On the face of it, writing an award entry might seem like a piece of cake. But if it’s not your normal day job to craft compelling answers (all within strict word counts) to the often exacting questions in business and personal achievement awards, then you might find it just a teensy bit harder than you think.
Scratch that. A lot harder than you think. And who could blame you? Hiring an award writer is the obvious answer if you want to submit a polished entry. But a word of caution: they’re not magicians, so you’ll have to add your insights, too. Here’s how to get real value out of the experience.
Entering an award is not the time to be shy
If you want to win – generally the whole point of the exercise – then you need to speak openly about what makes you or your business so special/different/innovative/whatever. Remember, in all probability the judges won’t have heard of you so it’s vital that you transfer to your writer a very strong understanding of what’s so crash hot about your achievements. Your award writer won’t think you’re big-noting yourself; they’ll just be thrilled that they’ve got some great content to work with. So, take a deep breath, be honest, be clear, speak confidently about yourself or your business.
Read and consider the questions
‘What could be more obvious?’, you cry. We couldn’t agree more. But the tragedy is that many entrants only give a cursory glance to award questions before they speak with their award writer. And that can seriously affect the quality of the final entry.
An interview is 100 per cent not the time to be thinking, ‘Now, how can I answer that?’ An interview is when you share with your award writer the great example you’ve already thought of that so beautifully answers the question and then some. We can’t stress it highly enough: time spent invested in carefully considering how you can best answer each question is time well spent.
Gather good evidence while ye may
Awards are based on facts supported by strong evidence. Judges not only want to read about how good you are at what you do but see convincing proof that supports how you’ve achieved success. Strong evidence can include:
- Easy to understand facts and figures that measure performance
- Brief case studies – who the customer was, what problem they had, how you solved it and why it was the best solution
- Testimonials from happy clients
And the best time to get your evidence together? As it happens. Even if entering an award hasn’t yet entered your mind it makes excellent business sense to set up a folder that contains the good stuff. It’s surprising how quickly you can lose track of who gave you a glowing review or details of how you overcame a particularly sticky problem for a client, so make sure to have one place where you and your team can build a veritable treasure trove of evidence that says you’re worthy of winning an award. It’s amazing how much more prepared doing this one small thing will make you feel when you decide it’s high time your achievements were recognised. Now go out there and win!