoid a Late Entry surcharge, get your entries in before the Early Bird deadline of 24 July.

Rule 2 – Read the Entry Form 
The Effective Mobile Marketing Awards judges see a lot of entries that are clearly cut and pasted from an Entry Form written for another awards programme, probably as a result of failing to adhere to rule one. There’s no more surefire way to make them think that no love has gone into the entry and that you don’t really care much about the award, which puts you at a disadvantage before you’ve even started.

Rule 3 – Choose your category/ies
Like many awards programs, we have multiple categories that can be entered with a single campaign or solution – 36, to be precise – so study the category list closely to ensure you enter the most appropriate one for your work. And if you think it fits well in two three of the categories, put it in all where you think it stands a good chance of winning. We slice and dice our categories several ways in order to try to recognise great work from across the industry. So a mobile ad campaign, bought programmatically, and using the user’s physical location to serve them with offers to drive them into a retail outlet could well fit into the Most Effective Programmatic Campaign; Most Effective Location-based Campaign; and Most Effective Retail Campaign, as just one example.

Rule 4 – Follow the rules
If there’s a maximum word count given to summarise your entry, or for any other part of the Entry Form, stick to it. If the Entry Form says you can supply three photos and one video of maximum three minutes duration in support of your entry, don’t send 10 photos and a 10-minute video. Blindingly obvious, but often overlooked.

Rule 5 – Use video to bring a campaign to life
Sometimes, words are enough, but often, they are not. Particularly when trying to explain a sophisticated ad campaign, a video can be worth a thousand words. It’s obvious really. You can write: “When the user clicked on the banner, it opened up an image carousel allowing the user to see the interior and exterior of the car from different angles.” Yes, I get it, I understand what happened when the user clicked on the banner, but show me a video of that process, and it brings the campaign to life. And of course, this type of video does not have to cost very much at all to produce. It’s not about production values, it’s about showing the judges what the campaign looked like and how it worked.

Rule 6 – But…beware of passwords
All judges have a day job and usually give up their own time to carry out their judging duties. This means – I know from personal experience – that they may set aside time to judge entries outside of normal working hours, late into the evening or at the weekend. In which case, there are few things more frustrating than clicking on a link to watch a supporting video, only to be asked for a username and password that were not included on the entry form. Or to find that the link has expired and the content is no longer available. And because it’s 10pm on a Saturday night, the chances of reaching anyone to help you get round the problem are slim in the extreme. If you are including links to video content, try to avoid services like YouSendIt where the link expires after a couple of weeks, in favour of hosting the content on your own servers. If you want to put it behind a password, that’s fine, but make sure those details are included on the Entry Form.

Rule 7 – Remember the numbers
If you’re asked for evidence of a campaign’s success – and in the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards, you are – you are clearly going to be scored down if you don’t provide it. Clearly, there are times when a client may be unwilling to share the results publicly, but if so, you only need to include the line ‘For judges’ eyes only’ or ‘Figures not for publication’ on your Entry Form. That way, the judges have the evidence they need to score your entry fairly, and your client’s need for commercial sensitivity is satisfied. And when supplying figures, hard numbers are better than approximations and both are better than relative figures. So: “The campaign budget was £100,000 and it delivered incremental revenues of £1.2m” trumps: “Over the course of the campaign, sales were up 15 per cent on the previous month”, which is likely to leave the judges asking: 15 per cent of what?

Rule 8 – Take care
If you’re going to make the effort of entering an awards programme, make sure you give that entry the time it deserves. Craft an entry that is so well-worded, so compelling, that the judges are going to be bowled over by it. This requires you to be hypercritical of your own work. While a brilliantly-written entry wont catapult a mediocre campaign to stardom, a badly-written one may well scupper the chances of a brilliant campaign. So chose your best work, get the permissions you need to release the figures you need to support it, then put together an entry that follows the rules and makes it impossible for the judges to ignore.

And when you’ve done all that, get your best suit or ball gown down to the dry cleaners and prepare for a great night out at the Awards Ceremony.

The Effective Mobile Marketing Awards are accepting entries now. The Early Bird deadline is Friday 24 July, the final deadline is Friday 7 August. To find out more and download the entry form, head for the Awards website. And good luck!