How to write a great award application

Business awards are a way to get publicity, recognition and perhaps even investment.

Win and you’ll stand out from the competition, boost your profile and credibility, and land new business and opportunities.

Just getting shortlisted gives you kudos. The ceremony offers chances to network and talent-spot, and you can reward staff with a night out.

Applying takes time, but helps everyone in the business understand the value of what they do, and it’s a way to get useful feedback from the judges.

You’ll typically need to show things like:

  • how you lead the field and innovate and improve
  • how you confronted and overcame obstacles and challenges
  • examples of success from your vision and strategic thinking
  • how well you look after, nurture and develop your staff, and
  • your corporate social responsibility, and how this has brought benefit to your bottom line and image.

So here are four steps to write a powerful business award application.

Step 1: Gather the info

gather info for award application

Start by getting information from people.

You’ll probably have to show turnover and profit, so speak with your financial staff. Go to your customer services team for customer feedback and testimonials. See human resources for people initiatives. For how your product leads the market, talk with the marketing team. For confirmation of your company’s vision, have a chat with the CEO.

Step 2: Tell great stories

tell stories to win awards

Now you can craft your points and evidence into stories.

Judges love human stories. So bring to life how you solve customer problems. Or how you look after staff. Or how you develop partnerships within your industry. Ask yourself what people love about you.

Don’t hesitate to show your personality. What makes you unique? You can be funny, quirky or serious.

Balance what you did with what you achieved. Clare Lynch explains how to approach a case study by dividing it into challenge, solution and outcome, and suggests questions to ask clients to get the information you need.

Consider starting with outcome/results, which puts your best bit at the front, when the reader is more attentive.

Step 3: Make it easy to read

girl reading happily

Use concrete language. Language that’s too abstract or corporate will turn judges off. How many times do we see companies describing themselves with words like solutions, quality, performance, productivity, innovation and dynamic? Think about how these things work in practice, using words we’d use when we talk.

The judges will have a lot of applications to read, so write clearly and concisely. Keep it simple and avoid jargon and clichés.

Get to the point quickly and make sure everything is coherent. That means each idea should flow logically from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph.

Step 4: Check and refine

refine your award application

Make sure each answer is tailored to the question. Break it down if necessary. Check your word count. When it’s done, sleep on it. Print it and read it again. Get someone else to proofread it.

These steps will ensure your application has its best chance of success. And if you don’t win, get as much feedback as you can to improve for next time.

Unsure which award to apply for? Boost Marketing have a large list of UK and international business awards.

Need help writing your application? Contact me, or have a look at my two hour workshop, Writing Winning Award Entries.

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