With 2018 Finalists Named, a Look Back at Lessons From 2017 Winners

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With the 2018 SIPAwards finalists now determined and listed on our site—a record 93 in all!—it's a good time to take one more rear-view glance at last year's winners and some of the lessons that emerged from them.

So here are takeouts from stories I wrote about our 2017 SIPAward winners throughout last year. Click on the title to link to the whole article:

Blueprint for a Profitable Virtual Event – With Education Week's editorially-driven ESSA Summit 2017, Matthew Cibellis, managing director, live & virtual events, and his staff proved that there is a place for virtual events and they can drive revenue. This earned Education Week a 1st place SIPAward for Best Success Story. "The key driver behind this new event format was to integrate editorial content we usually keep only on the page and bring it to a new interactive platform enabling our reporters to directly interface on a critical topic with our readers via this virtual summit."

Leadership Challenge Week Draws Almost 1,000 New Leads for BMD – Ask and you shall receive engagement. That's what Business Management Daily accomplished with its Leadership Challenge Week—winning a 2017 SIPAward for Best Social Media Initiative. "This campaign was especially unique and different from the other social media marketing campaigns we've put together since we asked participants to complete tasks to help them strengthen their skills, instead of simply giving them free resources," wrote Jaclyn Baldovin, online content manager for BMD.

100 Days of Summer Makes Dream Days and Nights for Readers - In a way, B2C strategies—such as those used by Chesapeake Family Life's 100 Days of Summer Campaign to win a 2017 SIPAward in Best B2C Marketing—may be giving people in B2B a heads up. The use of all platforms, knowing that your end user is primarily on mobile, and advertising that stands out in a minimal amount of space and includes a strong call to action may all be strong characteristics of a successful B2C campaign. But more and more, they are all moving into B2B territory as well.

ED CLEAR Shows Value of Taking on New Challenges in Your Niche - Designed to provide emergency departments—the "ED" in the name—with Clinical Learning to Eliminate Avoidable Risk, EB Medicine's ED Clear won a 2017 SIPAward in Best New Success Story. It was the video they included that really stood out. Two doctors talk casually but meaningfully about unscheduled return ED visits. It gives the ED CLEAR program more gravitas, and certainly had a positive effect on the major group leads and big-money proposals that later greeted EB Medicine.

Esca Bona Uses Creativity, Emotion and Photos to Attract an Audience – Informa's Esca Bona Conference won a 2017 SIPAward in Best Conference Marketing, bringing in 258 registrations, a 20% increase from 2015. Sponsorship revenue increased 50%! The marketing also brought 3,000 new names to the database, 561 new Twitter followers and 265 Facebook page follows. Esca Bona was created by the New Hope Network to fill a void in the Natural Foods Conference segment. "Gone is the typical boring prose; in with messaging that takes on a conversational flair," wrote Melissa Johnson of New Hope Network/Informa.

How OPIS Quadrupled the Downloads of Its Annual Outlook Forecast - Almost all of us have faced a similar situation: We have good content that didn't get the audience it deserved. We can ignore it and hope the insanity doctrine won't apply to us. Or we can do what OPIS (Oil Price Information Service) did. They confronted the "relatively low download numbers" for its excellent, annual OPIS Outlook Forecast and set out to significantly increase them. Their efforts resulted in four times the downloads (153 to over 600) of the report and a 2017 SIPAward for Best Lead Generation Program.

Keys to the Success of BVR's New Website - Looking at the homepage of Business Valuation Resources' shiny new website—a winner of a 2017 SIPAward for Best New or Relaunched Website—it conveys a simple message: "Every trustworthy business valuation STARTS HERE." After about six months, they saw: a 29% increase in organic traffic; a 38% increase in website visits from people in other countries (helpful for their global initiative); a 20% rise in people visiting through keywords; and an 800% increase in demo requests!

Clear Benefits and Price Options Lead DecisionHealth's New Initiative - Simplify Compliance's DecisionHealth does a lot of things right on its webpage marketing its new Home Health Coding Center Expert and OASIS Guidance. There's gamification in the form of a "How much will productivity increase" chart.  Three pricing options are presented to join; each has a host of bullets and a colorful "Get Started Now" button. And the copy is clean and clear, and talks benefits—the only tool your coding & OASIS staff needs—and "reimbursements." So it's no surprise that DecisionHealth won the prestigious 2017 Margie Weiner Award for Best Marketing Campaign of the Year.

SIPAward Winner Chesapeake Family Shows Power of Facebook Live - Although I previously covered Chesapeake Family Life's successful foray into Facebook Live, it was before it won a 2017 third-place SIPAward for Best Use of Video. With more details now presented, let's go through CEO Donna Jefferson's process again to see how it can be a template for other publishers.

14 Benefits Offered on HCPro's Winning CRC Website - HCPro ran a successful 10-email welcome series last year in support of their Credentialing Resource Center's clean and formidable new website. For those efforts and more, HCPro won a 2017 third place SIPAward in Best New or Relaunched Website. The emails were triggered when someone purchased membership.

Education Week's SIPAward-Winning Social Media Campaign - "By adding a question at the end of the [Facebook] posts, we also engage audience members to respond to our social media. We made the social media personal to each viewer. For example, asking, "How will ESSA affect you and your work?" creates a relationship between audience members, and our social media content begs for a response." There's so much good stuff in that one paragraph from Education Week's 2017 first-place SIPAward-winning entry in Best Social Media Initiative.

How to Start Working on Data-Driven Stories - "This data-driven story was the result of a five-month effort tracking the political contributions made by senior executives at 39 private equity (PE) firms. The goal was to create an interactive database that would allow our readers to analyze how candidates' voting records and public positions on issues such as financial industry regulation influence campaign contributions from PE professionals." That paragraph came from the 2017 first-place SIPAward-winning entry in Best Use of Data, by Sam Sutton, senior editor of PE Hub.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…