To stand in the rarefied atmosphere of the winner’s podium is to breathe in sweet air indeed. There’s nothing quite like being acknowledged as the best in your field, to be sure. However, most business awards are so hotly contested that they’re at danger of being considered a fire risk. So, what’s the best way of making sure your entry burns brightest?
Answer this tough question
Is this award really for you? Yep, you’re on a mission to win and you have huge faith in your product or service, but is this the right award for your business? And even if it is, is this the right time to be entering? Read the award criteria very carefully because even though your story might be a great one, if it’s not a good fit with the award in question, then let it go. Also remember that entering an award most often involves a significant investment of time and resources away from core business, so be clear on the commitment you’re about to make. There will always be next year.
Do whatever the questions ask you to do
Awards are notorious for having very strict guidelines including what criteria you need to hit, what evidence may be required and limitations on the number of words allowed for your response. Pay extremely close attention to every single direction and do exactly as you’re asked or you risk the judges putting your entry in the ‘pile to the left’.
Waffle is a breakfast item
It is not something that should appear in an award entry. Trying to bluff your way around a question by using heaps of filler won’t fool anyone, least of all an experienced judge. Avoid jargon or over lengthy or technical explanations of anything. Instead, make your responses clear, concise and most of all, compelling.
Don’t draft online
Almost all award entries are uploaded via a portal these days, but not all allow you to save a version and go back and edit it. To avoid this horror, write your entry in Word and only upload it when you’re totally satisfied it’s as good as it can be. Using Word gives you the benefit of being able to easily view your entry as a whole rather than shifting back and forth between sections online. It’s also easier for colleagues to make comments, cut and paste, and add in their two cents’ worth.
Look and sound like a pro
Easy to say, often very hard for inexperienced writers to do. After all, an award is basically asking you to tell everyone how fabulous you are and, for many people, that’s a big ask. However, it’s also how you win. But you can take the stress out of the whole thing by investing in the services of a professional award writer and proofreader. Not only will your entry be compliant, well set out and error-free, it will make clear why you should win in the most convincing manner possible.