Our 15-point checklist for writing a winning awards entry
Do you want to win at the European Wind Investment Awards? A Word About Wind editor-in-chief Richard Heap shares some tips about how you can write an entry that will wow your judges and help you stand out in a crowded category.
The ticking clock. The tutting production team. The repetitive blink of the cursor on the blank document. I’m a journalist, so I like the pressure of a looming deadline as much as the next person but, when it comes to entering an award, planning is key.
In this post, we’re going to share a step-by-step guide for how you can put together your awards entry to make the best impression and (hopefully) secure one of the 12 prizes on offer at our inaugural European Wind Investment Awards on 31st October.
Oh, and if you’re reading this for the first time on our nominations deadline day (31st May), then you might have left it a little bit late. Here goes…
1. Enter the right categories
It only makes sense to enter categories where you can demonstrate excellence and feel like you have a genuine chance of winning. If you aren’t convinced, then you will struggle to write an entry that can convince our judging panel of industry experts.
2. Follow the instructions
Awards organisers have their reputations to protect and won’t want to bend the rules to accommodate one company so, if there’s a deadline, stick to it. Likewise, you will need to read the entry criteria carefully – twice! – and make sure to answer all of the criteria. If you don’t then it’ll only damage you. And please stick to the word count.
3. Leave time to do it properly
If you’re planning to enter our awards then you’re going to want to invest the time in doing it properly. You should look at the nominations form at least a month ahead of deadline. This gives you time to bring in the information that you need to show your business and projects at their best. Don’t miss out because a key person is away!
4. Don’t duplicate from elsewhere
Think of an awards entry like a CV. Like jobs, ever awards ceremony is different and has a slightly different set of criteria. You’ll get far further by tailoring your entry to the specific event. Don’t be tempted to just replicate an entry you’ve used elsewhere.
5. Consider bringing in help
If you don’t have the time or writing skills to put together your entry then it may make more sense to bring in external help. An external communications agency could help make the difference to being shortlisted and not, so could be worth the investment. A trained copywriter could be what you need to really make your entry sparkle.
6. Grab the judges’ attention…
You’ll want to grab your readers’ attention early, so it makes sense to focus on your strongest projects first and tell a story. You’ll want to stick to the facts and back up your claims with evidence, including any strong statistics. However, remember that the judges are industry peers, so be careful about sharing confidential information.
7. …and remember your ‘why?’
If you haven’t read ‘Start With Why’ by Simon Sinek – or seen one of his videos on LinkedIn – then it’d be worth it. This looks at the principle that talking about why you did what you did is a more powerful marketing technique than simply talking about what you did. This could certainly help you to focus your message more succinctly.
8. External endorsements are powerful
Bringing in external endorsements from clients and other well-known names in the industry can be very powerful. Remember, you are entering a B2B awards, and so the people judging you are likely to know the big-name companies and individuals. Drawing on positive testimonials from other industry experts can be invaluable.
9. Break up long blocks of text
You’ll need to assume that readers have no background knowledge of your business and will be daunted if they have to look at a big block of unbroken text. Breaking it up with sub-heading and bulletpoints can help make the information more accessible.
10. Use supporting materials sparingly
Judges are going to have a lot of entries to go through so, while they may find some supporting materials useful, don’t bombard them with every visual, video and link at your disposal. Remember, you’re trying to tell a story about your success, and so if there is anything in your entry that isn’t key to your story then you should leave it out.
11. Stick to the truth and avoid jargon
We know how it is. You want to show off about what you’ve done and it is tempting to bend the truth. We have just one word for that: don’t! Stick to the truth and avoid overly exuberant marketing jargon. Your entry will be read by industry experts with keen bullshit detectors. Don’t make them remember you for the wrong reasons.
12. Avoid the temptation to future-gaze
Judges are looking at what you have actually done, not what you say you are going to do, so focus on what’s happened. If you want to win an award for things that you are going to do in the future then use that as the basis of your entry in a future year.
13. Write it offline where possible
Awards websites can come under a huge amount of strain around deadline day, and you don’t want to lose your work if the website suddenly crashes. Where possible, it makes sense to write your entry offline and then move it online when you’re ready to submit. Save as you go and save often.
14. Harness the power of pedantry
Once you’ve drafted your entry, you should bring in others in your team – including the most pedantic person you can find – to check it. Also, read it aloud to make sure it sounds sensible. Honestly, you’ll be surprised at what you all find.
15. Submit – and store the info
If you’ve been through all of these steps then you’re probably ready to submit. All we can say is good luck! A final point then it to make sure you save the information that you’ve gathered. While we don’t advise you to submit exactly the same entry as you have done elsewhere, it makes sense to save the info for future awards.
So now you know how to put together a great awards nomination, which categories are you going for at the European Wind Investment Awards?
You can submit your nominations for any of the 12 categories in the European Wind Investment Awards by 31st May. For more, visit: https://europe.windawards.com/