You’ve got to be in it to win it! Why writing award entries is good for business
If you run your own business or a charitable organisation, I understand that there can be a million and one things to do each day that are fundamental to making it run like clockwork; taking time out of your busy schedule to write and submit an award entry may not feature high up on your to do list, if at all. But, ‘you have to be in it, to win it!’ If you can get over your modesty, and write about all the great things you, your business or charity have been doing, it can bring a whole host of benefits often if you get shortlisted, never mind if you actually win!
5 benefits of entering awards:
- It’s good for raising your profile – you can ride on the back of your award win for months, if not a few years! But use it carefully…for example, if you won say the ‘best customer service award’ in 2008, still referring to that now may beg the question from your customers or potential customers of ‘why haven’t you won it since?!’
- Can be a great motivator – the buzz of being shortlisted, let alone winning can be a great reward and recognition for you and your team and a lovely framed certificate and trophy in the office is a constant reminder of a job well done!
- Credibility – most award programs have quite stringent criteria and usually judged by a panel of experts within the industry. What better way to get a ‘seal of approval’ or an endorsement that comes from winning an award.
- Review what you are doing – taking the time to write a stonking award entry often gives business owners or charity managers a chance to review their practice, their planning and strategy as well as strength and weaknesses so can be a good way to pause and take stock of what has been going well and what could be better. If you are going to be in with a chance of winning, you need to be clear about what makes you stand out from the crowd and what is your unique selling point?
- Networking – whether you are a sole trader and its just you, or whether you have a team working for you, attending award ceremonies can be an excellent opportunity to network some key movers and shakers in your industry.
So now we’ve convinced you that it makes sense to invest some time in writing award entries, we thought we had better share some top hints, tricks and tips when making your applications.
5 tips for writing an award winning award entry!
- Allow plenty of time. Make sure you know when the deadline is and give your self time to work on the entry. Even if you are the sort of person who likes (and needs) the last minute pressure of a looming deadline to get it done, what if theres a problem with the website you have to submit your award on?
- Check the criteria. It is worth reading the ‘small print’ and making sure you meet all the eligibility criteria. For example, if you are entering business awards run by a Chamber of Commerce, you may have to be a member to be eligible to apply.
- Write clearly and concisely. Think of the acronym ‘PEA’ – Point, Evidence and Analysis when constructing your sentences. For example, first make a point – then back it up with evidence, which could be in the form of a quote or testimonial from a client. Lastly, you then give an explanation or analysis of how it links to your point.
- Check your spelling and punctuation. It’s a good idea to get someone to read over your draft, so allow a day or two for that to happen. It can really help to make sure it makes sense and also to glance another eye over it looking for grammar and spelling checks!
- Research – can you learn anything from previous winners? What made them stand out from the competition?