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  • Writer's pictureNola Charkos

How to write a winning award entry

Have you ever thought about entering a business or professional award?

Take your award entry from OK to outstanding

It’s no secret that being a finalist or winner is a great way to boost your profile, gain trust, and grow your business. But did you know that award success can also strengthen team morale, attract and retain talent, and position you as a thought leader?

So, how do you put your very best foot forward and write an award-winning submission?

There’s a lot more to it than simply filling in your details and sending in your headshot. As an experienced award writer, I know a thing or two about how to stand out to the judges and make your entry count.

Here are my top tips for nailing your award entry:

1. Choose the right award

These days, there are so many different awards out there, there’s bound to be one that’s just right for you. Some have more prestige than others, and with some online research, you can easily find awards in your industry at a local, state, national, or even international level.

Most will have a variety of categories to choose from, and the option to enter as an individual, team, or both. Some will let you enter multiple categories, giving you more chances of success. You could even nominate a team member in their own award category.

The most important thing to check is the eligibility criteria for each award. There’s simply no point going to all that effort of entering if you don’t qualify.

If you’re not sure which one to enter, book a quick chat with me and I’ll help you work it out.

2. Believe in yourself

Talking or writing about yourself might make you uncomfortable, but now isn’t the time to water down your achievements and skills. The judges are looking for those that stand out, so unless you tell them how great you are, they’ll never know.

You may think that what you do is just business as usual. But to others, you’re exceptional and deserve to be celebrated. Focus on what makes you different to your peers and articulate it clearly so it’s easy for the judges to see what sets you apart.

3. Use a variety of evidence

Don’t expect the judges to take your word for it. You’re going to have to prove any claims you make.

For example, it’s not good enough to simply state that you provide exceptional customer service.

What is it that you actually do that makes it exceptional?

What examples can you include where your service made a difference to the outcome?

Do you have a testimonial to prove it?

Testimonials and case studies are great ways to bring your submission to life. The other way is to include numerical proof such as business growth percentages, retention rates, or other metrics.

Sprinkle this evidence throughout your submission, and your answers immediately have more truth and value.

4. Word count, not waffle

Each question will have a word limit, so while you’ll want to maximise your use of it, don’t go over it.

Saying something twice just to fill up the word count won’t earn you any extra points. Nobody likes to read repetitive rambling, especially not award judges. You’re better off being clear and succinct so the judges don’t have to use too much effort to understand you, and then using the remaining word count to add new information or evidence.

5. Get organised

Do: Plan your award entry in advance.

Don’t: Stay up until midnight on the closing date and try to write it under pressure.

It certainly pays to plan ahead. Depending on the award, you’ll have between a few weeks and a few months to get your submission ready.

Before the award entries even open, you can prepare by filing away any great testimonials, achievements, or impressive results that you want to include.

That way, when entries open, you’ll have done all your homework and have plenty of time to perfect your answers.

6. Repurpose your answers

Writing an award submission takes a lot of time, thought, and effort. Even if you’re not a winner or finalist, all is not lost. Your answers hold pieces of gold that can be used again, not only for future award entries but also as snippets for social media, to support your proposals and tenders, as an elevator pitch, or as content for your website and blogs.

Whatever you do, don’t make a rookie error and type your answers straight into the awards portal without saving it all in a word document first.

Should you hire an award writer?

How can an award writer help?

It’s your story, so how can someone else possibly write it for you? The truth is, working with an award writer is a collaboration. As an award writer, I do the heavy lifting and save you a lot of time, but it does require some effort on your part if you want any chance of winning.

When I write your submission, the most important part of the process is the interview I hold with you at the start. Together we work on your key messages and achievements. Then I take your story and tell it in a way that makes you stand out for all the right reasons.

So what are you waiting for? Go out there and get that award you know you deserve.

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