Before COVID came along and kicked over our champagne bucket, industry award evenings were quite rightly a highlight of the working year. Being shortlisted or winning an award is fabulous PR for your business, a chance to reward employees for their hard work and an opportunity to get ahead of the competition. And it all starts with a well-written entry form.
Over the years, I have written award entries for many different companies working in many different sectors. I’ve even written a couple of entries for myself (Young Communicator of the Year – twice shortlisted, still very proud of that).
Here’s what I’ve learned about the art of writing award entries:
Read the award guidelines before you start
Sounds like an obvious one, but before you start putting together your entry, read the organiser’s guidelines carefully to ensure the award you are planning to submit qualifies under their T&Cs of entry. While there isn’t usually a long list of rules, you don’t want to overlook an important detail that could disqualify your entry from the get-go – for example, entering a project which took place outside of the qualifying period.
Give yourself plenty of time
Preparing an award entry takes time. As well as writing the submission document, refining your wording and getting it approved, you may also need to collate supporting material. If you’ve left your submission to the week before the deadline, it is going to be a) very stressful and b) not your best work. If its worth doing, its worth doing well.
Get to the point
The word count for an award submission is often pretty stingy, so you need to express yourself clearly and succinctly. Map out what your key points will be for each section and then build your copy around those to tell the story in an engaging and concise way.
Answer the questions
The award guidelines and criteria tell you what information the judges want and how they will mark your entry. Keep that to hand while writing your submission and keep asking yourself – am I answering the question? If the answer is no, try to frame your key points in a different way.
Know what’s important
Some award forms will tell you how many words or points are awarded for each element to give you an idea of how important they are to your overall entry. Make sure you are giving strong answers for sections which have a higher weighting and don’t spend hours and hours on sections which aren’t as important.
Your supporting evidence can maximise the impact of your award submission. Consider how you can visually represent your entry with great photography, videos and animations, customer testimonials or an infographic to illustrate some key facts and figures.
Whether you win, get nominated or just turn up on the night for a free drink and a dance, industry awards offer an amazing opportunity to showcase your achievements to customers, to recognise and reward employees and to outshine your peers.
If you want to be the one holding the silverware this year, drop me a line for an informal chat about how to amplify your awards potential.