When you win a healthcare marketing award, there may not be a black-tie gala — but it’s still worth celebrating! We’re proud that in 2021, we won 5 awards on behalf of Aha Media and our clients. (We may or may not have donned our finest eveningwear and sipped champagne in our living rooms.)

Here are the 5 awards we were honored with:

Our How To Be Clear During COVID-19 Cheat Sheet won 3 awards! The publication was selected as a:

We also won two Silver HDM Awards for:

We always want to be of service to other healthcare marketers, so we’re giving you a peek into our process. We hope these tips will help you write award-winning content — and give you the push to apply for the awards as well.

We raise a glass to all our fellow 2021 winners.

The Big Winner: How to Be Clear During COVID-19 Cheat Sheet

Since this cheat sheet won three awards and was our most downloaded publication of 2020, let’s dive into how we put it together.

The Steps We Took to Create an Award-Winning Publication

1. Step into your audience’s shoes to identify their needs
We started discussing creating the cheat sheet right away, in March of 2020. We were in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health experts and talking heads were on TV talking about the coronavirus 24/7.

Aha Media’s fearless president Ahava Leibtag, whose passion is plain language, was frustrated listening to health experts explain COVID-19 to the public.

They peppered words like “underlying conditions,” “incubation period” and “community spread” into their speech without breaking down what those words meant.

Ahava recognized that our fellow healthcare communicators were probably also frustrated — and overwhelmed, as they tried to help their audiences navigate this new, uncertain world and provide them with factual, clear information.

When Ahava thought about what those marketers needed, she realized they could use a cheat sheet. An easy guide, saved to their desktop or pinned to their bulletin board that broke down all those widely used (but not reader-friendly!) terms.

2. Research and collaborate
My colleague Haley and I pulled together a list of as many confusing COVID-19 terms as we could find. (Definitely not a difficult task!)

We have a large team of expert writers and editors at Aha Media. Several of them were already working on COVID-19 projects for some of our hospital clients.

We shared our list with them. They added their suggestions and how to explain the phrases to a lay audience.

3. Write and edit the content
We pulled our teams’ suggestions together to create a comprehensive list, all laid out in an easy-to-scan table. The page included the original terms, definitions and examples of the plain language explanations in a sentence. We wanted to make the cheat sheet as actionable as possible for our fellow healthcare marketers.

We sent the content to our rockstar editor, Gila. She helped shorten the sentences (a must-have for plain language), fact-checked our definitions and made the content even more reader-friendly.

Ahava reviewed our draft and challenged us to make the copy even more straightforward and to the point. Finally, our designer, Lauren, made the final publication look attractive and polished.

4. Publish quickly
Ahava had her original idea for the cheat sheet on a Wednesday. By Friday afternoon, the finished publication was live on our site. Looking back, I’m amazed that we wrote, edited, designed and published the piece in 3 days. It’s especially remarkable because, during the lockdown, most of us had our young kids home with us. Although it was a busy time, we felt gratified to do something actionable to help in some small way.

5. Apply for awards
You might think organizations receive awards out of thin air, that committee judges scour the Internet looking for the best content upon which to bestow awards. That’s (usually) not how it works. You typically have to seek out and apply for awards. And before 2021, we didn’t prioritize award entries. We created great content for ourselves and our clients, but we didn’t submit them for recognition.

Now we’re proud we took that next step. We’re honored by the recognition and hope awards will help us attract new clients. Yes, we paid small entry fees for the awards and spent time on the applications. But it was worth the effort. Even better, entering (and winning!) awards on behalf of our clients, as we did with The National Gaucher Foundation, makes our clients happy and proud, too.

6. Ungate your content
Sometimes, an organization will discover your content organically and want to give it an award. (Yippee!) However, it’s unlikely that they will find your content or take the time to download it if it’s gated. We’ve made a case for ungating content before, and we’ve increased downloads by doing it ourselves. The opportunity to receive awards is just one more reason to stop asking for that email address.

What Awards Will Your Content Win This Year?

We hope this post inspires you to research awards and enter your best content. See what categories match the content your organization has created and send it in. When those awards roll in, tweet us or tag us on LinkedIn so we can congratulate you. Good luck!

Resources

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