How To

Top tips on how to write a winning award entry

by Alissa Burn |

Winning an industry award, or even being shortlisted for one, is definitely worth breaking out the fizz for – you only need to pop over to our Twitter feed to see how we feel about celebrating awards!

But winning recognition from your industry is about much more than that, and can be a valuable digital marketing tool. The official acknowledgement of the great work your company is doing is a newsworthy story and perfect for website, paid search, email and social media content. A nomination or win is great for your reputation and it’s also an achievement you can talk about within your business to increase employee engagement.

You know a project is award-worthy if the outcomes are obvious and it’s made a tangible difference to your organisation, and keeping this in mind is a great incentive for setting objectives at the start of internal projects or campaigns. Knowing what outputs you’ll be measuring can also help keep your work focused and allow you make adjustments if you find that you’re not hitting the numbers that you wanted to.

From years of experience in copywriting awards for both ourselves and our clients, here are our top tips for writing a stand-out award entry.

Define your KPIs early

To enter an industry award, it’s always best to plan ahead. Usually a project needs to have been completed within the last 12 – 24 months to be eligible. So, when you’re starting work, make sure you define your KPIs of what success will look like. To check all the boxes, it’s best to aim for a combination of quantitative and qualitative measurements and have a set budget to help you demonstrate ROI.

Pick categories wisely

You can often increase your chances of winning by entering a niche category instead of a general one like ‘Company of the Year’. Our tip is to look at all the categories where you potentially fit the criteria and then do some research. How many groups have been shortlisted in each of them over the last few years? Smaller shortlists increase your chances of winning, and remember you can usually enter more than one category.

Tell a story

While you’ll need to craft your entry to answer the specific questions you’re asked, we always recommend weaving a ‘golden thread’ or key message into your writing. Think about what makes you brilliant, like being innovative or having a unique way of working. Then make that a common theme that you reference in all your answers. Whether the judges read your entry from start to finish or look at your answers out of order, they’ll be able to understand why you’ve got a winning entry.

Set the scene

Judges will be on the panel because they’re subject matter experts, but they may not know your industry as well as you do. Make sure to include context about what challenges your organisation has needed to overcome and any information about how you’re outperforming your competitors. If you have benchmarked against your competitors this can also be a great way to prove ROI.

Use your time wisely

You’ll want to get internal approval for your award entry as early as possible – consider if your PR team or Department Director will want to provide input or have final say on the submission. If you do encounter any delays, remember that awards organisations always aim to get the maximum amount of entries. That’s why they will often offer an extension – if you’re running out of time it’s worth asking if they’d consider postponing the deadline for a week or two.

Use colour and design to persuade the panel

Don’t be afraid to show some personality. Depending on the sector you work in, if your company culture isn’t highly corporate then your award entry doesn’t have to be! Using a conversational tone of voice is completely acceptable and may even help your entry to stand out. If there’s an option to submit supporting materials, this is often where you can also bring your achievements to life.

Following these tips will give you a strong foundation for your award entry. However, having a communications professional write one on your behalf can add eloquence and give you a competitive edge. To find out more about our awards copywriting and consultancy services please get in touch – call 0121 726 8400 or email spotted@spottydogcommunications.com.