Writing Winning Award Entries
How to write award entries that increase your chances of success
Our top tips for writing winning award entries:
Writing winning award entries requires more than simply having products, services or people worthy of recognition. You'll need to demonstrate why it's the case, outlining why the judges should choose your entry over others in the same category. Each awards programme has a different set of criteria, and many have useful entry guidelines. Still, there are some general steps you can take to increase your chances of success.
Why listen to us? We can put our money where our mouth is, retaining the title of Small Dev Agency of the Year (UK Dev Awards) for the second consecutive year and having a Digital Champion of the Year (Third Sector Awards) in our midst. Of course, we can’t guarantee success. But if you have a product, service or person in your organisation worthy of winning an award, read our tips on strengthening your entry.
7 steps that will get your business award entry noticed:
- Make sure you meet the criteria
- Read through and follow the application guidelines
- Outline clear objectives against results
- Back up your claims with hard evidence
- Let your answers flow, edit for word count later
- Don’t skip the supporting evidence
- Be an early bird for the best pricing
Make sure you meet the criteria
Don't waste time on abandoned entries
Each awards programme lists information differently, and it can take a certain amount of digging to find what you need. It's worth it; nothing is worse than getting halfway through an entry that must be abandoned. For example, watch out for the entry qualification period. If your award-worthy activity falls outside these dates, it may invalidate your entry.
Read through the application guidelines
Take note of the judges' entry recommendations
Alongside criteria, awards organisers usually supply an online booklet that contains entry guidance. Sometimes the information will offer judges advice relating to their specific needs. While reading through pages of award entry guidance seems like a chore, it is worth it. Reading the application guidelines helps inform the structure of your entry, which can be tailored to suit the particular entry you're filling out.
Outline clear objectives against results
Tell your award story step by step
This bit is straightforward. Outline the objectives of the initial brief and how you overcame any challenges to get results. Clearly outline the journey from concept to completion, highlighting measurable outcomes. Here is us at the starting point. Here is the journey we took to get from A to B. Here we are at the final destination.
Although it sounds obvious, it’s very easy to get carried away trying to include every bit of information possible. The difficulty is selecting the specific information you want to get across and communicating that clearly and concisely – because you will be up against a word count. Be sure to include your point of difference to make your entry stand out.
Back up your claims with hard evidence
Let the numbers do the talking on your entry
In most cases, judges want to see quantitative and qualitative results. You must add data, metrics and figures to strengthen your results. This type of information is not always easy to gather retrospectively. So, ahead of any awards entries, you'll want to capture certain data types when setting up your campaigns. If you're not ready to enter an award right now, it may be worth searching the criteria of two or three programmes in readiness for when you apply.
If there’s one key takeaway from this article, this is it. Trust us; you’ll do better if you add figures.
Let your answers flow, edit for word count later
Tell your award-worthy story but don't waffle on
If you've followed the two points above, you should already have clear, concise award entry content. But sticking to that (typical) 1000-word limit is surprisingly tricky. Our advice is to let your words flow initially. You can always go back and edit the word count later. And let's face it; you will probably have a stronger entry that gets your point across quickly and cohesively. When deciding between words and numbers, always include the numbers. As much as you want the entry to read well, the hard data best presents the facts.
Don't skip the supporting evidence
You have the extra entry space, so use it
By the time you've got to this stage, awards fatigue has likely crept in. You'll be tempted to skip the 'optional' supporting material in favour of submission. But we recommend keeping going for that extra mile. It has the edge if a judge finds it hard to choose between two entries and one contains supporting material. It's also a good place to get across what your clients think about you and not just why you think you should win. Again, client testimonials are something that can be gathered in advance. Keep a bank of them on file rather than sourcing them close to the deadline.
Be an early bird for the best pricing
Submit your entry early at a reduced price
We've mentioned preparedness a few times. However, it does pay off to note when awards programmes are due to come around and when the deadlines are. Using the tactics above, you'll have everything ready to seek internal approval and submit in time for the early bird offer.
If you’ve already done the hard work of setting stretching objectives and meeting them with outstanding results, why not allow us to write up the entry for you? We offer cost-effective award entry writing services to support our clients’ marketing programmes.