There’s no doubt that getting an industry award under your belt does wonders for your company’s reputation and profile. Winning an award in any category demonstrates that you’ve been judged as an industry leader by a third party,
which is surely the golden egg for any ambitious business. But, for many businesses, the application process is the thorn in the coveted crown. All too often the process is not given the time and attention it deserves, resulting in a lackluster application that doesn’t do your achievements justice.With hundreds of awards to get through, judges simply won’t pick you out from the crowd unless you write an eye-catching entry. And this really does take time and effort. So, if winning an industry award is on your business’ bucket list, take five minutes to read my top tips on how to go about it…
Don’t underestimate the importance of making a good first impression. The judges will have likely spent hours pawing through previous award entries, so unless you want to get lost in the crowd, you’ll need to make an impact quickly.
Be sure to get the best bits in first, and don’t beat around the proverbial bush – say it concisely and confidently, or not at all.
You’d be amazed by how many businesses scupper their chances by exaggerating or embellishing their achievements. Judges will always see through these little white lies, and they won’t give you the benefit of the doubt. Discover your strengths and accomplishments, and communicate them truthfully and eloquently. If they’re worthy of an award, they won’t need dressing up.
The bottom line is, judges are looking for outstanding achievements and contributions to business. So if you haven’t done anything amazing, don’t enter. If you believe you have got something to shout about, take your time in discovering exactly what that thing is. Judges want to hear about unique ideas and tangible results, so ensure you explain your achievements concisely and demonstrate the positive impact they’ve had.
Back it up
If you’ve done something amazing, you’ll need to prove it with facts, figures and testimonials; otherwise it’s all pie in the sky as far as the judges are concerned. Use statistics and charts to demonstrate positive results, whether that’s commercial growth, client acquisition, client retention or employee and client satisfaction. These can, and should, be measured, and demonstrating these metrics professionally – and simply – will put you in the judges’ good books.
Stick to the word count
I can’t stress enough the importance of sticking to the word count. Some judges won’t even give your entry the time of day if they can see you’ve written a tome. You’ve got to bear in mind that the judges will have read hundreds of entries, amounting to hundreds of thousands of words, so they won’t thank you for adding to their workload. It’s all about quality, not quantity, so make sure you cut out the jargon and get to the point. If you do exceed the word count, it’s helpful to read back through your answers with your editor’s hat on – be ruthless!
Proofread, proofread, proofread!
It stands to reason that you should never submit the first draft. That would just be madness. But it’s also madness to only proofread your entry once, and not let other people give it the once-over. Treat your entry as a work of art, making sure each and every word is absolutely necessary, and that you’re communicating your answers clearly and succinctly. If something doesn’t feel right, cut it out. If something needs to be explained better, explain it better. Refine, refine and refine until you have a polished entry that you’re proud to submit.
Whilst writing may not be your strong point, it’s nonetheless important to write persuasive and engaging answers. This may mean handing the baton to someone else in your team, or enlisting a professional service to help. But it’s definitely worth the investment – by writing a compelling entry, you’ll stand out from the crowd and give yourself the best chance at being selected. And because so many businesses make the pitiful mistake of copying and pasting their answers, you’ll set yourself apart as a company that actually cares about winning. I’ve helped some fantastic businesses win industry awards and accolades, with one of my clients achieving eight finalist places and seven winning trophies in the last two award sessions alone. If you want to be recognised as an industry leader in your field, but haven’t got the will or the way to write a winning award entry, get in touch. It’s time to give your business the boost it deserves.