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Want great content? Look no further...

It seems to be the million dollar question - what makes great content? Welp, I don't claim to have the holy grail, but having had the great pleasure of being a judge at this year's Drum Content Awards, I can tell you what I learned from getting the nitty gritty on the best of the best in content coming out of our industry this year... (don't worry, no spoilers)

  1. Sometimes the simplest answer is the best one
    • It doesn't have to take huge budgets, multi-faceted distribution plans and a cast of thousands to make a great bit of content. At one point, an entry being knocked around the judging table was called into question for its simplicity. Was it a good thing? A bad thing? Did it matter? We decided that, based on the results, it didn't matter. Simply executed, compelling stuff can work harder than all the bells and whistles you may have in the armoury. 
  2. Then again, bells and whistles is also sometimes good
    • One of the most exciting things I saw was a piece which I can only imagine being nothing but a headache from start to finish. But the end result was something totally spectacular, totally unique and by all accounts, did for the brand what they needed it to do. Can't argue with that. 
  3. Tell a good story
    • We had an entry which we literally lauded because we liked the entry. Not the work (although we did like that too) - the actual entry. A neatly woven thread throughout the submission, tieing up sensible, ambitious business objectives to meaningful insight and coherent strategy, leading to eloquent execution and undeniable business results.We champion the virtues of a well-told story in the content we create, but then often forget how to tell such great stories when we're celebrating that work. Equally, badly told stories get forgotten very quickly - even if the results stack up. Definitely don't be that guy.
    • Guys, results. I know I've harped on about it before, but honestly - content is not for content's sake. We know this already. But how many projects have made it out the door without a meaningful measurement strategy in place? And how on earth do we think we'll ever prove its success without one? I found myself tempted to entirely dismiss submissions which didn't provide proper, meaningful results (NB: clicks and views are not results). In a discipline which is constantly under fire for being fluffy, lacking purpose and struggling to define its role on the plan, its more important than ever to prove that what we're doing is worthwhile.

So, good luck to all those nominated on Tuesday, may we all learn from their excellence.