If you are looking for ways to recognise your team, your company or even yourself, winning awards is certainly a good place to start.
They celebrate greatness and highlight innovation and clever thinking. However, no matter how successful your project was, writing an eye-catching awards submission is a skill unto itself.
As judges for the UnAwards, we have read plenty of applications through the years, giving us an insider view of what works and what is a no-no when it comes to submissions. Here we would like to share what we’ve learned:
1. Understand the criteria
Before diving into the submission, carefully review the award criteria. What are the judges looking for? Understanding the key evaluation points will help you tailor your submission to align with the specific expectations of the award. Judges usually have a matrix on which they score against each point, so make sure you address every one.
2. Tell a compelling story
Every great submission tells a story. Instead of simply listing achievements, weave them into a narrative that captivates the judges. Think of it like a movie:
- Act 1: The setup
— What was the situation before your project started?
— What needed to change?
— What did you do to make this change happen?
- Act 2: The journey
— What problems did you encounter along the way, and how did you overcome them?
— How did the project develop along the way?
- Act 3: The resolution
— What was the outcome of your project, and what positive impact has it had in relation to the initial problem?
3. Quantify your achievements
Whenever possible, use hard data to back up your claims. Numbers add weight to your achievements. Whether it’s increased revenue, improved efficiency, or higher customer satisfaction, use quantitative data to demonstrate the tangible results of your efforts. This not only validates your claims but also makes your submission more convincing.
For example, “Many people told us they liked our new website” is fine, but “The website experienced a 150% rise in clickthroughs and a 35% drop in bounce rate on day one, with 221 people clicking five stars on our review page.”
4. Focus on innovation
Awards often look for and celebrate innovation. We see that those who win awards are often doing new things well rather than simply doing something tried and tested excellently. Clearly articulate how your project or product breaks new ground and what the implications for this are. What sets you apart from the competition?
5. Use clear and concise language
Judges are typically busy professionals who review numerous submissions. At Sorted, we love clear and simple language to get across often complex messages. This is good communication, and it should be reflected in your submission. There will be no points given to you for clever wordplay. Avoid jargon and unnecessary complexity. Make it easy for judges to understand your submission.
6. Provide supporting evidence
Much like when applying for a job, always back up your claims with evidence. As well as the data mentioned in point 2, try to include testimonials, case studies, or any other relevant supporting documentation. This not only reinforces your credibility but also provides the judges with concrete examples of your success.
7. Proofread thoroughly
Although poor spelling and grammar won’t usually lose you points, it can detract from the professionalism of your submission. It can also give the judge the impression that it was written in a hurry and not seen by you as very important. As a result, the judge might not see it as important either.
Proofread your final submission at least twice before you submit it to ensure it is free from errors. Even better, get someone else to look it over too. If you would like a professional proofreader to look at it and offer suggestions, then give us a call and we can do that for you.
8. Adhere to guidelines
Follow the submission guidelines diligently. Failure to adhere to the specified format, word count, or other requirements may result in your submission being overlooked or even disqualified. If it asks for submissions in PDF format, don’t submit a Word document!
9. Submit early
Give yourself ample time to prepare and submit your entry. So many people submit last minute that often website glitches can result in unforeseen errors and your entry isn’t received. Submitting early allows you to address any problems with time to spare and ensures that your submission receives the consideration it deserves.
Writing a successful awards submission requires a strategic approach, attention to detail and a compelling narrative. By following these top tips, you can increase your chances of standing out among the competition and earning the recognition your achievements deserve.
If you would like any help in writing or proofreading your awards submission, our team is ready to help. Simply get in touch and we’ll discuss your needs in detail.