The awards season is upon us - yay! A time of tuxedos, toasts, and tension… as you wait to hear if your name will go up in lights. Or will you walk away gritting your teeth sickly as your arch competitor takes the title from you again?
So, do you want to be the rooster, or the feather duster?
Every single year we have been in business we have helped clients to take out top honours in their fields, and this year is no exception: 8 awards won over the last two months.
The question we ask is: Are you doing the right things when it comes to awards, or are you wasting your time?
If you want to win more awards, we recommend you follow these simple guidelines:
Select the right awards for your organisation
Although it seems that there are a million awards schemes, the right one for you is out there. Choose carefully: there’s little point in going for an apple-sellers’ award if you sell oranges.
And be honest with yourselves. For instance, we turned down an opportunity to enter a business growth awards scheme ourselves because, although we have helped numerous businesses to grow significantly, our own growth – while undeniably there – is not of a level compared to the Xeros of this world…
If you delude yourself at the beginning, the rest of your efforts are going to be wasted.
Choose the right category/ies
Ask yourselves: is this the right category for us/our product/achievement? Does it really reflect our achievement?
Think tactically: which categories might your competition be targeting in this awards scheme – so how can you select a category in which your results truly stand out (and one which your strongest competition may not go for)?
Answer the questions!
Once you get into the submission, don’t allow the evaluators to mark you down due to you ignoring or not answering the questions.
And follow the order they set out: allow them to tick all the boxes. Remember how it was in exams at school – if you answered all the questions, you would always stand a better chance of doing well than someone who didn’t.
However, if you think that the questions don’t suit your entry, I’m sorry to say it but it’s probably the other way around…
…but don’t just answer the questions
Think: why have they asked these questions? What do they really want to see from us? And ask yourselves: Why us?
Think about your message, and theme your entry accordingly. Give it a title, use headers, sub-headers and bullet points to guide the reader around your submission simply and easily. Assume that they are reading your entry last on a sunny Friday afternoon before going away on a saucy weekend. How can you help them see why you should win, and quickly?
Think about your message
What are you trying to get across in your answers? Be brutal about it – if the information isn’t helping you show how you are amazing in xyz precise way, then it is actively hurting you.
And ensure your message aligns with the awards scheme, category and entry.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to providing content for answers:
- “We have this project and all this information – let’s drop it all in and then edit it down”
- “What are the three real killer points that we want to make – and then prove them from our existing information?”
Option 2 is always going to be more effective. Always. And it will take you less time…
Make it compelling: prove it!
Show them why you’re so good. You have to give evidence – numbers, stats, quotes etc – to prove the results you achieved.
And images always help – what can you include that shows you engaged in the activity that you say was so good?
So, what killer facts, stats and outcomes/results have you got to hit the judges between the eyes?
Don’t give tonnes of unnecessary extra guff
Cutting and pasting a whole load of your organisation’s generic material – relevant or not – just isn’t going to help you. All it will do is bore the evaluators.
So be ruthless: cut out anything that doesn’t help you.
Tell a story
If your success came from a blinding flash of inspiration, tell the story. Don’t make it War & Peace, but give it some human flavour and be passionate.
Position yourself before and after
Consider the proactive PR you can do before the award you are targeting – i.e. thinking months out, forming schemes and activities to generate the proof you need for your submission.
And then consider your post-win plans, taking into account that the ‘we won an award’ isn’t of much interest as a media story…
Post-win communication could involve market commentary to position yourself as an award-winning expert, as well as a social media blitz and direct communication with stakeholders, recognising staff’s input etc.
Images tell the story. So use them. If your submission is about a community initiative that went well, show pictures of the initiative and why it went well.
No stock images please!
Don’t leave it till the last minute
Forethought is useful in creating the right submissions – leaving it to a rush at the last minute significantly reduces your chances.
If you need help, we love doing this work…
Contact us if we can help you with your awards submissions:
Over the past 24 years, George has helped people and organisations win major awards all over the world. Give us a call if we can help you!