And the winner is blog

And the winner is…. How to write an award-winning submission.

14/06/18

The commercial benefits of entering awards are plentiful. First of all, there’s the free publicity, not to mention the opportunity to benchmark yourself against your peers and competitors and also increase your credibility.

Winning or even being shortlisted for awards can bring great kudos among your clients or customers.

Take into account that they can also help to motivate employees and attract talent and it’s easy to see why industry awards and accolades can be a fruitful pursuit.

Now that the Merseyside Independent Business Awards has opened for 2018 entries, it’s time to start thinking about your entry and, more importantly, how to write a memorable and compelling award submission.

Here are our top eight tips to get you started:

  1. Read the criteria
    Before you begin, take the time read the category details and award criteria carefully. Make sure that you are eligible to enter and really think about whether you have an interesting project or submission to put forward. Pay special attention to the format in which your entry must be produced, whether you can supply supporting information (e.g. imagery, links) and also any word count limits stipulated by the judges. The criteria can be found at the top of each MIB category award form.
  2. Flesh out the detail
    Grab a piece of scrap paper and flesh out your story. This might be the story of your business or of a particular product. Think about what your objectives were, how you’ve set about meeting them, the challenges you’ve faced and the results you’ve delivered. Writing a bullet point draft will help to make sure you don’t miss out any of your key achievements or important details.
  3. Powerful opening paragraph
    All good stories start with a compelling introduction that grabs your attention and leaves you wanting more. Your award submission should do the same. Try writing the opening paragraph last of all so that you can be sure to include all the salient points – namely what you set out to do and the result.
  4. Tell a story
    Outline your business and project in an engaging way. Explain the essence of your business, promote your brand and, crucially, tell the story as you might to a friend or peer. Write short paragraphs, be succinct and use the active voice to help make your content clear and direct. Finally, avoid technical jargon and ‘industry speak’; however if you have to use it make sure you explain it to the reader.
  5. Provide proof
    The more you can substantiate your claims and achievements, the better. Judges will be looking for proof that you have delivered what you claim. Quotes from happy clients or stakeholders can really help to tell your story, add colour to the submission and set you apart from competitors who might be making inaccurate boasts. Other proof might include sales performance, job creation figures, details of how you compare against industry benchmarks or customer satisfaction data.
  6. Highlight how you’re different
    Judges are looking for stand-out projects that are different, rather than following the norm. Spend some time articulating why your project or business is different to all the others – have you achieved a market first, achieved growth in the face of great challenges or paved the way for wider industry progress in a certain field? Make sure your entry passes the ‘so what?’ test. Explain why your achievements matter by putting them into context.
  7. Proof-read and approve
    Once complete, ask a couple of colleagues to proof-read your draft. This is as much about checking for mistakes as it is identifying other details or key points that could be added to improve your story. Finally, make sure you have the necessary approvals to submit your entry – this might include clients, stakeholders, business advisors, third parties and management.
  8. Use your supporting material allowance
    With the MIB awards in particular, entrants are invited to supply up to three pages of supporting information. This can include additional written material, photos or video collateral. Be sure to use this allowance as an opportunity to add further colour to your submission, bring your proof points to life and perhaps even showcase a new product or service.

Entering awards is all about recognising best practice and celebrating success and we’re hopeful that, with the help of these tips, you’ll soon be on your way to sharing your company’s achievements in an engaging way and making a submission.

As the sixth Merseyside Independent Business Awards comes over the horizon, we’d love your story to be up in lights, shared among your peers, and perhaps even be one of this year’s winners.

Find out more about the MIB Awards and how to enter here