How to write a winning awards entry

writing-1560276Entering awards is a great way to put your business out there and celebrate your achievements.

Winning an award gives your business credibility and provides a morale boost for staff, not to mention attracting new talent and investors.

But what makes a winning award entry?

Here are five tips for writing an entry that will dazzle the judges.

Play to your strengths

Categories which align with your business goals, for example a customer-centric or environmental category, play to your strengths, helping you build a convincing case as to why you should win.

Check your eligibility for entering and always read the small print. You might find a more suitable category than your first choice or that your business is eligible to enter across multiple categories.

This years’ Business Leader Awards sees the addition of new categories Commercial Property Award and three Business of the Year awards, segmented by number of employees.

Always answer every question

It might sound simple but it’s surprising how many people overlook the most important thing – answering the question.

It doesn’t matter how brilliantly written your entry is if you don’t answer the question it can’t be judged.

Most judging processes use a marking scheme and you need to align the content of your entry to this. If the criteria asks for five examples of how your business is using a sales and marketing strategy to increase sales, give five examples.

Make sure you answer every question and don’t ignore the word count if there is one.

Pay attention to detail

It’s tempting to use grand terms and business jargon when writing formally but when it comes to awards entries it’s better to be straightforward.

Make your writing simple yet specific and include facts and figures for support.

Avoid copy and pasting text, the tone of your writing should be consistent and a snippet of lifted text is easily recognisable.

A simple structure to follow is stating what the issue was, how you solved it and the outcome of this.

Finally, proof-read your writing. Spelling and grammar mistakes can ruin an otherwise excellent entry.

Strengthen your case with supporting documents

If you are able to do so, always provide additional information in the form of supporting documents. This is solid proof to back up your claims, adding credibility to your entry.

Supporting documents can include statistical evidence such as sales figures, company policies, customer testimonials, and links to online resources or certificates.

If you attach files make sure they are easy to access and open with a universally used program.

It’s also good to be aware that older versions of systems such as Windows are sometimes unable to open new file formats such as .dotx or .dotm

Give yourself time to collate info and write

Don’t leave writing to the last minute. Rushed entries mean questions and criteria can easily be overlooked.

Take the time to collate the information you need to be able to complete the entry.

Chances are you’ll have a designated writer of entries but consulting other members of the team is a good way to source additional information and a fresh perspective.

Start with a rough draft, with bullet points for each question or idea and then expand on these later, giving you time to polish your entry to perfection.

Submit your entry as early as possible but if you need to, check beforehand that the deadline can be extended.