Getting you and your business noticed is what gets us here at Sixty7 HQ up every morning - it's why we started Sixty7 PR Ltd back in 2013 and its kept us out of trouble (just about, most of the time) ever since. What we find most exciting about this is the number of ways in which this can be done and entering awards is one of the most exciting because, once you've submitted your (expertly crafted) entry, its all pretty much out of your hands. The suspense can be exhilarating! The best bit is that its not all about winning - being shortlisted brings you all the glory you need.
Louise Turner is chief wordsmith at Awards Writers, experts in helping you win awards. Here, Louise highlights three huge benefits you get from entering business awards and offers us some top tips for awesome award entries.........
Who doesn’t want to say that their business is award winning? It’s a mark of expertise, an indicator you can be trusted, a vote from an independent organisation that yours is a quality business.
But what if you don’t win? Is getting on the shortlist a waste of time? As experts at helping companies large and small to put together the best award entries, we know from experience that you don’t have to win an award to reap the benefits. Here are three reasons why.
Nobody has ever asked a client of ours who they lost to, so be proud of the fact that you’re a finalist, rather than waiting to see whether or not you have won.
Most quality awards schemes will provide you with a finalist or shortlisted badge for your website, social media accounts and email signature, so make the most of the achievement you know you have secured, rather than staying quiet and taking a chance that you’ll win.
As long as the set of awards that you have entered is a quality one – think first about those run by professional or trade bodies and well-regarded specialist magazines – then you can be rightly proud to be named a finalist and should make sure you shout about it.
Not just the perfect opportunity to get your glad-rags on, awards ceremonies can be used for so much more than that.
More than one of our clients uses ceremonies as a chance to spot potential future recruits, watching carefully the individuals involved with shortlisted projects and, in particular, finalists in best young practitioner-type categories.
The flipside of this is that being a finalist gives your organisation a profile as potentially award-winning, which can only add to your reputation as a great place to work. (Employer brand and visibility is another reason our clients want to enter awards.)
Being at the ceremony is also a perfect networking opportunity, not necessarily for landing new clients, but certainly for making connections with others in your industry for potential collaborations.
One of our small business clients was offered mentoring by the chair of judges, a prominent CEO, at the award ceremony at which she was a finalist. He said he had been so impressed with her business and its progress that he wanted to help her take it to the next level.
Another client secured a meeting with the head of a previously reluctant organisation as he walked off stage, award in hand. They ended up becoming partners in a multi-million-pound project.
You never know what the impact of being on the shortlist will be, but you do know that if you aren’t in the room, you can’t get the benefits. Judges are often well-known experts from within the industry, so it can’t hurt that they are reading about your business success. Who knows what opportunities will spring from being on the shortlist?
Top tips for awesome award entries
There are so many tips we could give but we’ll keep it brief. What you need to do is tell a great story and back up your claims with the right numbers. So work first on the narrative for your business. Like most successful fairytales it would help if you have overcome a monster (industry changes, a new competitor or other problem within the business) or had been on a journey of transformation (reshaping your proposition, pivoting the business or other large-scale change works well).
Once you know the story you want to tell, look for ways to prove the impact of your actions. The catch here is to show that your achievements have made a difference to someone else – staff or customers.
Finally, it takes a huge amount of time and effort to put together an entry which reaches a good-quality shortlist, so don’t phone it in. Award entries are very much a case of go hard or go home, so be prepared to put in the hours to produce something you’re proud of. If nothing else, the process will help you to think about your business and reflect on your achievements.
If you feel daunted by the prospect of putting in the hard graft it takes to craft a compelling award entry, or just want the benefit of an expert eye to help you decide whether it’s worth applying, get in touch by emailing email@example.com