Business Awards: why you should be entering & how to create a winning entry.
We often suggest entering awards to our clients as part of their marketing strategy. There are so many reasons why entering awards should be part of your promotional activity, regardless of whether you win or not.
- Business Appraisal
Going through the application process can provide you with the opportunity to take a close look at all facets of your business.
Likewise the judging process can be used to benchmark yourself against other firms and if they are entering the same category as you they are likely to be a similar size and in a similar market sector.
- Public Relations
Obviously winning an award can generate great amounts of publicity but just being a finalist or runner-up can give you good coverage. Taking part in the awards also gives you the opportunity to build engagement in social media. Announcements of nominations, followed by messages of good luck to other contestants and general looking forward to the awards posts will be received well by the organisers and other companies attending the awards.
Entering awards and winning can serve as a great pat on the back to employees. It gives recognition to their contribution and helps build a sense of pride.
If you are seeking investment, demonstrating that you have received recognition as the best or most promising firm in your field can really help your case. It may also help to attract to quality candidates when recruiting.
Which business awards should you choose?
There are a range of awards in the UK to recognise the achievements from the country’s businesses, of all sizes. Some of these celebrate major nationwide and international firms. But there are also a large number of events geared towards innovative and smaller businesses.
There are awards covering regional areas that often have a broad range of categories based on size of firm or industry sector or both. Some celebrate the achievements of individuals while others recognise the team efforts of a whole company. There are also industry specific awards that pitch you against your peers in the same market sector. Or awards for specific activities such as digital marketing campaigns or catalogue production but across a range of industries.
Ok still not sure you should enter? How about Sponsorship?
That’s fine, if you feel you don’t have the resources to put an entry together or you feel that your company isn’t at the right stage of its development to make a credible application why not consider sponsoring the awards. Awards have various different sponsorship packages. Over all or on a category based level, most packages will offer good promotional coverage to help build awareness and credibility of your firm. A lot of awards organisers also have associated media partners ensuring you will get good coverage in their publications as part of the deal. You often get way more promotional coverage through sponsoring awards than you would get spending the same in just straight advertising.
Best Practice for Entering Awards
Follow the entry instructions
This might sound obvious but it is one that is often ignored. Most awards offer detailed instructions on how to present the evidence they are looking for. Read this instructions carefully and also any ‘terms & conditions’ of entry
They will usually have details on the format required, word count, entry deadlines and how to make payment for entry if required.
You will be penalised if not disqualified for late entry.
Pick the right category
You won’t have a chance of winning if you enter your work into the wrong category. Read the category descriptions and select carefully. Some awards allow you to submit an entry for more than one category but do ensure you tailor each entry form to the specific category criteria.
Ensure your entry covers the judging criteria for the category you are entering, and answers all questions for your category. Judges can only mark you on what is included in your entry form so make sure all important information is included and all criteria adhered to. Judges won’t have time to go to your website and start finding information for themselves.
Stick to the word limit
Judges are busy, they could have hundreds or possibly even more entries to wade through so don’t waffle. Judges may mark entries down, or even disqualify them, if they exceed the stated word limit. Please ensure your answers are clear and succinct.
Judges love clear, concise entries – use bullet points or infographics to effectively illustrate points.
Where possible link any evidence and information you are submitting back to your business objectives.
Provide back-up Evidence
Judges love quantified results and want to see some proof of what you’ve achieved. Include facts and figures, quotes from clients or the media, and even images or infographics.
Remember that judges will be reading a large number of entries, so you need to make your entry memorable. Make sure your entry is passionate, tells an interesting story and is backed up with statistics and evidence.
Always write in clear, concise English, avoid jargon and never copy and paste from existing materials. Do ask someone to check your entry reads well and is free of typos.
Take your time
Winning award entries take time and effort to write and perfect. Again we’d highly recommend you get someone to proof read your entry before you submit it.
Don’t wait for the deadline
While we would always recommend that you take your time creating your entry we would also suggest sending it in as soon as you are happy. Many awards organisers, especially those with associated media partners, will often print material about companies that have entered as a way of generating more interest and getting more companies to enter. So get those entries in, you may be lucky enough to get some extra free promotion in local news publications.
Provide supporting materials
Use a selection of documents and URLs to provide context and background to your entry.
Attach an image or logo to your entry form. This will be used in the event brochure and presentations should you be shortlisted. Ensure this represents the campaign, product or organisation you are entering.
Being shortlisted for an award brings recognition and an opportunity to celebrate a great piece of work, a fantastic organisation, team or individual. It can motivate employees, promote your business to new customers, and act as an endorsement for your organisation.
It can also help you to evaluate your work, compare yourself to competitors and even identify areas for improvement. A good winning entry takes time and there is a skill in writing a submission.
If you would like any help with using business awards as part of your company strategy we can help. We can research the right awards for you, through discussions and research we will find the right information about your company that will match the judging criteria and submit an entry on your behalf. Call us on 01903 530787 or email us to find out more.