So you think you deserve a Big Award? You quite possibly do, but standing between you and the recognition you so richly deserve is the small matter of a written entry.
This submission is the one and only chance you have to get your case across. There is no second stage, no face-to-face presentation. This written entry is it. So you really need to ensure it does you justice.
Here are some important pointers from us here at Boost Marketing, the world’s first and largest award entry consultancy.
We've put our heads together and distilled a huge list of suggestions and top tips into just ten vital ingredients. These are based on our experience of writing over 700 winning award entries since we were established in June 2006.
- Tell a story – make your submission a compelling read. Yes, you are talking to a “judge”, but this is not a court of law. Make the narrative win them over.
- Prove you’re the best – while telling your story, avoid the pitfall of including unsubstantiated assertions like “there was a real buzz in the office” or “feedback was immediately excellent”. Judges get irritated by statements that lack evidence.
- Read the instructions – this might seem an obvious point, but ensure you read the guidelines and judging criteria carefully and then ensure you answer all the questions in full without going off at tangents. If you are not 100% sure what a question is after – ask. Never assume.
- Interview the right people – even if you think you know the story, you should interview as many other people as possible. Ideally a senior sponsor, external “witnesses”, the implementer of the strategy and maybe even beneficiary like an end-user or customer.
- Find a truly independent reviewer – the judges are unlikely to know your industry, so it pays to get someone to read your draft submission who is equally objective.
- Imagine you were unsuccessful – when you have written your entry, a good technique is to imagine you were unsuccessful and you narrowly missed the top spot. What would you do to get a few extra marks?
- Use images wisely – It’s true that a picture tells a thousand words, but badly used graphs, diagrams and photos can actually do more harm than good. Images are good, but only if they make sense in three seconds, add value and have a clear purpose.
- Avoid the quagmire – the biggest trap in any submission writing process is to focus too heavily on “what we did” – the quagmire. It is called this because it you get bogged down in the detail. Remember that awards are as much for what you achieved, as what you did. So balance the two.
- Recycle your entries – having spent time and/or money crafting a thorough award entry, it would be a travesty not to use it again. So find some more awards to enter it into. You can browse the Boost Marketing Awards lists for free (and subscribed for free monthly updates). Click on any of these links: UK, Ireland, France, New Zealand and USA.
- Use awards for continuous improvement – a survey by Boost of awards organisers showed that a third of awards provide feedback, another third give feedback when asked. Resist the temptation to contest any comments provided by judges, instead use the feedback to improve your initiative, your strategy or maybe just your award entry writing for next time.
If you ever need help choosing which awards to enter, gathering the right sort of evidence of success and uniqueness, writing your award submission or preparing a presentation to judges, then feel free to contact our partners at Boost Marketing in the UK, Ireland, France or New Zealand.
© These top tips are the intellectual property of award entry consultants Boost Marketing Ltd
Photo courtesy of Oregon Department of Transportation via Flickr