Everyone loves winning awards. And they’re great for building trust and raising the profile of you and your business. There really is no right and wrong way to enter, but we know lots of brands struggle with knowing quite where to start. It’s easy to get yourself in a tangle so, we thought we’d share some advice.

Be ‘brutally honest’ with yourself

Having the confidence to enter any awards is great (well done to you and your business!). But most awards have a number of categories to choose from and it’s important to temper ambition with reality when deciding which ring to throw your hat into.

It can be tempting to want to enter every category going but you should really only enter anything if you meet the criteria. And meet it well. Pulling together a strong entry takes time, effort and no small amount of organisation. There’s no point investing all that if you’re having to be poetic with the truth or banking on a ‘two out of three ain’t bad’ strategy on the criteria.

If you have to sit any awards out this year because no one category works for you, or whilst you wait longer for evidence to support your claims, then so be it. Instead, check out other options or focus on revisiting the awards next year.

Make yourself a template

Often, participants are invited to submit their entry by email or into a simple ‘text input’ online form. There’s never much guidance on how to lay out your copy, what style to use, or what format will be best received. From our experience, the best way to write a great entry is to break down the specified criteria into headings, questions or bullets and answer each one as you go.

Word count conundrums

If, like pretty much all of TeamRev, you remember having to get creative (and brutal!) with your word count for university assignments, then you may find keeping to a word count simple enough. If you struggle to keep to the usual 1,000ish word limit, here are some top tips:

  • Write it all then cut it down afterwards. That way, you’re in no danger of missing anything important and you can decide what, if anything, gets the chop later
  • Bullet point lists are your friend. Take a wordy but important segment and cut it down into short, impactful points for half the count
  • It has to make sense, but it doesn’t have to be pretty! Usual grammar and structure rules do not apply
  • Contractions galore! You’d be surprised how many ‘did not’ ‘we are’ and ‘they are’ and goodness knows how many variations of the same you can find throughout your entry. Fine tooth comb and contract like a student possessed!

Results – prove what you say

The key to a solid entry is evidence. It’s all well and good making impressive claims and bestowing the virtues of your product, service or team – but you have to be able to back them up. A combination of cold, hard facts and testimonial evidence works best.

Appendices are your friend

With only 1,000-1,500 words to play with, no judge or panel will ever expect to receive just your written entry. Appendices are a great way to add some real weight to your submission. Unless you’re presenting copies of collateral, remember to tailor your supporting documentation to the exact point you are evidencing. Don’t submit reams of information unless it actually supports your claim. Got a 40-page report but only need a couple of excerpts to back up your entry… you know what to do.

On a final note, don’t forget that winning isn’t everything. Of course, that’s what you aim for if you enter, but being shortlisted, nominated or named as a finalist is still impressive and should be celebrated. Wave your finalist and winners banners with pride and celebrate your achievements. Good luck!

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