By Sarah Alvarez

Once upon a time there was this business that put on an amazing event. Everyone who attended talked about how wonderful it was, so the business decided to enter the event for an award. They gathered their photos and information and packaged it all up but when the finalists were announced their event wasn’t on the list. So, what went wrong?

Winning an award can have a significant impact on your business; attracting recognition and new business, but having the best event, communications campaign, or product doesn’t guarantee you a place among the finalists. How you compose your award submission is the key to determining if you make the cut. That said, the good news is, even if you don’t win, achieving finalist status or just entering an award can still be beneficial for your business. By answering the criteria questions you gain valuable insight that can be used both for content marketing and future award entries.

If you have never entered a business award before, one of the first things you need to do is identify which awards are relevant, and which projects are suitable candidates for submission.

At Zadro we write professional submissions for organisations. In the last 3 years we have written many award winning submissions across various industries, here are some of our top tips for submitting a winner.

  1. Prepare your submission when the project begins. Rather than playing catch up at the end of a project, set measurable goals at the beginning, so upon completion, you can easily demonstrate how successful it was.
  2. Understand the submission criteria and rules. Before you start writing your submission review the criteria. You don’t want to be disqualified just because you exceeded the word count.
  3. Identify what makes your entry unique. What is the heart of the entry that makes your submission unique? What idea or insight makes it stand out from the others? How does the campaign support broader business objectives?
  4. Tell a story, don’t list the information. Your entry needs to tell a story; if you simply present a spreadsheet of how your campaign had a phenomenal ROI and engagement the likelihood is it won’t be a finalist. It needs to be a joy to read and engaging for the judges.
  5. Hook your audience at the beginning. Prioritise your content and include the most interesting information within the first page of your submission. Give the judges the wow factor by using impactful language; use powerful adjectives to create excitement and bring the story to life.
  6. Tell the truth. It may sound obvious but don’t lie in your award submission. Bring the story to life but keep it real. Lying causes embarrassment and could damage your reputation.
  7. Keep it clear and concise. Most awards have word limits, stick to them, don’t waste words and don’t repeat yourself. Remember judges will have many entries to review.
  8. Once your entry is finished reread it. Like any project the first draft needs to be edited and polished before it is perfected. It is a good idea for peers to review it before submission.
  9. Don’t wait till the last minute. Leaving it till the last moment will leave you feeling rushed and stressed and may cause you to make mistakes. Allocate enough time to complete the submission.
  10. Know your audience, but don’t assume they know you. When you are composing your entry write it with the assumption that the judges haven’t heard of you, nor are they familiar with industry terminology. Make it simple and easy to understand, without using confusing acronyms and jargon.