How to submit award-winning entries
You might think that PR is all press releases and business news. But there is so much more to it. PR is a deep, strategic element within your marketing mix, it works to build your brand rep, put your right at the forefront of your industry and get you seen in all the right places. And a great way to raise your brand profile? By winning some awards! In fact, research shows that award-winning businesses can see their sales increase by 37%.
Writing up award entries for either your clients or yourself can seem a little daunting at first. How do you do justice to the award-deserving work that’s been done and really sell it to the panelists. So, as an agency who have written their fair share of award entries, we have pulled together some of my top tips for writing killer award submissions.
Read, re-read and read again
Make sure you’ve nailed down each and every criteria mentioned in the entry questions to give yourself the best chance at a win, reading each question three times over is a good place to start to make sure it’s really sunk in before you start on your writing.
Also, have a little search through the awards website and check out the previous winners. Awards often have pages dedicated to winners from the year prior which can give you a good idea of what a winning project looks like.
Get to know
Some awards give specific requirements for answers and supporting documents they want to see, whereas some can be as vague as ‘tell us about why you should win’, so figuring out the structure to your answers and making a list of points you want to make should be your next port of call. This will also help to pinpoint any information you’re not sure about so you can find a colleague who knows.
Your opening few lines should really engage the reader and get them excited about the work you’re telling them about so make sure to add some of your best points to the beginning of your answer structure. Just like a joke, you don’t have forever to get to the punchline, and awards are no different. The judges want to see unreal results, so show the outcome straight off the bat.
Finally, if your entry is project-based, your best bet is to follow a STAR format.
Sell with the stats
It’s all well and good saying your project allowed you to (for example) build a large number of new leads for your client. But where are the facts? Awards aren’t going to be won by hearsay, so make sure you’ve nailed down all your final stats and KPI
’s and include these to back up your points. But in addition to this, it’s important to present these stats in a digestible manner and scattered throughout your entry rather than bombarding the reader with endless numbers at the beginning.
Speaking of numbers, keep an eye on your word count. One of the hardest things about writing your entry will be sticking within some tight word limits, each and every word is precious, use them to fill your entry to the brim with juicy deets.
Set the tone
Just because your award entries aren’t going to be posted on your socials or blog, doesn’t mean the tone of voice is any less important. You want panelists to really engage with your entry and get a good understanding of what you’re all about, meaning your brand’s personality should still be shining through as much as it would on your own website, keeping it authentic to you.
A personal touch
Endorsements and client feedback: the goldmine for award entries. Nothing is going to show the true value of your project quite like a glowing review from the client you put it together for. If you can sprinkle some of these throughout your entry, you’re a shoo-in.
Pick your most scrupulous workmate to proofread your entry, this is not the time to miss an accidental spelling or grammar error. Also, it’s a good idea to ask a colleague who wasn’t involved in the project you are entering to read over the entry. This way you can find out whether it is engaging to outside parties and whether they gain a full grasp of the project without prior knowledge. Obviously finally, you’re going to need client sign off. If you have a particularly private client, do some digging into whether the awards come with confidentiality clauses for the judges – lots of them do!
Once you’ve completed this final step, you’re ready to go! Make sure you’ve collected any supporting documents you have and adding a few images in to offer some visuals will never go amiss and get uploading! (You can thank us later for your bustling awards shelf).