Quick tips for a killer awards entry
Awards are a brilliant addition to your brand building strategy. As well as the PR opportunities winning the awards brings your business, it enhances industry credibility, drives trust and boosts your team’s sense of purpose and pride. Plus, who doesn’t want to introduce their business as “award-winning”?
So how do you go about crafting an award entry that compels, excites and gets noticed over and above your competitors?
Make sure you allow the time
Let’s start with a seeming no-brainer. As with a lot of marketing activity, completing an entry can get pushed to the bottom of your to-do list. Don’t miss a deadline or submit a poorly drafted entry because you’ve rushed it.
Why not make it a team effort and bring in a broader perspective from across the business? Ellie in your customer services team may bring a totally different viewpoint to Mark in marketing. Work a week ahead of the award deadline to allow for last minute changes, final tweaks and proof reading.
Whether it’s word count, specific entry criteria, or requests for supporting materials, read the blueprint. Dedicate the time your award-worthy work deserves.
Ditch the jargon
Plain English, please! Judges are going to be sifting through piles of business clichés so keeping it simple, clear and specific will make your entry sparkle. Steer clear of tendencies to leverage, create synergies, be market-leading, innovative and holistic. Make sure it feels authentic. You want the judges to get to the end of your entry and think “Wow” not “But what do you do?”
Clean, concise copy is what we’re after- especially if there are word limits in place. Breaking your text up with bullet points, bold headlines and paragraphs to make it easier to read may earn bonus points.
Tell your story
This is your chance to tell your story. Get to the heart and soul of your brand and values. Audiences like a clear narrative, rather than an overloaded fact-filled document. Go back to basics, with the who, what, why, where and when of your story.
One tip is to use compelling words and an active voice. Again, this sets you apart from the guys copying and pasting from a previous award entry. Be passionate, be bold– don’t be afraid to shine your light.
Back it up
Once you’ve nailed the human element of your story, you need to evidence your success. Choose the right facts and figures for your category. If the criteria ask for ROI, hit them with it. Make sure your facts are tangible and contextual.
BUT don’t overload the entry with too many case studies and supporting materials.
Choose the best, most impactful stats, images and client testimonials to support and create colour.
Ask for feedback
Let’s get real – you probably won’t every award you enter, and understandably, this can make you cynical about whether the effort’s worth it. Treat not making the shortlist as the opportunity to reassess your awards process, learn how you can improve on this.
Better still, ask for feedback. I was so disappointed when a client missed out on an award last month. But, having asked for feedback, I got a super-reassuring response from the lovely, very busy, awards founder. She explained:
- they hadn’t anticipated the volume of entries for the new category
- they wanted to capture a diverse representation of businesses
- it didn’t reflect on the strength of our entry
We’ve strengthened our relationship, and have been invited to submit next year, with more categories in place.
Shining a light on your existing customers, attracting new ones, boosting your team’s confidence, getting in front of industry influencers, the right awards really can take your business to the next level. Why not give it a go?