By Kirsty McMahon
1. Enter early
Making sure you get your entry in well ahead of the stated deadline will take the pressure off and allow you to take your time preparing it. As with most things in life, if you rush it you’re more likely to make mistakes and deliver something that isn’t up to scratch.
There’s also another key benefit to beating the crowd. Certain awards, particularly those associated with or run by newspapers or trade magazines, will run pre-award coverage about entrants. If you are early enough with your entry you can often end up with bonus editorial coverage.
2. Get your best person to write the entry
To take your award entry all the way, you not only need someone knowledgeable about your company or the product you are entering, you need someone who can write. The content needs to be engaging, informative and grammatically accurate to get noticed.
Remember, judges will be sifting through hundreds of entries, so a bit of creative flair is important too!
3. Get visual
Speaking of creative flair, don’t be afraid to be visual. An easy way to stand out is to lay out your entry with images. You can even go the whole hog and lay out the entry to look like a page or two from a magazine.
The important thing to remember here is that whatever you do it has to be done well. So if you use images, they have to be of a high quality, if you use graphs to represent data they have to look professional, if you take on a format other than a standard Word document layout you have to know what you’re doing. Low quality visual entries will still stand out, but for all the wrong reasons.
4. Massage but don’t break the rules
All awards have their own set of criteria. Some want you to simply complete an online form, while others require an 800 word document with supporting information to be sent in by post. While it’s important to follow the rules to make sure all the information required by the judges gets to them in the preferred manner, it is worth bearing in mind that some rules can be massaged slightly.
This particularly refers to word count. Some online forms will cut you off if you go over the prescribed number of words, but when it comes to documents you’re submitting there’s no need to feel overly restricted. It’s important not to run to pages over the limit, but if you’re a few hundred words over it’s not the end of the world – provided the content is relevant and interesting.
5. Be persistent
Last but not least, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get shortlisted right away. Enter the awards again next year, or hunt around for other awards you could enter. It’s also important to remember that there is a wealth of regional and national business related awards as well as trade specific ones. Whatever products or services you deliver, whatever sectors you operate in, you’re also running a business!
For more handy tips on getting from award entry to award win, or even for help getting your entry together, feel free to get in touch here or even give us a call on +44 (0) 1785 225416.