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Top tips for entering awards – from those in the know

Know why you’re entering

Success in awards can look different for every organisation so it’s important to define why you want to enter a set of awards and what your business could get out of it.

Some businesses simply want to be shortlisted so they can network and talent-spot at the awards, others want to reward staff with a great night out. Being shortlisted for an award can be a brilliant way to market to existing and potential clients – and of course, no one would mind winning!

Find the “shining stars” that could win an award

Always be on the look-out for great examples from your organisation on which you could base an award. If you’ve defined why you want to win one you’ll probably have an idea of which awards and which categories you want to enter, so focus your energy on finding the brilliant examples which fit the criteria for these.

Figure out your story

It has to have a beginning, a middle and an end, and is probably a tale of something being improved. Ensure you can tell the story simply so that the judges will be able to instantly grasp what you’re trying to put across. Remember they may not be from your industry, so be sure to explain any context which makes your story important – perhaps there’s a big change on the horizon for your sector or new legislation which changes things.

Prove it!

You could tell a story to rival a Shakespeare play, but if there’s no evidence it’s highly unlikely you’ll make it through to the shortlist. Think carefully about how you can prove your claims and look at both the qualitative and quantitative metrics you could use. Customer testimonials can have great impact, so don’t forget to ask a few of your friendliest clients for a couple of sentences about your business or the project you’re entering for the award.

Don’t underestimate the time needed

In our experience a good award entry can take 4-6 weeks to put together. This allows enough time for initial fact-finding meetings, several versions of the entry form and presumes you’ll need a few different people to look at it and sign it off. Really the more time you have the better.

Work it!