Three essential tips for attention grabbing awards entries

26th May 2016

Here at The Pod, we’re extremely proud of our award successes and, whilst we love nothing more than a team night out, awards are about so much more than a glitzy ceremony and a framed certificate to hang on the wall at Pod HQ. We believe that carefully planned submissions for industry awards form an integral and important part of any comprehensive marketing strategy, and here’s why…

More than just lip-service
The recognition gained from a shortlisted or winning entry can provide an invaluable PR opportunity; creating a new conversation around your business and services that can be used to draw traffic to your website, boost brand awareness, and open the door to new relationships with suppliers and customers alike. The added bonus of an award logo on your website, email footer, social media pages, and marketing literature (you’ve worked hard for it, splash it about!) can also help to build your reputation as an industry leader and be the deciding factor in a sales process; converting potential customers into actual customers, by marking you out as a specialist in your field.

Don’t be put off by the process
If you’re new to awards, the application process can seem a little daunting; the questions on application forms are often quite specific and require structured, in-depth answers that also meet a maximum word-count. For the uninitiated this can be both brain-tasking and time-consuming. However, getting your entry right is well worth the trouble. Like any marketing task, award writing is best approached in a logical and organised way, and our three essential tips can help to make sure you get off on the right foot:

1.    Choose a relevant award
It seems so obvious, but failing to choose the most appropriate award to enter is a common pitfall for businesses who are keen to gain recognition but perhaps haven’t committed the necessary time to properly researching available and relevant awards. It’s so important to scrutinise not only the overall awards and their significance within your marketplace, but also the specific category you are entering. Doing your research carefully will make sure that the fit is perfect and will give you the best possible chance of success. Take a look at historical winners if possible and give careful attention to the award criteria before you begin. It’s also worth researching awards opportunities beyond your traditional industry awards, eg: regional and national awards that recognise business success; from innovation to customer service. However, if it’s not a good match, resist wasting time and money by trying your luck - even if the title of the award is appealing or seems to broadly fit your marketing objectives. If in doubt, don’t be afraid to get on the phone and speak to the awards organisers. They’ll be able to tell you exactly what they will be looking for, and help you decide whether you have a chance of submitting a winning entry. 

2.    Qualify, quantify and quote
In a powerful awards entry, evidence is everything. Don’t just explain what you think you’ve done to deserve the award; back up your explanation with facts, figures, testimonials and case studies. If you have statistics, wonderful. Make sure you include them in your entry to demonstrate that you achieved the objectives you started out with. If not, anecdotal evidence can also work well. Customer testimonials may be a perfect way of adding weight to your entry and if there is scope to add them; images, graphs, and charts can also do a wonderful job. There is also a particular advantage to using image-based evidence where word count is tight! 

3.    Make it into a story
Judging panels on well-known awards may be faced with anywhere from dozens to hundreds of entries. To really make your submission stand out, make it into a compelling story. Yes, they will want to know what you set out to achieve and how you achieved it – but they will also be more inclined to pay attention if you can inject some personality into your material. Focus on what is unique about you or about the service you are describing and don’t neglect to mention the motivation behind your objectives and what achieving them has brought to your organisation/customers, or what it will mean to the future of your business. When you’re making a final read-through of your award entry, don’t just check for grammar and accuracy; also think about the readability and flow of your written piece, and how interesting it would be to an objective reader.

If you’re still feeling a little uncertain about approaching awards for your organisation, fear not – help is available! The Marketing Pod have experience of writing awards entries across a broad range of industries and can help you research, plan, write, and submit awards entries for your organisations. We’d be happy to do this as a stand-alone project, or as part of an integrated marketing strategy. To date, 99% of all awards entries we’ve written have got our clients to shortlist and beyond. Why not get in touch? We’d be happy to chat!