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The (Not So) Secrets To Writing A Business Award Entry

By News Creatives Authors , in Small Business , at August 12, 2021

Annette Densham is co-founder of The Audacious Agency, specializing in award-winning profile building, branding and business awards.

Business awards are a brilliant way to build authority, reputation and create connections with a business’ or entrepreneur’s target audience. An award screams credibility from the rooftops in a way very few other marketing strategies do. Entering the right award can add big bucks to your bottom line and can open doors you never expected to open pre-award win.

But as you ponder whether to enter an award or the pros and cons of the process, know this — there are no secret hidden magic bullets to get through the process. Zip. Nada. Zilch. It all comes down to getting the basics right. For business awards, the “secret” is there are no secret insider tips to writing an excellent submission.

Like any other marketing activity you undertake in your business, writing an award submission starts with getting the basics right.

Enter the right award and right category for your business.

To ascertain the right award and category, go back to your objectives, goals and target audience. Be clear about where you are going and what you want to accomplish. Entering an award should be firmly cemented in reaching your prospective audience. What will get their attention when they are searching for someone in your space to work with? The right award and right category can elevate your message about your competitors who don’t enter awards.

Take the time to plan.

This phase of the awards process is about gathering the information you’ll need to substantiate any claims you make in your awards submission. Create a folder on your computer to collect information. If you do this regularly throughout the year, you will never have to scramble for information, such as:

  • Financial: growth, revenue, percentages, profit and loss, sales data, customer metrics
  • Case studies: stories of success from the people you have worked with
  • Impact: screenshots of media wins, links to media wins, podcast links, articles published, stats from your social pages or groups, collaborations, awards won, campaigns run and results
  • Data: insights from social media pages, Google analytics showcasing growth and engagement, team growth
  • Training: programs, courses and development undertaken and outcomes
  • Images: speaking gigs, products, events
  • Spreadsheet: new systems/processes, innovations, challenges, list of success, reviews and testimonials

You can also tap into your diary or calendar to collate information about achievements throughout the year. 

Questions are the answers.

Read the questions. Read the questions. Read the questions. Yes, more than once. Really understand what they are asking. If the question is “Tell us about your achievements over the past 12 months from July 1 to June 30,” do not wax lyrical about anything outside this date range. When you have written your response, go back and check your answer against the question — did you answer it? 

Once upon a time…

Judges are people too. While most awards have a judging matrix or criteria process, unconscious bias can creep in. Make sure you tell a story. Take the judges on a journey through your entry instead of a bland recitation of facts and figures.

Hyperbole and generic responses don’t cut it.

While the suggestion is to weave storytelling into your submission, do not fall victim to exaggeration and unsubstantiated claims. If you write “I mentored other women in business” or “We grew substantially throughout the year,” these are general statements that anyone could have written. Get into the details — if you grew during the year, talk about the strategy for growth, the actions taken and the outcomes. Avoid jargon and industry speak; you cannot guarantee the judges will know what you are writing about. 

Don’t push the limits.

Most big award programs use software that streamlines the submission and judging process. The software lets them set word limits that will not allow you to progress unless you meet the word count requirement. But for the smaller awards programs that use online forms or documents, the power of the word count is in your hands. Respect the judges’ time because when you go over the word limit, you are essentially saying you don’t care about the process. Word limits are in place to ensure judges have time to judge. Same goes for video submissions — if the time limit is five minutes, don’t submit a movie length feature. Going over the word or time limit could disqualify you or reduce your overall score.

Check and check again.

When you are happy you have done all the above, check your work. Use spell check and other grammar tools. Ask a friend or colleague to review and edit the entry for you. If you are going to spend time and money on your submission, make sure it is error-free. As your final check, read your submission out loud.

Creating successful award entries involves many moving parts. Yes, they take time and effort to create an entry that stands out. But the benefits of going through the process can elevate your profile, cement your authority and help you stand out from the crowd.

Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?


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