Successful Award Programs – Part of the B2B Media Content and Commerce Flywheel
In a recent MediaGrowth Excellorator interview, we asked Clayton to talk about the awards programs that HW Media runs in conjunction with its housing and residential real estate brands; HousingWire, RealTrends, FinLedger and Reverse Mortgage Daily. Here are some of his insights.
HW Media doesn’t think of its award programs as stand-alone revenue, but rather, as a part of the content and commerce flywheel of the business. The awards programs are successful due to the brands’ credibility, trust and reach in the industry, and their success contributes to both the growth of the company and the business community.
Programs are launched when it is certain that the awards are meaningful to both the potential recipients and their colleagues. It is also important that their companies want to celebrate the recognition they receive.
HW’s largest award program, Vanguards, recognizes the long-time careers of housing leaders and the impact they have had on their industry. Winners are successful business influencers and become some of HW’s most important relationships for editorial sources, event speakers and podcast guests.
Another program, Women of Influence, raises and celebrates women in the housing industry, where they have been historically absent, at least in executive levels. “We feel like we have helped women advance professionally while also building relationships with core female leaders as they have risen in their careers”, says Clayton.
Awards programs have nothing to do with advertiser relationships. This maximizes credibility. They are run by an internal editorial advisory board with some participants from outside the company for review and selection of winners. It’s a big job. A program that recognizes 50 people might involve more than 300 submissions. HW uses evalato, a software program that runs submissions, voting and review.
“Charging nomination fees, and raising them as programs become more prestigious, has not been met with resistance”, says Clayton. “It has helped us get to the upper tier of the industry. We gain more submissions from top leaders who are actually driving innovation and moving the housing market forward. It also cuts down on inappropriate nominations and enables us to apply the necessary resources to do the job right.”