Can you hear that? That’s the sound of thousands of business owners and marketers furiously tapping at their keyboards as they fill out yet another awards application.
Business awards season is fast approaching, and it’s one of the most important times of the year – whether you’re a young startup hoping to get recognised in the national arena or a major player trying to cement your status. And while your sales revenue, reputation, and products and services are all aspects a judge will consider, what really sets a winning entry apart is good copy.
Read on to learn how to write an irresistible application…
1. Get clear on the criteria
This one might sound obvious, but it’s important to read (and re-read) the award criteria before entering. Not only will this help you determine whether it’s the right category for your business, but it could also provide some key pointers for writing. For example, if the award you’re entering is all about innovation, you’ll want to centre your application around how your business has grown and adapted through changing circumstances, and focus less on how much revenue you were able to drive last year.
Likewise, it’ll help you figure out the legwork you need to do before you put pen to paper. Say the award is for best technology startup. Judges don’t want to know that ‘you made your clients happy’, they want to understand what separates you from the competition – and they’ll expect to see evidence that backs this up. So, gather quotes from customers or net promoter scores to quantify your client satisfaction. Conduct a case study (or draw from an existing one) to find out why they keep coming back, or outline what you’ve changed to increase retention over the past year. Maybe even ask your team to add comments.
2. Tell your story with passion
Although there are certain criteria you’ll need to hit when writing your application, your ultimate goal should be to tell an interesting story about your business. Judges will be inundated with entries listing achievements, previous awards, and big numbers – and while these things are great, they should be incorporated into a narrative that takes your reader on a journey. After all, telling stories is how we connect and empathise with others.
Your passion for your business should shine through in every detail. Whether you founded it or joined six months ago, you’ll want to get across the reasons you love your job or industry and show the judges why you deserve to be recognised. How long have you wanted to do what you do? Where do you see your business in the future? What are you most excited for? If you can already think of a seminar-worthy answer for each of these questions, you’re heading along the right lines.
3. Give the whole thing a good edit
A word count should be a limit, not a goal. Long, descriptive paragraphs might sound great coming from Tolkien, but with award applications, being concise is key. Make sure that every sentence serves a purpose and is contributing to the story you’re trying to tell.
Finally, once you think you’ve hit all the points above, it’s time to check your draft with a fine-tooth comb. Try using a highlighting system to identify different aspects of the criteria in your writing – this will make it easier to find glaring holes in your application.
Partner with a team that can make your entry pop
While these are some comprehensive steps you can take to hit the ground running with application writing, we know that sometimes you just have too much on your plate. That’s where we come in.
Over the past 10 years, we’ve worked with several clients to create award-winning applications – and we’ve even done it for ourselves! Get in touch to find out how we can help your business get the recognition it deserves.