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How to write a winning award entry: our insider tips

January 25, 2024

Your business has smashed its targets, carried out some awesome campaigns and sent your turnover through the roof. Now you want to show off your achievements to your peers and customers by putting the icing on the cake: winning a major award.

But to do this, you need an award entry that is really going to make the judging panel sit up and take notice.

Unfortunately, listing your achievements just won’t cut it. Instead, you’ll need to craft an entry that sells the story of your business while using hard evidence to support your claims.

To give your business award entry a little helping hand, we’ve put together this list of our ultimate top tips.

1. Choose the right awards

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Business awards are, well, big business. As such, you’ll probably find a whole host of sector-specific awards once you start doing your research.

However, not all awards are created equal. 

There’s nothing wrong with entering more than one award. In fact, we’d encourage that. But don’t go crazy. Choosing a small selection of awards that are really relevant to your business and its achievements will be far better than adopting a scattergun approach. Plus, fewer awards means that you can put more time and energy into perfecting each entry.

If you’re still unsure about which awards to enter, take a look at what your peers or competitors are entering. Also think about your customers – are there any awards that they would particularly value and recognise? If so, these are the ones to enter.

2. Select your categories

Once you have narrowed down your awards, you’ll need to decide exactly which categories you’d like to enter. Remember: you don’t need to stick to one!

This said, you should only enter categories that really suit your business. To figure this out, have a close look at the criteria for each category before spending some time outlining how your business or project answers each point.

If it feels as though your evidence is a little thin on the ground, it’s probably not the category for you.

3. Give yourself plenty of time!

We can’t overemphasise this point. Award-winning entries require time: you need to gather evidence, talk to people from across your business, and finetune your entry. 

It will also need to be reviewed and checked for accuracy. You may need to get it signed off by key stakeholders too.

Because of this, always start your award entries well in advance so that there isn’t a mad panic right before the deadline.

4. Set out the skeleton of your entry

Now you’ve chosen your categories, you need to start thinking about what your entry needs.

Some awards will give you a series of set questions that you need to answer. Others will ask just one essay-style question. You may find that some awards entries need supporting evidence too, such as videos, financials or visuals.

Start the process by mapping out the story you want to tell. A good way to begin is to pull out highlights that you want the judges to pay particular attention to. You then need to set out the evidence you need to back this story up. At this stage, it’s a good idea to start liaising with other key people within the business to ensure you have all the facts at your fingertips. 

Good pieces of evidence include:

You may also need to carry out some interviews with customers or key stakeholders. If you need a video, you’ll have to create a script and arrange filming. This all needs to be planned in advance so that it is ready for when you write your entry.

Finally, make sure you have noted down the word count! You may have a word count for the overall entry or for individual sections. Do not exceed it.

5. Tell your story

Like any good story, your entry needs a beginning, middle and end. 

Judges may not have much knowledge about your business, so you will probably need to introduce yourself before you really get stuck in. Keep this short though. You need to maximise the rest of the space to sell your story and provide all the right evidence.

For the middle of your entry, you will need to lay out your objectives and how you achieved them. Make sure you include the challenges you faced and how you went about overcoming them. Keep referring back to the judges’ criteria to make sure you’re meeting all of their expectations.

This is where you will set out the bulk of your evidence too. Include facts, statistics and quotes to give your claims substantiation. 

That said, it can be tempting to go a little too heavy on the factual information. Remember that these facts need to be weaved together in a narrative that will capture the judges’ interest. Failing to do this will create a dry, impersonal award entry.

What you actually want is something with a little personality. Use your business’ tone of voice and try to be as engaging as you can. Sometimes, a touch of humour can go down well. 

Finish up with a solid conclusion. Evaluate your objectives, sum up how you achieved (or surpassed!) them and why your business deserves to win above all others.

6. Review your award entry

When your amazing award entry is all written up, it needs a thorough proofread. This will help you to pick out any grammatical or spelling errors, as well as any areas that may need reinforcing with additional evidence. (Check out our podcast on content accuracy to learn more about why this is important!)

Once you’re happy, get someone with fresh eyes to have a read too. You may be surprised by what they spot!

This is also the stage in which you can get your sign-off from other members of the business and finalise any supporting evidence you need to submit.

When you’re ready, it’s time to send over your entry. Upload everything you need and pay any fees. All you need to do now is wait!

Need a hand? We’re amazing at award entries

Creating an award entry is not a quick task, and requires a bit of writing flair! If you’re a little short on time or simply want to make use of an experienced copywriter, we can help.

To find out more about our award writing services, head over to our dedicated webpage. Alternatively, drop us a line at hello@methodmarketing.org

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