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How to take first prize at business awards

Author:

Kirsty Langan

Published On:

May 28, 2024

Published In:

PR & Communications

How to take first prize at business awards

Do you dream of seeing your company take to the stage to collect an award for its industry-leading work?

Award wins are not just about the glitz and glamour of the ceremony – they signal to clients, prospects and your industry that your business is the best in the field and at the top of its game. They also generate awareness through media and social channels, making them key to an integrated communications plan.

But winning business awards takes more than just impressive achievements. Your entry narrative needs to be carefully crafted with claims backed by hard data, and the copy needs to sparkle.

Want to find out how to win recognition for your achievements? Gathered from my time helping clients win awards such as Campaign’s 40 over 40, Cannes Lions, UK Company Culture Awards, TITAN Business Awards, SC Awards and The Wires, here are my tips for blowing judges away and taking home the top prize.

Research the right business awards

There are hundreds of business awards, no matter what the industry. But putting together a great entry costs time and money to submit.

This means you need to pinpoint exactly what you want your business to be recognised for, such as gaining exposure for a particular product. To increase your chance of winning you need to choose the right award and category, based on where you have the strongest expertise, data and information available to share. One approach is to spread your entries around different categories. This not only increases your chances of winning, but also helps to shine a light on different parts of your company and the work you do.

Ultimately, no matter which award you enter, make sure you can demonstrate why your company should be award winning.

Read the rules

Each award will have a different set of parameters and rules that need to be followed. Make multiple checks as part of the process, and keep your entry within the word limit, as even a few extra words could see you disqualified. These aren’t just loose guidelines – you must follow them to be considered. Ensure you are also presenting the right information in the right places and provide all the qualifying supporting material to evidence your submission.

Grab judges from the first sentence

Being an awards judge is no easy task. They have to sift through hundreds of entries, evaluating them individually, weighing them against others in the industry. To make sure your entry grabs the judges’ attention from the off, ensure the first few sentences clearly spell out who you are and why you deserve to be an award winner. Be creative, be bold, and be unique.

Have a strong narrative

Humans are naturally drawn to stories.

Your award entry has to tell a story. This narrative must run throughout the entry, creating a cohesive thread that judges can easily follow. A simple framework for constructing a narrative is:

– Set the scene and spell out in detail the problems which you or your industry needed to solve.
– Explain clearly the steps you took to navigate these issues and overcome the challenge.
– Demonstrate the results.

Weaving in a constant theme throughout will keep the impressiveness of your achievements at the front and centre of the minds of judges and help them digest the most important points of your entry.

Make sure to add proof points

Judges can see through hot air – back up your award entry with hard facts.

Strong stats put your achievements into clear context, backing up your narrative, and providing proof of your success. Where possible include data as a figure rather than a percentage for increased transparency.

Testimonials or case studies from your clients are another way to bring your award entries to life, as well as the results of surveys. The more you can back up your claims, the more impressive and believable they are to judges.

Use multimedia

Everyone digests information differently. If you are trying to impress a panel of judges, you never know who is reading your entry – and how they prefer to have information presented to them. Cover all bases by adding images to your entry where possible, which could include sample media coverage or images of a team. Turn stats into graphs or pull out key client quotes to turn into punchy graphics.

Better yet, put together a quick video summary to quickly and visually tell the story of your entry. You don’t need to be an expert editor to put these together either – Canva has all the tools you need.

Get your strongest writer on the case

The difference between winning and losing an award is the extra polish that a specialist writer can add to make your entry truly stand out. Their craft and precision can bring all the elements of your story into a narrative that will impress judges.

 

Consult a communications expert

Finding the awards and categories that are right for you, then crafting a strong narrative with sparkling copy is a skill. A communications partner with in-depth knowledge of your industry and experience creating successful award entries, can turn your achievements into award success.

Want to find out more about how to win business awards in 2024? Get in touch with our team.

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