How to Make Award Winning Creative Content - Part 2

This post is a continuation of part one of ‘How to make award winning creative content’ , which focussed on our Drum Search Award for Photoworld.

Following on from the previous post, where we discussed the elements of our CEWE Photoworld work that netted us the Best Use of PR - SEO award, part two will run through the campaign that helped us take home the Best Financial Services Campaign - SEO for our client, Fleximize.

Dominic and the Fleximize team collecting their award

Fleximize - To Inspire and Empower

Fleximize is a FinTech startup providing flexible loans to businesses. The creative content is aimed at small business owners and entrepreneurs.


Fleximize operates in an exceedingly competitive niche where they compete not only against large established banks, but against other small business loan providers. Their initial PPC based marketing strategy was not sustainable for long-term growth, so our goals were to:

  • Increase organic rankings by improving the strength of the domain

  • Gain brand exposure and press mentions from a creative campaign


The results of the overall campaign have been very satisfying. The highlights include:

  • 252 linking root domains (LRDs) (22 pf those on sites with domain authority over 50).

  • Organic traffic increase to the site of 42.5% (17,751 to 25,297) (excluding our pieces).

  • 516,399 non paid sessions to our campaign pieces.

  • Press coverage in: Inc., Entrepreneur, Business Insider, The Independent, Design Taxi and Tech Insider.

  • Fleximize started ranking for a large number of highly competitive terms. E.g. “small business loans” with an average position of 43, where they had previously not ranked. In our representative sample of keywords, they ranked for 12%, before the campaign, while they currently rank for 63%.

  • 9,000+ social shares

How we achieved it:

To avoid risk, we built domain strength by creating high-quality content pieces and supporting them with targeted promotion. Our strategy was to create content which empowered and/or inspired small businesses. We wouldn’t make anything that looked down on our audience, or was difficult to connect with.

Nearly all content made in business finance is exceedingly dry. This gave us a chance to let the relaxed, everyday tone of voice and character of Fleximize shine through and show some personality, and to set ourselves apart in a competitive niche. Each piece had a clear hook and story to maximise our chances of coverage, and those hooks and stories were developed using our own variation of the made‐to‐stick framework.

At the point we entered the campaign for award consideration, three content pieces had been created and published. Let’s run through each of these and analyse what made them all successful and award-worthy.

Piece One: Careers of the Founders

What is it?

A timeline of the successes and failures of some of the greatest entrepreneurs plotted by age. The timeline shows when in their life entrepreneurs started their businesses, how many businesses they started, and how many of their ventures were successes or failures.


This type of idea generally involves a lot of research, and it is our job to pick out the interesting stories and turn them into a narrative. The data for this type of content will inevitably not all be in one place, but news sources and the entrepreneurs personal websites were a good start.


Icons give insight into the type of business before you hover to read more detail. At first glance, you can easily draw comparisons, but there is also plenty of room to explore more. In short, we don’t make the user dig around to grasp the main point; we just tell them.


It’s easy to look at successful entrepreneurs and neglect to consider their path to success. We are all working towards something, and sometimes our goals seem unattainable. To see that even highly successful business people fail numerous times before they succeed, makes us have more faith in achieving our own goals. It makes us feel empowered. And this was exactly what we were shooting for – making the intended audience of this piece (small business owners) empowered to develop and grow their businesses despite the challenges they face.

Piece Two: Morning Rituals of Highly Successful People

What is it?

A series of stacked bar graphs that map out the morning schedules of highly successful people. From the time they wake up to midday, this visualisation helps you compare who’s a gym fanatic and who’s a slave to email.


Again, a heavy data gathering journey to find the stories where we were looking for the outliers and the extremes - a data point different to the norm.


Bar graphs may seem an easy choice, but they are also often the clearest way to help your audience consume data, as well as being the simplest way to tell a story. Don’t overcomplicate your visuals in pursuit of a greater aesthetic appeal. Think about what you can strip out of the visual, as opposed to what else you can add. Think about what communicates the message best in its purest form.


As with all pieces in this campaign, the idea behind it is to inspire and empower. By exposing the daily routines of successful businessmen, we gave people the ability to see what exactly the likes of Anna Wintour (an editor of Vogue) and Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) do first thing in the morning. We also made it possible for the audience of the piece to compare themselves to people they look up to and potentially borrow effective routines from inspirational business leaders we included into our piece.

Piece Three: From Millions to Billions

What is it?

‘From Millions to Billions’ plots the age at which the world’s richest entrepreneurs made their first million and their first billion.


Another research heavy piece, which we collated figures from rich lists, profiles, interviews and news articles.


Drawing on the common association the colour green has with money, this colour palette was an obvious choice. As soon as the piece loads, the colour choices create a certain feeling,which matches the aspirational message we're trying to communicate.

We also added the ability to sort our list of successful businesspeople by age at which they earned their first million, and their first billion. This enabled people to quickly dig into the core stories of the piece: Who was the youngest millionaire and billionaire? How long did it take them to go from million to billion?

We chose the default order of the piece to show the people who were the youngest to make  a million at the top. We agreed this was the most compelling story and showing it right at the start made this content more engaging.


Age is a strong hook. Mark Zuckerberg making a billion by age 23, will most likely make us think, ‘Heck, I’ve messed it all up.’, whereas James Dyson only made his first million at 47, which might give us a little more hope of achieving similar goals ourselves. It’s emotive, and emotions drive us to share content.


Make just one point

Don’t make people dig around to try and uncover the story. Your most salient point should be very clear right from the offset. Combine this with the ability discovery of more detail later.

Outliers make a story

The extreme cases, e.g. the youngest to make a million, or the latest to wake up are often where your story lies.

Keep your design simple

Strip out as much as you can to let the visuals and the story behind them do the talking, don’t clutter the page with unnecessary frills.

Make your audience relate

Ensure your audience can place themselves into your story, and think about how they compare. Make your user feel good about themselves in comparison to others.

Wrapping up

There you have it. While the Drum Search Awards has many categories and the judges undoubtedly have to consider campaigns and content with all different strengths, we feel that the execution and the hooks of our campaigns directly lead to the strong results and from there the possibility of award wins.

What I’d really like to know is how you’ve found success when applying for awards. Do you take the same considerations as we do, or is there some other ingredient that you think we’ve missed or overlooked? Let me know in the comments below.

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