Recipe for success – writing a winning award entry
Winning awards makes great PR. It is good for morale and good for business.
If you’ve never thought your business was the type to win awards, think again. You don’t even have to be a big player with satellite offices around the world, you just have to know the recipe for writing an entry that will beat off the competition.
Over the years, the team at Suzanne Howe Communications has penned tonnes of award entries for our clients, and some of us have also judged awards. Just in the last year, 12 of our entries have been shortlisted, with 10 going on to win. We also organise the prestigious Kimberley-Clark Professional Golden Service Awards, so we like to think we know a thing or two about the process.
To help you on your way to glory, our team have put together their top tips for a glittering award entry that will bring industry acclaim, inspire your workforce, and impress your clients.
Time and money
Some awards are free to enter; others charge a fee. With a wide range to choose from, it’s important to prioritise, especially if you’re thinking of spending valuable marketing budget. Writing entries can also be time-consuming. You might set out thinking you can duplicate copy for a number of awards but, in reality, each has different requirements, so think carefully about how much staff resource you can realistically apply.
Secondly, what are you hoping to achieve? For example, as a producer of baked goods, you might choose to enter awards aimed at food manufacturers, or you might prefer to battle it out in a category for suppliers in a major retailer award. One would give you a badge to promote your product; the other would directly promote your business to potential customers.
Also think carefully before you choose your category. While you might be tempted to enter ‘Business of the Year’, a category that highlights just one area of activity may attract a narrower field.
Do you need a partner?
If you’ve chosen to enter awards in another business sector, make sure they are open to suppliers; sometimes they are more geared towards companies in their sector. You can still enter, but would need to explore the potential for submitting a joint entry with one of your customers. Partnerships often work well for both parties, especially if you have a good writing team to take the pressure off your partner.
Speaking of criteria, make sure that before you start writing, you’ve read all the criteria, and made a note of each question in the submission. These days, most forms are online, but as long as you register, you can copy the questions – and word counts – into a Word document and prepare your entry before you submit.
Back up your claims
The most common mistake when writing award entries is to include unsubstantiated claims. Remember, even if the judges are familiar with your company, they can only make decisions based on the information they are given. Include evidence for every claim – hard data is better than general statements – and if you don’t have the statistics, consider waiting until you do.
Entry submissions vary hugely in length and style, but we have never come across a process that did not give the opportunity to include Supporting Evidence. The format will vary, but this is your chance to include more detail, testimonials, or other information about your business that shows you in a good light. Make the most of it. And good luck!
To talk to our expert team for help with your entries, get in touch.