And the Award Goes To… Rewarding Your Team

With the recent announcement of this year’s Academy Awards nominees, now is a good time to be thinking about awards, not to mention rewards. The question for content creators, and those in charge of content creators, is how to reward work in a realistic and reasonable way. There are a few lessons to be learned from a big-budget awards affair like the Oscars and the first of them has to do with scale.

Don’t Go Overboard

In 2009, the Oscars changed their nominations set-up, inflating the Best Picture category to ten slots from the five slots that had been the norm since 1943. What this did was to allow lower percentage-winning (and, generally, bigger studio-produced) films to get some attention and make it seem like the same five Oscar-bait movies weren’t just getting nominated over and over again. The problem was, and still is, that there really aren’t ten Best Picture nominees. This might be the reason why, both this year and last, we’ve only actually seen nine nominees in the category.

Going overboard in your awards-giving can make the whole affair seem less like a bestowing of honor and more like an elementary-school soccer game – filled with participation medals instead of rewards for merit. Make sure to acknowledge everyone (just like an award winner remembers to thank their mother), but know that not everyone can win the trophy at the end.

Streamline Your Ceremony

However you decide to present your “awards” to creators, make sure that you don’t draw out the congratulations. One of the biggest flaws in awards ceremonies, from the Oscars all of the way down to the fledgling IAWTV Awards, is that the presentation of rewards can be a long, drawn-out affair. Learn from the mistakes of every bloated awards ceremony and aim to be concise. Make your presentation the Twitter of awards ceremonies, not the WordPress diatribe of destiny.

The Award Might Already Exist

Another thing to consider in the rewards process is that the means to reward yourself or your copywriter for your/their hard work might already exist. There are add-on sites like LoveBucks, which allows followers of content to click a “Love” button.  Additionally, Google recently tweaked their algorithms with Panda and Penguin, which are designed to reward creators with a greater visibility for their content.

Consider rewarding creators for pageviews, clicks, etc. Using the power of analytic trackers, it’s easy to create a sort of badge system for content makers, giving them some knowledge that their hard work is being noticed and bolstering them onto the next project. This will take a bit of work on your part, but it will be well worth it for morale!

Celebrate Your Own Achievements

It’s important for the working copywriter to celebrate his or her own good work. Milestones are important, even if they are only milestones to you. Know what that first hit post you had was, celebrate your first finished job, even the celebration of a completed piece of writing with a good stretch and a deep breath can help get you back into the mood.

A great little site to help push you onto the next set of words is WrittenKitten, which displays an image of an adorable cat at programmable word intervals. This simple bit of morale-boosting will certainly help push you to the next set of words necessary for your project.

Awards? (Maybe) We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Awards

Maybe the answer isn’t really in giant awards ceremonies or attempts to adapt already archaic awards ideas to the rapidly evolving world of web content. Perhaps building smaller, simpler solutions – like adorable kitten photos – can be the new gateway into a workable rewards system for content creators and copywriters. The real takeaway is that people like to be rewarded for their hard work with recognition. Be it through badges, trophies, or kittens, there is a solution for any scale.

How do you reward yourself or your content creators?


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Michael is a graduate of New York University’s Film and Television program. He specialized in writing, channeling a passion for storytelling, no matter the medium. In addition to his work at CEM, Michael primarily works in web content production, including projects like Geek Crash Course, a geek-educational series, the Ansible, a comics-based interview show, live performance series The Next Lab Sessions, and many more. In addition, he’s written and edited for the digitally distributed Champion! Magazine.

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