How to write an award-winning entry

How to write an award-winning entry

There are so many reasons why a company would consider entering for an award. If you win, it can be a great way to attract and retain business, improve engagement through the rewarding and recognition of high-performing employees, or give you a competitive edge over others in your industry.

However, winning an award is never easy, particularly if you’re aiming for national endorsement where the competition can often be fierce. It’s never just as simple as writing a quick entry. It will require detail, substantiated evidence and a unique narrative. There’s a certain skill to writing an award and judges will see right through the claims if it’s full of over-exaggerations. 

CWA has recently penned a number of entries on behalf of our clients, with some significant success, so we thought now would be a perfect time to share a bit of our expertise and provide three top tips on how to produce an award-winning entry.

One: Pick the right award to enter

When you decide to enter for an award it’s important to know why? Are you looking to raise your profile locally? Is the award part of a wider, national brand push? Or is it to celebrate a piece of work or project that you’re particularly proud of? There are so many awards out there, each with separate award categories, that it requires time and consideration to find the most relevant to meet your aims.

Award entries take time to create and typically come with a cost to enter and attend. So, it’s important that you understand exactly what you get in return (other than a nice award for the trophy cupboard).

You need to understand the purpose of the award for your own promotional benefits. Does the award help your internal communications, does it make part of your wider PR strategy, is it an award you would consider entering annually? All these factors will play a key part in deciding whether you should enter for an award. 

All awards you enter are worth shouting about, whether you win or not, but understanding what you hope to get out of winning an award beforehand will help you choose the right ones for your business and, hopefully, increase your chances of winning.

Two: Pick the right time to enter

When entering for an award it is easy to get ahead of yourself. You can get lost in the excitement a new product, activity or campaign can create in the early days, and start imagining the awards it could win.

But, when it comes to an award, no one is interested in what your campaign or product could do; they want to know what it has done. Why was it needed? What problems did it solve? How did this better your business or the customers you serve?  If you struggle to answer these questions, or can provide no actual, lasting evidence, chances are it’s not the right time to enter. Be patient, the time will come.

Award judges need to see the results. This leads us very nicely to our final point…

Three: Tell a good story

You would never tell a story or sell a book that doesn’t have a satisfying conclusion - the same approach needs to be taken when submitting an award entry.

You need to take the reader on the journey you’ve been on to get to this point. Start with your ‘why’. What problem did you identify, and how did you think of your solution? Similarly, if it is an award focusing on a particular individual or employee, how did their story begin, what journey did they need to go on to achieve the success they have achieved today?

The middle of your story should be the explanation, the rationale, the method. What challenges were faced along the way and how were these obstacles hurdled? Include any key findings and stats that further strengthen your entry.

And finally, what were the results of this journey? These will fuel your award entry and bring it full circle. Essentially, this will be the initial reason why you decided to enter in the first place.

The reader will be looking for qualitative and quantitative results. It could be the difference between you or your competitor winning.

Everyone’s a winner!

Whatever the outcome of your entry, you can always find value, both for your external and internal audiences. Just taking part can be a celebration, and there is no shame in coming second. A good story can still be told and those involved will take pride in the fact you even considered their work as potentially award-winning. So, make the most of your efforts for communication and engagement purposes.

When it comes to submitting and getting the best return on your next award, hopefully, these tips have helped you out. If not, feel free to get in touch with CWA and we can put our skills to the test and hopefully bag you the award you’ve had your eye on all this time: