Entering and winning awards is great for promoting your business. Even if you don’t win, you can still communicate via a news release on your website and social media channels that you were shortlisted or attended the award ceremony.
How to prepare for entering awards
- Create a calendar plan of awards you are interested in attending, including entry deadline dates and costs of entry.
- Review your business activity for the year. What projects have you delivered? What has happened that has been exceptional? What have you done that is new/different? What has been achieved?
- Collate data and information including statistics, proof points, press coverage, interviews and testimonials. The most successful award entries are those that have the evidence to support the story.
- Look for the award-winning story. What have you got to say that stands out from the crowd? Think about your new products, excellent service, unusual projects, outstanding team accomplishment or the overall business achievement. If you don’t have a story that is exceptional, different or a huge success then it is not worth wasting your time or budget entering an award.
Use this checklist when entering an award:
- Carefully review the award categories and criteria. Every award category you enter will be different. It is important to understand what the judges are looking for.
- Check you have all the data and information to meet the award criteria.
- Register for the category you wish to enter.
- Make payment for your submission.
- Decide how to present your entry. Often the entry guidelines stipulate specific word count and file formats. However, there are times when you can be creative, so consider other media such as video and infographics, or get your written entry designed or formatted in an unexpected way.
- Manage it like a project. There will be multiple people you will need to gather information from. Create a schedule with timescales and hold regular update calls to monitor progress.
- Allow yourself enough time to write the entry. Award entries take longer than you think to write. You often need to interview senior members of staff and customers who are busy.
- Consider your target audience. Assume the judges have no knowledge or your brand, project or services.
- Make your content engaging. Take the judges on a journey. Tell them your story, ensuring you keep it to the point whilst covering who, what, where, when, why and how.
- Remember appendices are for supporting information only and are not always read by the judges. Key information and messages must be included in the entry. Some word counts include appendices too!
- Seek approval. Ensure you have permission from any parties where you have included their testimonials.
- Review your entry. It’s vital you proof read your entry as well as checking it answers all the points highlighted in the criteria.
- Submit your entry before the deadline. Online portal platforms can be slow the hours before the deadline looms, ensure you don’t fall victim to this.
- Cross your fingers and await good news!
- Get organised and draft any social media posts and news releases in advance of the award ceremony. This allows you to issue news promptly and piggyback on the award ceremony’s publicity, reaching a wider audience with your communications.
- When you are a finalist or winner of an award, the awarding party often provide an award winners logo for use on web banners, press releases and email signatures. This strengthens your brand awareness and business credibility in your industry.
We’ve helped our clients uncover interesting stories, highlight key achievements and carefully craft award entries; as a result, their successes have been recognised and rewarded. Here’s just one story of how we have helped enhance a client’s reputation as an industry leader.
If you would like to be recognised for your success but don’t have the time to write award entries, we can help. Our award entry service is flexible; we can support you as little or as much as you need.