Design Editorial

How to Win a Content Marketing Award: IMEA STAR Edition

Power-up your application by taking this tried-and-true, three-point approach.


Great content is all about telling a story, and that applies to the content in your award submissions as well. Now, I won’t claim we are experts — judges are human and they can be unpredictable sometimes! And, as we know from financial services, past history is no guarantee of future results. But in the last eight years we have won over 100 awards for clients and more than a score for ourselves, so we have enough experience to know we have some best practices. 

Imprint is also a decades-long sponsor of the IMEA’s STAR Awards, which is the premiere awards competition for educational content and communications in the financial services industry. With the deadline for this year’s STARs looming (July 30th) we wanted to share a three-point approach that could upgrade your submission.

Start with this Three-Point Approach

1. Make sure you are in the right category. Don’t pretend your project is something it’s not, as that will only lower its chance at winning. And if it could fit into multiple categories, and you have to choose, think about which category might get fewer entries. Fewer competitors certainly won’t hurt your chances. Take the time to look at the winning work from recent years if it’s available, and study what the award organization and its judges appear to value and/or prioritize.

2. Start at the end. What are the results that qualify you to win? Compile your stats, and don’t be shy — pull together as many results as you possibly can. How did the project effect end-clients, internal associates and stakeholders, etc. No stat is too small! Once you know your conclusion, you can begin to craft the story.

3. Be specific. A dash of jargon might be okay, especially if you need to set the stage with judges who speak the same language. But it’s best to avoid industry-talk. Make sure you’re specific, and get into the details. It can be tough if there is a word count limitation, just make sure you are explicit about what makes the project unique, what the challenges were and whatever you think the judges will hold in highest regard when evaluating.

Aim for a STAR

There are 26 categories to peruse at the 25th annual STAR Awards across retail, advisor and plan participant segments. As you prepare your STAR-worthy entry, aim for the win. Know your audience (the judges) and prepare your entry as if you were one of them. What would you want and need to see? What would make something standout to you? In terms of the STAR Awards, the judges are your peers. Like you, they know the difference between good and great — so bring out your best and make sure your content shines.

Click here to begin your submission process for the STAR Awards and learn more about Imprint’s sponsorship. May the best content win!


It’s never too early to begin planning your future-award-winning content for next year. Reach out to us at imprint@imprintcontent.com and let us know how we can help, whether it’s strategy and journey-mapping work or executing on your existing strategy and creating stellar content.

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