A couple of weeks ago I attended The Awards Masterclass, which was hosted by the Content Marketing Association (CMA). I’ve been writing submissions for many years, but feel it’s always good to brush up your skills and keep them fresh.

The Masterclass was so insightful with numerous hints and tips to help you create that award-winning entry. I’m not here to give away the CMA’s secrets, but these are the four key lessons I took from the day:

1. Set the context quickly

Don’t assume the judges know you, your company, your sector or any of that industry jargon – attending the masterclass I was surprised at how many marketeers present didn’t know what MQL, SQL and ROI meant. Give them a brief introduction to the market you compete in so they understand the background to your story. Then tell the truth, and tell it well.

2. Make it memorable

Consider how many entries the judges receive. They need to get this down to a shortlist quickly, so they’re looking for reasons to eliminate you. Make sure you stand out for the right reasons. When the judges think back through the pile, what are you going to be remembered for. Think of yourself like an episode of Friends – you’re “The one with…”

3. Tell a story

Everyone loves a story, it’s a framework that’s familiar and one that has been drummed into us since childhood. Start at the beginning by setting out ‘the problem’. Tell them what you did, and what you learned in the process. And finish with a bloody good ending! But don’t forget, life isn’t always perfect, we all make mistakes, so admit to your vulnerabilities – the judges are human, and empathy is a powerful emotion.

4. Words matter

I’ve already said to lose the jargon, but also make it simple to read – almost conversational. There can be absolutely no typos (this is a sure-fire way to get yourself eliminated). Be credible, not incredible. Never over claim, always substantiate. Headlines matter to frame the narrative. And above all else, stick to the word count.

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If you’ve enjoyed reading this, you might also enjoy, ‘Tips for writing an award submission.

Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

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