10 tips for writing award entries
October 11, 2022
Awards are a great way of showing what your company can do and celebrating the innovation of your teams or partnership with your customers. Being an award winner sends a signal to your prospective customers that you are recognised in your industry. It also contributes to building awareness of your brand. Having said that, award entries are an investment of your time and, done properly, take careful planning and execution. With that in mind, here are ten tips for creating award entries:
- Select the right awards
You can quickly get bogged down with multiple entries across many awards. Award entry writing needs to be properly resourced, and the review and sign-off process will also take up the time of a number of people in your organisation. Therefore, don’t spread yourself too thinly, go for the awards that really matter to you.
- Pick the right categories
Judges don’t like wading through entries that just aren’t appropriate for the categories they’re entered for. They’ll see through a round peg that’s being squeezed into a square hole, so be sure to pick the right categories to maximise chance of success.
- Start early
Don’t leave drafting your entry until the last minute. It’s likely you’ll have a number of contributors to get information from and a round of approvals to go through, so allow yourself enough time. It’s a good idea to put together a timeline and agree on it in advance with everyone who will need to contribute. It should detail the timeframe for the draft, reviews, updates, approvals and submission.
- Learn from previous entries
Take a look at who has won the award and category before. Some awards publish winning entries and these provide a great steer on the format and content that judges like.
- Don’t assume prior knowledge
You know your company, its solutions and customers inside-out but the judges reading your entry probably don’t. Give context and background but keep it clear and concise.
- Be clear about what you want to say
Think about the challenges the solution or implementation needed to address, how it did that, the obstacles that were overcome, what the results were and how customers or stakeholders responded. Having a clear idea of the narrative before you start drafting will help you stay on track and avoid too much deviation that will only take up valuable word count, won’t add value to the entry, and could confuse the judges.
- Address the category criteria
The criteria for entries to each award category are provided to help you. Make sure you give the judges the information they’ve asked to see in your entry. Many awards stipulate a format, and often include a maximum word count for each section, so make sure you conform to the specifications.
- Be illustrative
Don’t just tell, show. The judges need proof that the solution is as good as you say it is, or that the project met the objectives. Give examples, include quotes (ideally from customer/s) and quantify the results and benefits that were achieved.
- Help the reader out
Format the entry so it is clear to follow with sub-headings, white space and a clear structure and flow. If your entry is hard and heavy to read, or if the judges have to go back over a sentence or paragraph to grasp the meaning, they won’t thank you and you run the risk of losing their attention.
- Get it checked!
It’s always useful to have ‘fresh eyes’ on any piece of writing. Have a number of people read your entry and provide constructive feedback. Your timeline included space for iterations so implement agreed changes to ensure your entry is as good as it can be. Make sure you have all the sign-offs you need, including from customers where relevant, before finalising your submission.
Approached in the right way, awards can form an important part of a well-rounded PR strategy. As you create your submissions this autumn, or plan your awards strategy for 2023, consider our ten tips and get creating!
Find out how FINN Partners works with clients to create meaningful award entries as part of PR programmes, get in touch.