On the 22nd January, Lucy Lavers of Push Start Marketing led a workshop on how to write engaging award entries for business awards at Perch. Here are a few of the top tips given at the workshop for those of you who missed out, and as a reminder for those who attended.
These are a the most poignant tips from the workshop, but if you need more advice, please just ask!
1. Choose your categories wisely and liberally
When looking at the awards categories make sure you read them all and identify what the judges are looking for. There will be some categories that you’ll immediately identify as not for your business, but if you fit the conditions and have an answer to the judge’s requirements, then you should think about applying for all those categories.
You shouldn’t assume the requirements – not all ‘innovation’ awards require you to have manufactured some kind of widget. It might be that you have been innovative in other ways. For example, you spotted a gap in the market and you’ve started performing a new service that has helped increase your business’ profits.
Tip: Once you have written an entry it will not take too long to tweak that entry for the other categories. And remember to look for new categories in awards you may be familiar with.
2. Take your entry seriously
Give yourself time to write your entry and think about what information you might need so you’re not rushing anything at the last minute. Here are some other things you may like to consider when submitting:
- Although most entry forms do not ask for detailed financial figures, they will require top-line figures and certainly, if you progress to interview status, you may want figures to back up your entry
- You might also want to get employees and/or clients involved with quotes or input
- Make sure you know your submission dates and what you need to complete your entry and plan the time in accordingly.
3. Tailor your entries
It can be really tempting to just cut and paste information about your business from your website or corporate brochure. Don’t do this, as the judges will want to see that you have considered what they are looking for and are trying to present that to them in an original way.
For each different category you’ll need to just adapt your entry to ensure you include only information relevant to that category. Judges will have to read lots of entries; you need them to put yours in the ‘keep’ pile from the get-go.
Tip: The hardest questions get the best answers. It’s not what makes you different, it’s the why and how.
4. Tell a good story
Telling a story is a good way to engage the judges; your passion will come through by writing a story rather than a report. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a tale of flawless success it can be one of disaster – what’s important is what you learnt and what you’re going to do with that knowledge.
- For a good-news story, try to think: What the status quo was, what changed, the results of the change and what you learnt from it.
- For a bad-news story: try to describe the problem, your solution to it, what the outcome of that was (whether success or failure) and what you learnt from it.
5. Back it up
Make sure you can substantiate your stories with facts, figures and examples. Most award entries are online so don’t be afraid to attach/include photos, graphics, quotes or even links to videos.
Tip: Adding images and videos makes for a much more engaging entry. You’re not only providing evidence, but you are literally illustrating your points.
6. Review and proof
Once you’re done, have someone proof it for you to ensure that you haven’t gone off at a tangent or used jargon that’s hard to understand. A fresh pair of eyes will help make sure your entry is simply put, focused and concise. If it helps, write your award entry in Word (or similar) first and when you’re finally happy with it, fill in the entry online.
Tip: Using Word or Pages first allows you to check word count, spelling and grammar easily, before committing to entry forms.
7. Finally, submit
An obvious one but there are a lot of businesses who don’t press the send button for fear of rejection, failure or an imagined vulnerability. Award entries are usually confidential and it’s only the judges who’ll read them. If you’re proud of what you’ve achieved, then enter an award and take the opportunity to let your peers know how far you’ve come.
If you’re considering entering an award and would like to get some help on writing your award entry, you can attend the full workshop at Point of Difference’s Aylesbury Location – Market House, details to follow, or contact Lucy Lavers of Push Start Marketing on 01993 224522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.