Writing an award winning entry

With the closing date for the Construction Marketing Awards approaching fast, Anna Hern, MD of Ridgemount PR, last year’s Agency of the Year, gives some tips on how to catch the eye of the judges.

As an agency we write award entries regularly for our clients, while as a judge I have also looked at the process from the other side.  From this experience, I offer my top five tips on giving your entry the best possible chance.

  1. Plan in advance. Keep an eye on the awards calendar and know which ones you want to win.  It is difficult to gather the information you need with a week to go before the deadline and when the project is several months old.  Know what criteria the individual award needs so that you can research the right information in advance.
  2. Provide supporting evidence.  User satisfaction surveys, observations from key stakeholders and any figures you can find to prove the performance of your project.  The information is much more compelling if it doesn’t come from the entrant
  3. Read the criteria carefully and make sure you provide everything that is asked for.  If they want a budget figure, make sure to include one.  Most judging processes will use a scoring system and will allocate points for each item specified on the criteria.  If you provide no information on one section you will score no points and it will probably be impossible to make that up on other sections
  4. Don’t waffle. There is likely to be a word count. Stick to it.  If you can say everything you need in less words then do it.  Judges have a lot of entries to read, so the easier you make it for them the more they will like you.  Bullet points, summaries, quotes are all easier to digest fast than long paragraphs.
  5. Think about the imagery.  If the awards entry asks for pictures then make sure you provide the best pictures you possibly can.  Not only do good photographs sway opinion, but the judges will have an eye to the PR potential of the winners and great pictures make that a lot easier.

And finally, remember that at the end of the day there will be some subjectivity in the choice of the judges. It’s wise to be magnanimous in victory and accept defeat with good grace.  Next year the results will probably be different.