10 Tips for Entering Awards

Everyone loves a gong.  It’s the ultimate feelgood factor for recognition of a job well done.  A new product, a staff initiative a successful initiative.

Over the years, I’ve been on many a judging panel and been surprised and shocked at the variance in entries from hopeful participants.  So, here are ten things you should take care of: -

  1. Ensure that you have answered all the questions that the judging panel are asking for.  I see this so often, entries which do not meet the criteria.  Create a checklist and ensure everything is covered.
  2. Don’t just copy and paste text from your website into your award entry.  Each entry, should be crafted for relevance, text that is copy and pasted sends a message that you can’t really be bothered.
  3. Keep it brief.  It’s not a competition as to how long your entry is, it’s about it’s quality.  Think like a judge.  Judges have to sometimes read hundreds of entries and a really long submission will elicit a heavy sigh, particularly if it begins to ramble.
  4. Don’t bend the truth.  Keep it factual.  It’s surprising what judges know about, particularly if it’s for an industry award.  They will tend to be experts and can spot a rat a mile off.  A whiff of a mistruth and you’ll be discarded.
  5. Drive out your USP (unique selling point).  Ask yourselves what really sets us apart?  What one message do we want to leave this judge with that will stick in their head relevant to the category?
  6. Don’t state the obvious.  If you’re entering a green award, resist saying things like “we take our environmental responsibility really seriously (yawn).  Doesn’t everybody?  Think, what things will everyone be submitting and how do we do it differently?
  7. Get a fresh set of eyes to read the submission.  Quite often the same person(s) is in charge of the end to end process of completing the award entry.  When they think it has been done, ensure it gets passed to someone else to do a fresh look/edit of the whole thing, particularly for spelling mistakes.
  8. Meet the deadline.  People still miss deadlines and expect their entry to stand.  An awards deadline is there for a reason, work to it.  If you miss it, expect not to be judged.
  9. Don’t add loads of attachments.  Tempting as it might be, don’t just upload big powerpoint files.  Make your written entry stand out.  Only add attachments in support (such as an image/advert example) if you are submitting on-line and you can’t include the information in the entry form.
  10. Use bullet points.  Entries normally go through a pre-judging stage.  Use bullet points in your submission as much as possible to allow a judge to scan it and make a mental ticknote in their mind.  If they get the headlines, they are more likely to delve into the detail.