As the deadline for submissions looms, here are some ‘Top Tips’ and pitfalls to avoid when writing your award winning nomination:
1. Give the judges what they’ve asked for rather than what you want to tell them.
The best applications are structured around the criteria and don’t waste too much of the word count on contextual information or narrative text. Winning applications directly link their achievements and evidence to the criteria making it easy for the judges to benchmark and compare you against your competitors.
2. Make the most of the opportunity and quantify your achievements.
It’s important to write in an impactful, output focussed way using the ‘so what’ technique. After you have written a statement or achievement in your submission, test its strength by questioning, ‘so what does this mean to the judges’? Once sense checked, consider redefining the amount of narrative used to set up each example or initiative …can you edit narrative without losing understanding freeing word count for more substantive information?
3. Think about what supporting evidence carries the most weight for your category.
As well as providing robust evidence, consideration of whether it is appropriate from a category specific perspective is essential. In a leadership category, several testimonials from team members are critical whereas in a category rewarding customer experience, customer testimonials are necessary.
4. Substantiate your achievements with appendices
Once you have told the judges about an achievement, whether it is quantitative or qualitative, don’t assume this does not need substantiation. This can take many forms and need not count against the word limit when supplied as appendices, for example, statistical tables, testimonials, supporting documents, explanation & evaluation. It’s important to ensure your examples have depth allowing the judges to differentiate your initiatives from those of your competitors.
5. Differentiate your submission with substance
Whilst a creative approach is encouraged, it is crucial that style does not overtake substance within the application. Use of imagery, photos, a unique angle that still meets the criteria, different ways the information can be captured, use of pull quotes throughout etc are all good ways to catch the judges eye, but they do not replace or overshadow a well written, well structured, substantiated entry.
6. Why are your achievements better than those of others?
The standard of applications received is extremely high and therefore don’t assume your achievements are automatically better than those of your competitors. Demonstrate the strength of your achievements by providing a comparative or benchmark – internal as a minimum but try searching for external benchmarking reports from membership organisations and technology providers.
7. Plan, Review and Edit
One of the most common mistakes is writing at the last minute and failing to leave adequate time for writing and editing the submissions. It is always apparent to the judges, which applicants have given adequate time to the writing cycle. It’s safe to say that the editing process always takes longer than you expect but it is well worth while to review your submission, allowing time to collect additional, more appropriate evidence and revise the content. As a rule of thumb, the planning and editing process, should take considerably longer than the writing process!