So – you’d love to be an award-winning business. Of course you would. I mean, why wouldn’t you? A shiny award spells success and shows you’re going places. It boosts your credibility, attracts new clients, is a great PR exercise and pretty much lets your competitors know that they can do one.
So here’s some quick tips on putting together an award-winning application.
BE SUCCINT AND SPECIFIC
Where applications have word counts, every word counts! So cut the waffle and cut to the chase. Judges will be looking for drill-down-to-the detail info that quickly conveys all the important stuff about your business.
Quick tip Write your application. Edit it. Edit it again. Then, yep, edit it again.
TART UP YOUR TESTIMONIALS
Most awards applications require supporting evidence such as testimonials. These should be hit-them-between-the eyes fabulous – not dreary messages about being ‘highly recommended’. If you’re planning on entering an award, dust off your testimonials and make sure they’re fit for purpose.
Quick tip Don’t leave your testimonials to the last minute – you might need to contact former clients for additional information or to get new ones.
GET ON THE CASE
Case studies are another great way of showcasing your business and can be part of your supporting evidence. Like testimonials, avoid throwing these together at the eleventh hour. Leave plenty of time to put together two or three strong examples to really impress the judges.
Quick tip Think about presentation. Instead of straight text, put together a nicely designed PDF with pictures (better still, hire a graphic designer for a professional look).
WAKE UP THE JUDGES
Your awards application won’t be the only one judges are looking at. They’ll be reading a LOT. And try as they might, when faced with a sea of similar applications they could be in danger of dozing off (I mean, I’m sure they won’t, but you really don’t want yours to be the one to tip them over the edge).
Quick tip Write like you’re talking to them – use a chatty, friendly tone to keep them interested and engaged. And a bit of humour might not hurt, either.
Awards applications can take several weeks to put together. If you’re using a copywriter there’s a good chance they’ll want to interview you to find out more about you and your business. They’ll need to sift through a whole lot of stuff like your business plan, brand story and any other relevant documents. And they’ll have questions. Lots of questions. All to get the kind of detail that’s going to make your application stand out.
Quick tip Don’t dilly-dally if you need a copywriter’s help. Book them in so you can get the process started in time to hit the deadline.
Did you know that you can hire a copywriter to write your business award application? Nope? Well you’re not the only one. The other day I was chatting to someone about this service and they said ‘Blimey! Whoever heard of such a thing? Sounds brilliant. Um, so how does that work then?’ Or words to that effect.
So – without further ado – here’s how it works.
Awards applications usually have a word count. Let’s say it’s a maximum 500 words per question. You might be inclined to do one of three things…
1 You write 225 words. Well, you’ve answered the question and you don’t want to labour the point. Also, you’ve left a nice bit of white space – maybe the judges will use it to draw a smiley face. Um, no! The judges will think you have a crappy business because you, the business owner, can’t think of very much to say about it.
2 You give it everything and write 650 words. That’s really going to impress the judges. Hmmmm – no! The judges are pissed off that you ignored the rules about the word count. They have hundreds of applications to read. They throw yours in the bin.
3 You write exactly 500 words. God knows what you’ve written – probably a lot of waffle – but high-five for that word count. Er, no! The judges fell into a waffle-induced coma at 120 words. They never came out of it.
Let’s talk about the ‘c’ word
So, about this word count business… whether you’ve got 200 or 2,000 words to play with you’ve got to make every one of those suckers count. That means you’ve got to be CONCISE. We talked about waffle, right? Also known as blathering, babbling and droning, waffling is when you write a lot without actually saying anything interesting, valid, relevant or meaningful. Waffle is words without purpose.
Copywriters don’t waffle. We’re not allowed to. It’s in our job description. And, actually, we hate waffle. So do award judges. That’s why you need a professional copywriter who can write words sparingly and succinctly.
The devil is in the detail
I don’t want to go on about waffle… but I’m going to go on about waffle. Within the word count of an award application, the judges will be looking for as much detailed information as possible. And when I say detailed, I mean detailed.
‘Our business has seen significant growth in the past year.’
Bully for you! I bet every other award applicant can say the same.
‘We’re a forward-thinking, innovative organisation.’
Well that’s six words and, nope, still not getting why you should win an award. And, if it was down to me, if you threw any more clichés in I’d personally disqualify you.
Judges need specifics to make them sit up and take notice. Award-winning applications require fact and figures and precise information. There’s no way a copywriter will let you off the hook with vague boasts. They’ll email you, call you, text you, stalk your granny – they won’t rest until you’ve given them something SPECIFIC to include. And while they’re at it, a copywriter will also help you tart up your testimonials to impress the judges.
Of course you don’t HAVE to have a copywriter to write your business award application. And there’s no guarantee you’ll win if you do hire one. But if writing’s not your bag and your application is more ‘waffle’ than ‘wow’, it might be worth considering.
* Need a copywriter for a business award application? Get in touch on 07894 669750
What’s holding you back from entering a business award? Honestly, I’d really like to know. Sure, some awards come with an entry fee – which could put you off if you’re on a tight budget – but a heck of a lot don’t. There are loads of business awards out there – local, national, international – spanning all types of industries. And there are usually multiple categories you can apply for. So the way I’m looking at it, there’s really no reason not to give it a whirl.
Be inspired to apply
Ah – but what if you don’t feel confident that you’ll win or that you even stand a chance? I get that. Funny thing is, when I’ve helped clients write business awards applications their confidence has rocketed. It’s forced them to sit down and really think about their business, from its very beginning to where it is now. And suddenly they can clearly see what an amazing, inspiring, successful business journey it’s been! They’ve read through their completed award entry and literally gone ‘Wow!’
Hire a copywriter
It helps to have a copywriter on board. When you’re running a business, it’s easy to forget just how much you’ve achieved – and having someone like me prompting and prodding can really focus the mind. After sitting down with one client to go through her award application, she was amazed at what she’d accomplished. She went back to the office beaming with pride.
Show your personality
A copywriter can also take your words and, well, polish them up. Awards applications usually have a maximum word count so it’s important to get rid of all the rambling statements and make the points succinct. And depending on the award and the category, you might also need to let your personality shine through. The judges will be looking at a lot of applications so it’s nice for them to read something with a bit of heart and soul.
The application that just keeps giving
The thing about awards applications is that it doesn’t matter if you win. Of course, it would be bloody brilliant if you did. But either way you’ll be left with a document that showcases your business and is there for you to look at whenever you need a boost or to plan your future strategy. You’ll also have lots of well-written, inspirational content that you can use for everything from elevator pitches to LinkedIn profiles.
If you need help writing your business award application, pop me a line.
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