How to write a winning award entry

Award entries are a great way to get recognition for your brand, your products or your customers.  They can also lead to media interest in the winners and so are a good tool for PRs to use.Trophy

The downside is they can sometimes take a long time to put together, so you only want to invest the time if you are certain you will get the recognition you deserve. So what do you need to do to increase the likelihood of you winning the award you’re after?

1) Choose something that deserves to win

Talk about stating the obvious, but it is likely that if you designed the product, you will think it is the best thing since sliced bread. However, if there are 10 other products on the market that do exactly the same thing, it is unlikely that yours will make the award judges sit up and take notice. A well written award entry alone may get you into the shortlist for an award but it is genuinely the best products, or the most innovative services that actually win the accolades.

2) Start off strong

Think about it from a judge’s point of view. They may have 100 award entries to sift through in a day.  If yours is number 89 in the pile, it will need to be pretty special to make them pay attention. Your first couple of paragraphs will be key. Start with a strong quote, or illustrate what impact it has with an example. If it is a lesson planning tool for teachers, instead of stating that ‘it is the best lesson planning tool available’, why not start with something around how much time a lesson plan takes an average teacher to do and why it is such an important job to set the scene.

3) Assume the judges know very little

It is easy to forget how much industry jargon you use – a phrase you think is in everyday use in your industry may be unfamiliar to a judge. Spell out any benefits too. The judge may not automatically see that making a core process quicker for a social worker will mean that they can spend more time with children or adults. Make sure you make this link for them.

4) Prove it

Every time you make a claim try to prove it. You saved your customers money – great – but how much money? Use comparisons if possible – 90% of your customers are satisfied – fantastic – but even better if you can compare that to an industry average, or the fact that this figure was only 60% two years ago.

5) Get your customers to back you up

It is one thing you saying that you are fabulous, but it is quite another if you can get a customer do it. Ideally, quotes or case studies you use should be peppered with facts to back up any claims being made.

6) Think about the language and examples you use

Use emotive language to demonstrate the importance of your system – rather than stating ‘our payment management system is reliable’, you could demonstrate it by stating that ‘1,000 medium sized businesses rely on our payment management system to pay all their invoices on time and manage cash flow, so it simply cannot fail’.

7) The word count is there for a reason

The judges will not have time to read 10 brochures you have attached to the award entry. Select what you send carefully, and use the option of sending supplementary information only if there is something that truly supports the claims you make in the award entry.

If you would like a list of the main public sector or education awards available, please do not hesitate to email me on catherine@catherinelane.com

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  • About the Author

    It’s my job to look strategically at our clients’ goals for their brand and then apply my knowledge of PR, the media and online communities to make sure that we deliver. The part of my job that I enjoy most is being able to provide a fresh perspective for our clients – and uncovering the best way to raise the profile of their brand. I also love keeping up to date with the ever changing nature of PR.

    Before setting up the business, I worked both in-house and agency-side doing PR in the education and telecoms sectors. I split my time between France and the UK and so I can often be found at airports smuggling cheddar cheese into the land of camembert.

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