How to Write a Winning Award Application
Over the years I’ve been delighted to be asked to judge in over 30 business award events, with over 200 individual awards for start-ups right through to blue-chips.
Here are my 5 Pro Tips on how to catch the judge’s attention and be top of the pile when it comes to shortlisting and choosing a winner.
Read On ↓
Make it Easy
Judges have a lot to read through, so write the main section about your winning credentials in a way that makes it easy for the judge to pick out the important points as well a getting an overall feel for your business.
- Use headings, bullets and short paragraphs to break up the text
- Start strong with a punchy sentence that encapsulates your business and keep the story of your success alive throughout the application.
- Outline the most impressive things most prominently.
- For each main point, cover the What, Why, Who, How, Results, Benefits (if you have more than a couple of individual main points, you’ll need to cover these with even more brevity).
- Finish with a a brief summary and describe what’s next for your business
- Keep under the word count allowed and make every word count!
Address Every Criterion
Make sure you’re fully aware of the full criteria for the award and address each of these in the application. If one or more is not relevant, still show you’ve thought about it and include something alternative that’s related where possible.
Stand out by going above and beyond – include achievements that may not be explicitly covered in the criteria but show you’re thinking outside the box and doing something innovative.
Include Supporting Evidence
Include evidence of the results that have been achieved. This could take the form of accolades, contracts awarded, proof of market growth, team growth, testimonials, media mentions or anything else that fits with your business.
If it’s a struggle to include all of this in the word count… outline or list it and provide links or email attachments. For example you could put your best testimonial in the awards application along with the link to your online reviews. If you’ve had your story picked up in the media, you could mention this in the application and email PDFs of the news article(s) or links.
Keep your social media and website updated, engaging with the awards body and judges (if known). Attend related networking events if you can.
This will keep you front of mind during the process and has the added benefit of increasing your profile regardless of the award outcome!
Don’t get too bogged down in perfecting your application. Great ideas and impact will shine through. I once awarded a business who had an awful application form but the central idea of their business was so remarkable they stood out as the clear winner. In this case we did have to collect additional information (this is part of our Zokit awards assurance process. Though many awarding organisations will solely go on the application form).
The more awards you enter the better you’ll become at writing entries. One of our finalists reported…
“Just filling in the application gave me lots of great ideas about taking my business forward. It was a very worthwhile exercise.”
Applying for awards has a multitude of benefits: becoming re-inspired about your business, benchmarking your progress, networking with other finalists and very cost-effective marketing …and of course you could also get that trophy in your hands!
Let’s Start Something new
Send us a message and let’s connect!