The Essex Digital Awards: Recognising and Rewarding Digital Talent in the County

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The Essex Digital Awards celebrates the talent and success of local businesses and individuals in Essex each year. Its success has a positive rippling effect on the communities it involves, and helps promote different businesses in all digital industries. As proud sponsors of the Essex Digital Awards, Freelance SEO Essex, a search engine optimisation agency based in Great Baddow, has just announced its continuing support for the awards into 2017.

The awards have taken place every year since it launched in 2013, with 14 categories to enter, some examples being: Website, Website: Marketing and Creative, Blog: Entertainment and Use of Social Media for Business. The categories are created by keeping up to date with digital marketing trends. In 2016, “Website: B2B” was introduced for the first time, as well as splitting “Blog” into two categories, namely “Entertainment” and “Business”. The categories are continually being reviewed as the digital world evolves.

What benefits does the awards scheme bring to Essex?

When asked why Essex Digital Awards was set up, co-founder Iain Johnson said: “For many years businesses, charities and schools across Essex have been investing their time, energy and money into their digital offering but until the launch of the Essex Digital Awards (EDAs) in 2013, there was nowhere for them to seek official recognition for their work.

“The EDAs give businesses a platform to showcase their websites, blogs, social media, apps and videos and we are very proud that our esteemed independent panel of judges, many from hugely respected organisations such as Sky Sports, have had to deal with such a high standard of entries.

“This is what we hoped the Digital Awards would achieve and we are very proud to see the many brilliant companies, charities and schools of all sizes and from many sectors having their truly deserved moment in the spotlight.”

The awards are not exclusive, therefore any business, individual or organisation of any talent and background can enter, so long as they have a connection with Essex. This encourages businesses big or small to get involved, and helps to build one another’s connections. Companies, individuals, organisations, events, charities or schools that operate within Essex, or work for clients who do, are eligible to take part. It is free to enter and takes less than two minutes to complete.

Once you’ve submitted your votes, judges mark it against a criteria sheet that they have been supplied to grade your entry. Finalists are announced on their website, social media and email with a reach of over 13k followers.

The awards have expanded each year, recognising online businesses at six separate events across seven counties. Since the first awards in 2013, there have been hundreds of winners. This has helped engage the amount of communication in communities in the new digital era.

Developing the awards for future businesses

In 2016, EDA received almost 700 entries. The awards are backed by influential organisations such as Essex County Council, Essex Chambers of Commerce and the local press. This influence means the winners can now receive substantial opportunities for publicity.

300 guests are expected to attend the EDA17 awards in May 2017, with big plans in place to expand the awards for the near future.

Iain told us: “One of the most exciting new developments is the launch of “Digital Awards Champions”. We ran stand-alone Digital Awards schemes across six counties in 2016, namely Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Milton Keynes, Surrey and, of course, Essex, with more planned for 2017 and beyond.

“All Gold award winners from each of these six schemes will automatically qualify for a place in the Digital Awards Champions, a competition where they will discover who comes out on top across all of these areas!”

For the first time in the DAs’ history, the winners will be decided by a public vote and the “Champions” will be unveiled at a big reception at the BFI Southbank in London in February 2017.

Iain added: “Behind the scenes we are also working on a number of exciting features which we plan to unveil at the EDA17 Presentation, but we’re keeping them secret for now!”

Freelance SEO Essex are proud to continue our sponsor for the Essex Digital Awards and look forward to the 2017 awards!

For more information, please take a look at the Essex Digital Awards website.

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