Hints & Tips: Writing a Successful Award Entry

Forget the Oscars, BAFTAs and the Golden Globes – it’s all about the industry awards celebrating the work of agencies and in-house teams delivering outstanding events, savvy campaigns, innovative digital solutions and so much more.

In our first ever drptalk post in 2015, we explored the poignant question, Are awards really worth it?, and the points discussed within the post are, in my opinion, even more relevant today. With new award ceremonies being introduced year on year the prestige of winning awards, to some, is falling at a rapid rate. But awards can still provide a real ROI if carefully selected and managed effectively. It’s not easy to get it right and can come at a high cost if done wrong, so here are some handy tips when writing a killer award entry.

Note – many of our drpteam have sat on judging panels in their respective fields and all agree on the following (mostly):

Be precise, waffle less

I can’t speak from personal experience but, after speaking to various colleagues who have sat on judging panels, there is nothing worse than reading pages and pages of an award entry telling you that an event was ‘out of this world’ and the ‘best event ever to take place in the longstanding history of this hugely successful organisation’. Don’t get me wrong, you need your entry to stand out from others and it needs to excite the judging panel, but they will, more often than not, see straight through the ‘waffle’ – they just want clear facts.

Make it visual

Bring your award entry to life; it needs to tell a story. Almost every award organisation encourages the use of video and imagery, with some even making it a mandatory requirement. If you know a particular project or event is potentially award-winning, make sure you have planned an on-site photographer and/or video team to capture the day. A short video taking the judges on a journey from idea to results can often mean the difference of silver or gold.

See our short video from our 2016 drpBIGtalk…

Results matter

Unfortunately, without hard results to back up your entry, you may as well be throwing away the entry fee. It’s all well and good saying that the campaign delivered ‘outstanding results and made tons of money’ but statements need to be proved with quantitative data.

For example, ‘every attendee was extremely satisfied by the event’ could be backed up with post-event feedback data from an online poll, or ‘the roadshow gained maximum awareness’ could be backed up by social stats and press releases. And so on…

It’s also often a good idea to clearly communicate your objectives at the beginning of the entry, which can then be referred back to in the results to show the overall success.

Plan and prepare

I’ve learnt the hard way on occasions and, for me, it’s probably the most important step to take when submitting an entry.

Look at future deadlines coming up months in advance, plan time with the relevant stakeholders, ensure you have quality supporting material and, if not, give yourself time to get it. I’ve rushed entries with one-week deadlines and it’s very rare that these are ever shortlisted.

 

Some of these tips may seem common sense, but by allowing yourself time, ensuring you have relevance, quality and can make it visual, awards still can be a great channel for revenue, brand awareness and employee recognition.

I mean, who doesn’t love winning trophies? We do.

Award wins

David Lewis – Marketing & Social Media Executive

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