Writing award entries for the first time can seem daunting, but there are several benefits that come with entering your business into awards. You might not think there is an award out there for your industry, but nowadays there are awards to suit every business and sector – and often it’s worth looking outside the box.
At Shooting Star we provide an award writing service and help our clients at different stages of the process, all the way from identifying which awards to enter, researching and writing the application from scratch, through to proof-reading, editing and submitting entries.
We have an impressive track record when it comes to writing award-winning entries and in this blog we’ve put together a list of some of our top tips to help you write that five-star submission.
Read the criteria thoroughly and allow enough time
This may seem like an extremely basic first step, but it’s very easy to get carried away with writing to your own agenda. Sometimes you can end up writing what you want as opposed to what you’ve been asked to write – which could be the difference between your entry making the shortlist and not. Writing an award entry always takes longer than you think, so make sure you know when the deadline is for submissions and allow yourself plenty of time to write the entry as well as time to read, proof read and submit it.
Tell a great story
Award entries are a great storytelling opportunity – and while it can sometimes be hard to stay on topic, it’s always a good idea to imagine you are telling the story about your business or a project to the judge. Judges often have hundreds of awards to get through, and stories that are memorable and demonstrate examples of your success will help you stand out from the crowd.
Answer every question and stick to the word limit
Award entries give your business the opportunity to shine so make sure you answer every question as this could impact your success. There are often restrictive word counts which can make you feel like you don’t have enough space to fit in all the great things you want to say about your company. However, there’s a reason for word limits and you should make sure you stay just below the limit, while not overcomplicating your answers.
Make your claim…then back it up
As a rule of thumb, it’s always good to back up whatever you write with evidence. If you write within your entry that your business has demonstrated notable teamwork, increase in sales, or team growth, prove it! It’s always good to try to give examples of tangible facts and figures where possible.
Don’t disregard the power of supporting documents
Writing an award entry can be very time-consuming but you should always strive to make your entry the best it can be. Most online entry forms allow you to add media files, while others allow you to insert images, graphs, photos, videos, evidence and client testimonials in the body of the text.
Where possible you should upload supporting documents to evidence your claims to show the differences you’ve made. The format of award entries will impact how you present your evidence but that’s no excuse to leave vital information out.
Be creative and write in a lively manner
Writing an award entry is all about showing off your achievements. Make sure you write in a way which will really engage the reader; use upbeat language and be proud of what you have done – blow your own trumpet!
Proof read your way to perfection
By this point you will have worked through each step and should finally have your award entry written, but this is by no means the version that you should submit. Once you’ve put all your time and effort into writing the perfect entry, the last thing you want is a spelling mistake to place a shadow over your work. It’s always good to take a break from the entry for some time before picking it up to proof read; this way it will be a lot easier for you to identify any mistakes and errors.
When you’ve worked on a piece of writing for so long you can no longer be objective about its impact because you might know what you mean, but the judges might not. It’s always a good idea at this point to ask someone who was not involved in writing the entry to read it and get their verdict on whether it was easy to understand what has been written.
Submitting your entry
Now you’re (nearly) done! After all your hard work writing the entry, make sure you have checked the details of the deadline, included all the supporting information required, and that you’ve provided as many copies of the entry as requested. It’s good to get into the habit of collating and storing entries you’ve submitted so that you have this information to hand in the future. Once you are happy that you have done everything required you can hit the submit button!
After submitting, you should receive a confirmation email stating that your entry has been received. If you don’t, it’s always worth following up with the organisers to make sure – the last thing you want is to fail at the last hurdle. Don’t forget to make a note of the date that shortlisted entries will be announced so you can share the good news on your website and social media channels should you be shortlisted.
Entering the awards process can be time-consuming, but the positive impact they can have on your business, employees and customers is incredibly rewarding.
If you’d like to know more about how we can help your business when it comes to entering awards, please get in touch. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for another blog coming soon about the benefits of entering awards and how you can make the most of your award nomination and win.