Winning Content Awards Made Easy (IMEA STAR Award Edition)

Your entry must be clear, concise — and must be linked to impact

Creating outstanding content takes thought, care, and a keen eye for detail — and that’s exactly what’s needed to craft winning applications for the IMEA STAR Awards.

It’s that time of year to participate in these prestigious salutes to the very best in investment management communications, and we’re excited! (Imprint has been a proud sponsor of the peer-judged STARs for much of their 25-plus-year run.)

With the entry deadline approaching fast, we chatted with top marketers whose firms have previously won in various categories for both print and digital content. They’ve been honing their entries for 2022, and shared tips to help you supercharge submissions.

So before hitting “send” on your application, take stock of these insights from Heather Demsky, Senior Marketing Manager at T. Rowe Price, and Vicki Lester, VP – Head of Intermediary Marketing for Columbia Threadneedle.

Just as it’s key to play to your strengths in any competition, be sure you’re entering the right category. STARs break down into Advisor, Investor, Retirement, and Overall groups, with new subcategories that include engagement and team collaboration. Decide what shows you off most advantageously.

That’s part of what makes these prizes so valuable. STAR Awards are a chance for “self-assessment,” says Demsky. “We know what our objectives were. Now we can ask: how well did we meet them?”

Standing out from a crowd is a must for grabbing — and keeping — an audience’s attention, and the same is true when it comes to judges. It’s essential to know what makes an entry stand out.

“In every case, it’s a combination of strong design, strong content, strong outcomes,” says Lester, adding that in the case of Columbia Threadneedle newsletters, “clarity and variety” are also distinctive hallmarks.

“We take concepts that we are sharing with financial advisors and we also try to make them relevant to the end clients,” she says. “We have come up with a sort of formula for doing that.”

Demsky works on the marketing team at T. Rowe Price that focuses on providing individual investor clients with education and insights. Being “engaging and compelling” are musts for content to stand out, and “messaging consistency” is a further factor. “It shows that we care about our clients and are meeting them where they’re at in their life stage.”

When it comes to do’s and don’ts in submissions, the marketing sages are in sync. The same ingredients that go into first-rate storytelling apply.

“Being clear and concise in your entry is critical,” says Demsky, adding that you should only include screenshots and other supporting materials sparingly. “Don’t overdo it.”

Lester echoes that sentiment, and points out that judges have a lot of entries to evaluate. Avoid submissions that “are too long or have too much text,” she says.

But do focus on flaunting communications’ results — whether through metrics or anecdotally. Entries shouldn’t just show what communication did, she adds, “but the impact they had. There’s a lot of room for creativity in this.”

Here’s your chance to shine like a supernova. 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.