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What makes an AOP Award winning entry?

AOP Awards 2010
With the entry deadline for the AOP Awards 2010 rapidly approaching (Friday 5 March), we look at some of last year's winners, and ask: 'What should I be focussing on to maximise my company's chances of success?', 'what to include?' and crucially, 'what to omit?' from entries.

More information on AOP Awards 2010 categories and criteria, cost and payment options and the entry process.

1. Keep it Simple

Keep it clear and be specific. Judges will have many entries to review, so keeping below the word limit will work in your favour. Be sure your entry is easy to explain concisely, give some background and outline your objectives and strategy. A great example of this is ‘The Economist Debate Series’ – Winner of Innovation 2009:

Success against objectives

- To provide a forum for independent, intelligent and reasoned discussion - and invite readers to participate through an immersive online experience:

Readers have cast a total of 8,500 votes and left more than 4,500 comments during the judging period. Many of the comments have been highly impressive both for the quality of thinking and the effort put into writing them. The debates have attracted interest from the New York Times Freakonomics blog and, among others.

- To create a premium and unique opportunity for commercial sponsorship
The debates have proved extremely attractive to sponsors, with repeat bookings: Intel has sponsored five debates and Phillips four. Client feedback has been extremely positive and sponsorship for the next six months of the debates is almost fully booked.

To find out more about this entry, read our case study.

2. Facts Not Fluff

Give specific examples. The more detail you can provide in terms of revenue and web traffic stats, the stronger your case for winning.

Our judges are each asked to sign a confidentiality form, so there is no danger of this highly sensitive data being used inappropriately. An excellent example of a winner providing detailed stats is RBI Job Sites – Winner of Digital Sales Team 2009.

Commercial Results

RBI Job Sites: "selling efficiently and doing everything they can in the classified space"

  • Increased revenue: up 14% in 2008 vs 2007 and up 30% in 2007 vs 2006
  • Improved conversion rate from print: 90% (i.e. 90% of print customers now pay for additional web advertising)
  • Increased web-only contract revenue: up 59%
  • Yield per customer is up 26%… the team now does business with nearly 7,000 customers a year online too
  • Revenue from jobseeker e-newsletters: over £100k (it was zero in period March ’07-Feb ’08)
  • Flat job numbers: March ’07-Feb ’08 = 366,121; March ’08-Feb ’09 = 367,352…an incredible achievement considering the current economic climate, where there are far fewer jobs

Providing this much detail provides context and firm evidence to support your your entry, and hopefully, make it a success!

To find out more about this entry, read our case study.

3. Wow Factor

Ask someone with an objective view to read your entry. If they’re not impressed and don’t say ‘wow’, then neither will the AOP Award judges.

Julian Gairdner, Editor of Farmers Weekly Interactive wowed our judges with his entry for Digital Editorial Individual 2009. Comments from the judges who selected this as the winning entry for this category were:

“Clearly a natural digital editor, Julian displays a strong understanding of his target market, producing innovative editorial devices outside the traditional core pillars of web journalism. He has demonstrated a highly skilled approach to both strategy and execution.”

To see more about this entry, read the case study.

4. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread

Now the boring bit: proofread and then proofread some more.

It sounds obvious, but the more eyeballs you can get on your entry copy, the better your chances of submitting a strong, well argued, well worded entry.

5. Start Early!

Last, but definitely not least, start preparing your entries today! Don't leave it all to the last minute...

The more data, testimonials, relevant links, commercial results and traffic figures you can amass, which is relevant to the judging period of February 2009 to January 2010, the greater your chance of success.

The Deadline for entries is Friday 5 March // start writing your entries today!

Good luck!

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