How to write award entries
Entering awards may be the bane of your life – it always takes longer than you think to write the entry so it’s usually a stressful rush at the last minute. So why bother?
Well, it’s very flattering to be nominated or asked to enter an award; if you get shortlisted or win it’s a fantastic boost for the company and the team; you usually get to go to a great party; it can help with new business; enhance your profile in your industry; give you a great opportunity to generate some publicity – both internally and externally; and the logos look great on the letterhead/ email signature/ website homepage.
Here we give our top five tips for writing award entries and some advice on how to go about finding awards to enter. (But rest assured we can do the hard work for you as well if necessary!)
1) Enter the right award: This might sound a bit obvious, but award entries take a lot of time and effort so it’s important to make sure that the award you’re planning to enter are worth it and that you genuinely think you have a good chance. Have a look and see what and who has won in previous years, if you can get examples of previous entries to work from do that too, but always make sure you put your own stamp on it. The process of actually entering an award can sometimes cause you to have a really close look at your business, your goals and what you’ve already achieved. The process itself can sometimes be beneficial.
2) Check the format: Another obvious one, but something that can easily be overlooked – do they want it written in the first or third person? Is there a word limit on the responses? Would it be advantageous to have your entry designed by a graphic designer to give it more impact? Do they want attachments? How do those need to be formatted? Does the entry need to be submitted in a specific format? Does it need to be posted or emailed – this could impact the amount of time you have and how you write it up?
3) Gather evidence: As well as you telling the judges that you’re great, you deserve the award and how could they possibly give it to anyone else, it’s probably a good idea (and most awards require it) to gather evidence to support your answers. Examples of documents, testimonials from colleagues or clients, presentations, press coverage… whatever fits the bill, make sure you use it to strengthen your case as the future award winning company or individual that you are.
4) Proof-read: You’ve come this far, you’ve decided which award to enter, you’ve agonised over the words, you’ve edited everything to within an inch of its life and now you’re almost ready to enter (well within the deadline of course) so don’t let a ‘smelling pistake’ or stray apostrophe or speech mark get in your way. It may sound small, but some of these judges are hard people to please!
5) Be prepared: You may be called upon to have a face-to-face interview as part of the awards process, this could turn out to be the interview of your life. Be prepared so you can enjoy it! Think you might enter a particular award next year, start preparing for it now, if there are particular criteria you need to fulfill what can you do between now and then to make sure you’ve got it covered? Always be one step ahead and you’ll find it much easier when it comes round to the entry writing process.
Where can you find out about awards to enter? There are lots of places to look – try your local Chamber of Commerce, local newspaper and council. Also look at industry bodies and associations, for example in the franchising industry the Franchise Council of Australia runs an annual awards scheme – every year we work drafting and editing entries for clients. Quite often industry and business magazines run awards schemes as well. And have a look to see what your competitors have won before and enter those too. Using a search engine such as Google is a great way to find information or register for a website such as AwardSync, which is a free service that lists awards across the country according to sector.