Thanks to the team at Hartley Fowler and Consortium Business Solutions for their latest news item. Below, they share best practice for entering awards. Hopefully these help during your application process and get your creative juices flowing.
Follow the entry instructions
This might sound obvious, but it is one that is often ignored. Most awards offer detailed instructions on how to present the evidence they are looking for. Read the instructions carefully and any ‘terms & conditions’ of entry. They will usually have details on the format required, word count, entry deadlines anyhow to make payment for entry if required. You will be penalised if not disqualified for late entry.
Pick the right category
You won't have a chance of winning if you enter your work into the wrong category. Read the category descriptions and select carefully. Some awards allow you to submit an entry for more than one category but do ensure you tailor each entry form to the specific category criteria.
Ensure your entry covers the judging criteria for the category you are entering and answers all questions for your category. Judges can only mark you on what is included in your entry form so make sure all important information is included, and all criteria adhered to.
Stick to the word limit
Judges are busy, they could have hundreds or possibly even more entries to wade through so don’t waffle. Judges may mark entries down, or even disqualify them, if they exceed the stated word limit. Please ensure your answers are clear and succinct. Judges love clear, concise entries use attachments to effectively illustrate points.
Where possible link any evidence and information you are submitting back to your business objectives.
Provide backup evidence
Judges love quantified results and want to see some proof of what you’ve achieved.Include facts and figures, quotes from clients or the media, and even images or info graphics.
Remember that judges will be reading masses of entries, so you need to make your entry memorable. Make sure your entry is passionate, tells an interesting story and is backed up with statistics and evidence.
Always write in clear, concise English, avoid jargon and never copy and paste from existing materials. Do ask someone to check your entry reads well and is free of typos.
Take your time
Winning award entries take time and effort to write and perfect. Again, we’d highly recommend you get someone to proof read your entry before you submit it.
Don't wait for the deadline
While we would always recommend that you take your time creating your entry we would also suggest sending it in as soon as you are happy. Many awards organisers, especially those with associated media partners, will often print material about companies that have entered as a way of generating more interest and getting more companies to enter. So, get those entries in, you may be lucky enough to get some extra free promotion in local news publications.
Provide supporting materials
Use a selection of documents to provide context and background to your entry.
Attach your logo to your entry form. This will be used in the event brochure and presentations should you be shortlisted. Ensure this represents the campaign, product or organisation you are entering.
Being shortlisted for an award brings recognition and an opportunity to celebrate a great piece of work, a fantastic organisation, team or individual. It can motivate employees, promote your business to new customers, and act as an endorsement for your organisation. It can also help you to evaluate your work, compare yourself to competitors and even identify areas for improvement. A good winning entry takes time and there is a skill in writing a submission. Good luck!