There are a lot of great reasons to put your business forward for an award. It’s good practice to go through the process of preparing and editing an entry, as it enables you to focus on the top level strategy and essentially what your product or scheme has achieved. If you are shortlisted, or even lucky enough to win, the PR opportunities long outweigh that short-term euphoria when you win. So start writing, and you never know, you might even collect a trophy.
1. Read the question properly – what do the judges really need to know about your company and your plan? Are you entering the correct award category? This will allow you to give more direct and concise answers.2. Don’t cut and paste existing documents and think it will fit the criteria. Start from scratch, be original and it will pay off.
3. Highlight what makes you different from your competitors. Imagine you are a judge and are faced with a number of entries to read – you need to make your entry stand out. For example, is there a complex or challenging situation you have faced and overcome? Or do you have innovative technology or a new idea you have introduced that you could talk about to wow them?
4. Clearly state the plan objectives and prove how you have met them. This is a simple and effective technique for getting straight to the point without getting lost in the detail.
5. Stick to the word count – you don’t want to be taking out text last minute as this can lead to mistakes. Some awards criteria actually say that you will be penalised for going over the word count and online entries often simply won’t allow you to exceed the limit. An easy way to get your point across when you don't have a lot of words to play with is to use bullet points. They are both simple and effective.
6. Start early so you have time to re-draft. I like to work backwards from the final submission date and stick to key deadlines. During the process, I will liaise with the relationship manager and/or the service delivery manager until we get to final client sign off.
7. Use a template. Do your homework and look at the award criteria to find out what judges want to know. It’s helpful to either come up with a template or use one that Equiniti has created. This will help you to pull all of the information into one place.
8. Use quantitative and qualitative data to substantiate your entry. Showing changes year-on-year can be really useful. Quotes and feedback from surveys, focus groups, and customers can also help to really bring an entry to life.