And the winner is ... 6 tips for award success

Awards season is in full swing, bringing with it high hopes and expectations. PR and comms people across the industry will be besieged by eager colleagues desperate to showcase their achievements and hopefully bring home a shiny bit of glassware to add to their trophy cabinets. 

It’s fantastic that as an industry we want to shout about our successes, but when competition is fierce, that fight for top spot is tricky, so companies really need to ensure their entries stand out.

As awards season can be a stressful time for us all, we at Full Circle have pulled together our top 5 tips on how to successfully make it through.

Think ahead

Writing award entries always takes longer than you think. Selecting categories, creating drafts, pulling together credible evidence, seemingly endless rounds of revisions and pruning like crazy to meet those pesky word limits all add up to a lengthy process, and there’s nothing worse than having to plead for an extension at the eleventh hour!  At the beginning of the year it’s a good idea to create a calendar of your targeted award schemes along with open dates, deadlines and a rolling list of potential categories so that you can start thinking about your entries well in advance of the closing date.

Check the criteria

Take time to read the criteria carefully. Judges are given a strict marking framework and will know immediately if you’ve tried to shoehorn an entry into a category it isn’t suitable for.  The strongest entrants will have read and engaged with the award criteria, taking note of the individual points the judges will be looking for and ensuring they have the right type of metrics to demonstrate success.  If you’re entering a new initiative you should allow at least a year for it to become embedded in the business, this will allow you to collect enough data and feedback to demonstrate that it’s been a measurable success.

Tell your story

You will need to present the story of your initiative or product.  What was the problem you identified?  What did you do to solve the problem? What results have you seen?  Judges will want to see how you’ve improved your product or service for either the customer, the organisation, the staff or the wider industry. 

Keep it concise

You often don’t have many words to play with so don’t waste them on unnecessary waffling, keep paragraphs tight and sentencing succinct. You can take it as read that the judges will be experts in their field, but they don’t want to be blinded by jargon any more than you would.  Once you’ve got your draft written, double check it or give it to a colleague to read, if it’s too technical or full of jargon you risk turning the judge off. 

Answer the question

At the risk of triggering painful memories of school essays, answer the question that’s there and not the one you want to see!  Keep revisiting the question throughout the writing process and think about whether your answer directly addresses the question or goes off on a long round-about ramble.

Evidence is key

You need to be able to present tangible evidence of your success.  Before you start pulling your entry together, chat to your teams and find out whether you have the figures to back up your brags, have you measurably met/exceeded your objectives?   Testimonials can also be a powerful way to demonstrate the impact of your initiative, but these can take time as will often need to go through different layers of sign-off. When preparing your entries, it’s a good idea to begin contacting partners and suppliers early so that you can have a neatly packaged quote by the submission deadline.

At Full Circle we see awards as more than just a glitzy addition to your reception area, we know this independent endorsement can allow you to showcase the value of your offering to the wider industry, helping you to win business and demonstrate your expertise in your field.  

Talk to us about how you can build award wins into your PR strategy.