With business awards celebrating and highlighting the hard work and success of organisations across various sectors, it is imperative for companies to know how to write an effective award entry to get the recognition they deserve.
Proof Communications Director Rosemary Gillespie, who has created countless award submissions on behalf of various clients since 2000, said there were some rules to follow for a winning chance at taking home a gong.
Get crystal clear
Ms Gillespie said it was crucial to identify the particular awards or categories which were best suited to the organisation’s achievement and to rule out categories that were less relevant.
From there, she said mapping a clear understanding of two to three points to make in the award submission would ultimately lead to a much clearer entry.
“Make sure you think, even for a few minutes, about what you would like to say in response to each of the questions,” Ms Gillespie said.
“Jot down a few bullet points just to be clear in your own head – what is the key message you want to convey in response to each question?
“When you come to actually write the submission, make sure you answer the question. I know that sounds a bit silly but a lot of people will read the question and start writing without thinking whether they’re answering the questions specifically.”
Attendees at the AIM WA Pinnacle Awards 2022
Bringing the prestigious Pinnacle Awards to the community each year, AIM WA recognises organisations in various sectors, including not-for-profit, community, government and corporate, with AIM WA Head of Events and Engagement Alex Quinn FAIM being well versed in what makes a submission stand out amongst the crowd.
She said if a business had identified multiple categories to enter, they could make more than one submission if desired, however using the same entry across those categories was not recommended.
“It is important to tailor it towards what is required for each specific category,” Ms Quinn said.
“Whatever award you’re entering, really address its criteria and make sure you answer each criteria element individually.
“Sell your best story and provide some specific examples, as well as any unique elements around the execution.
“Also address any challenges you’ve overcome and how you did this.
“Judging panels are often interested to see this because not everything always goes perfectly, so they want to know how you dealt with it and how you managed to emerge with a positive outcome.”
Consider the human element
Ms Gillespie advised to make the submission personal.
“We recommend making it very personal, using first person singular or plural language like ‘we’, ‘us’, ‘our’ and ‘I’, because the judges are looking to find out what either the individual business person has done or their business has achieved,” she said.
Make it presentable
Ms Quinn said formatting would make an impression, with subheadings and ample paragraph spacing working advantageously, making the award entry more visually appealing and easier to digest.
“The Pinnacle Awards reward leadership excellence, so it’s really about representing and demonstrating this with the project or implementation you are submitting.”
“They’re looking for examples of positive impact on the organisation, the stakeholders and the community it serves, as well as how it sets your organisation apart from others,” she said.
Back it up and demonstrate the impact
Above all, Ms Gillespie’s most important piece of advice was to provide hard evidence to back up the business's achievements.
“They need to provide facts and figures around the outcomes they’ve achieved or delivered,” she said.
“One of the things judges tell us is that when they’re reading award entries, the submissions which never make it through are the ones where people talk very vaguely about their achievements or innovations and fail to explain how the program was effective or what the results were.
“There has to be evidence to include, like return on investment, or an increase in numbers either as a percentage increase or a dollar amount.
“Other examples include increasing number of leads, sales, enquiries or website visits – anything that adds value to the bottom line or results in an outcome for a consumer, the public or the community.”
Ms Gillespie said it was important to allow plenty of time to gather the information and keep aware of word counts and submission closing dates.
“Keeping notes of these achievements throughout the year can also be a good idea,” she said.