Award entries can often seem like a daunting task for any business to undertake. From tight deadlines to lengthy word counts, to navigating what attachments to include, drafting an award entry does require a significant amount of investment. However, the time and energy that goes into drafting an award entry can truly reap long term benefits for your business.
Over the course of the last decade, awards have grown in prominence, thanks to the rise of digital media. Showcasing your brand and what you do in short, snappy moments online is key, and award shortlists or wins further reinforce this. For example, you can share one simple social media post promoting your win and garner an incredible amount of engagements, shares, and likes. It is an increasingly excellent way of engaging with your audience and attracting new people to your business, not to mention an opportunity to advocate your people and products and showcase your growth.
Here at Hey Me, our team of communication experts are well-versed in the world of award entries. Using our knowledge, we have delved into ways to leverage awards to make your business stand out, from planning ahead of deadlines to maximising the associated PR opportunities they can provide, which you can read more about below:
Do your research
Due to the time and investment required, it is important you enter your organisation into awards that align with your brand and values. If you do not think the award marries up with your brand, there is simply no point investing the time and money into entering it. If you have an excellent innovation team, show them off by entering innovation or product–specific awards. If you have a fantastic HR team, enter them into more people–focused awards such as The RailStaff Awards. Own a groundbreaking product that has revolutionised a specific industry–wide problem? Show it off by entering an award. There really is no limit to what you can do with awards when you think out of the box.
Understand your identity
Before you open the portal and start to draft your entry, take a stock check of your products, services, and people, and ensure you are promoting the right person or the right product. If you wish to enter a person–specific award, make sure that that person is comfortable being in the public domain, as often award wins will come with associated PR opportunities. This can range from anything from video interviews to editorial features.
Take your time
Ensure you map out your deadlines and create a project plan for the award entry. Inform all key stakeholders who will be required to review, approve, and sign off copy of your dates. Do not leave it to the last minute, as this will mean mistakes and grammatical errors are made. View drafting an award entry as a whole life cycle project, and regularly check in with those around you to make sure what you are writing is clear and concise and will stand out to the judging panel.
Engage with the organisers
It can be highly beneficial to engage with the award organisers early in the writing process. This could potentially lay the groundwork for future judging opportunities or give you the chance to learn about extended deadlines before they are publicly announced, buying you some extra valuable proofing time. More than that, they are sound counsel for you to rely on if you feel stuck or need some guidance when preparing your entry.
Use the attachments section to your advantage
Often the attachments section can be overlooked. However, it’s definitely worth exploring what you could add here, to make your entry stand out. Do you have any videos or whitepapers that you could include? Adding in something extra may give you that edge over other entries, so consider what you have on file and use it to your advantage.
Promote, promote, promote
Once you get that shortlist or win, promote, promote, promote! If you are lucky enough to attend the ceremony and have a table, send along a range of people from across your business, both to make your staff feel included and to showcase the different people you employ within your organisation. Encourage everyone attending the ceremony to share their attendance across social media and get as many photographs as possible for that post-win blog post and social media post!
Now the dust has settled on your win, explore how you can utilise your win for the long term. Explore how you could integrate an awards section on your website, update your company biography and social media profiles to signpost the win. Review and include the win in your business development and sales materials. Embrace the accolade and showcase why you are worthy recipients, through all communication touchpoints. You have worked hard for it, so take the time to show it off.
Here at Hey Me, we have a team of experts who have supported a range of businesses to secure coveted award wins. If you would be interested in learning more about how we could support you with your award entry, then get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org
“Since day one, Amy herself has fit seamlessly into our team, understanding the message we want to convey and the audiences we want to reach. Her upfront audit was invaluable in helping us internally hone our common voice, which has demonstrated itself in the consistency of the content we put out as a brand and as individuals within the company. Behind the scenes, Amy has instinctively adopted our internal communication methods (Slack, SharePoint) and works closely with our in-house graphic design team to ensure our graphics and copy are in sync.”Lucy Prior MBE - previously from 3Squared 2021
“I saved so much time after implementing a more structured approach which has given me the opportunity to focus on creating more content and work more closely with my clients. Amy and her team are easy to deal with and are quick to provide valuable solutions. I would not hesitate to work with Hey Me again in the future.”Karen Duncan - Lanehead Coniston
“I met Amy a few years ago at a Young Rail Professionals event and was able to provide her with an opportunity to manage the comms on a major alliance which she flourished at. Soon after she started, Marie came along to provide HR support across the multiple businesses. It seems only natural that being as dynamic and knowledge as they are, they are looking to work together on this new venture, which I am sure will be a huge success.”Karen Duncan - Lanehead Coniston