Many corporations view applying for industry awards as a bit too self-promotional, a waste of critical advertising budget, and far too time-consuming.
However, just being nominated or shortlisted for an award can yield tremendous advantages. In fact, the benefits of winning an award outweigh the negative aspects—if you are strategic.
No joke: entering awards does actually require a lot of time and effort. Just finding the right awards to apply to is itself time-consuming, but there are ways to shortlist the right awards to apply to.
But with focus and attention, and an eye for the right amount of budget, an awards program can offer benefits both internally and externally for an organization.
Here are some tips for making sure you produce winning award entries:
- Encompass buyer testimonials – Clients are the best advocates. Having strong customer testimonials or even a case study or success story included in your award submission can mean the difference between selection and rejection.
- Upload extra supporting materials – If the award submission allows for it, make sure you add supporting materials. Create attention-grabbing videos showing off your products or customers giving a testimonial. Ensure your materials do not take too long to load and are compatible with any operating system or device. (Hint: the reviewers or judges might be looking at your submission on a mobile device.) To make things easier, publish the content on the Web and provide hyperlinks.
- Know your market – Make sure your submission maps to the award category you are applying for. Nothing will get you rejected faster than a mismatched award submission (and no, they will not refund you your application fee, sadly.). However, this can also be a chance for you to get clever. If your product has an additional use case for an adjacent market, explain why.
- Read the entry criteria carefully – Make sure that you read through the criteria thoroughly. This is very important! Doing this will help make sure that your submission is read completely by the judges as they look for all criteria to be met. Non-compliance with entry criteria could also mean an automatic rejection.
- Attend the awards ceremony – Event organizers need to hand your award to someone within your organization, so make sure that someone from your company can attend the ceremony. Often times, awards programs are part of larger conferences; if you are planning on attending the conference, or better yet, exhibiting, there is a higher likelihood that you will be considered for an award.
- Build a business relationship – If judges are already acquainted with your company, this may assist with your award submission. Brand recognition and keeping your organization in front of its audience helps immensely. Judges like to know something about a company in addition to simply reviewing its award submission.
- Ask for comments – If you’re no longer shortlisted or win the award, ask the awards organization for any feedback or remarks (if they make them available). Consider areas of improvement. It often takes time to get an award submission right, so accessing judges’ comments is crucial. Additionally, there may be some feedback for the product team. (Isn’t it great when marketing can help out another department?)
- Choose an award program that is right for you – Don’t just enter any award program. Make sure that it is within your industry, knowledge, and know-how—and that you have a likelihood of winning. Make sure that the award program is right for your company.
- Write for the judges – When writing your application, manage the level of language you use. If there are industry terms and acronyms that people in your industry would immediately recognize, that’s fine. But if you stuff your submission with language that’s way over the judges’ heads, then it simply won’t work. The opposite is true: if the language you use is below the standards expected of a company in your industry, you will likely get rejected.
- Submit on time – Make sure to enter your submission on time or you may get left out. Plan ahead of time to make sure your entry will get reviewed properly by the judges. Consider outsourcing your awards applications to a team with substantial knowledge of the awards industry.
Why enter an award program?
Receiving an award can increase brand awareness, fuel your advertising and content marketing programs, and even assist with sales enablement.
Awards also build employee morale, as employees, even in some small way, feel energized when they know that they are working for an organization that has been judged superior based on certain criteria.
If you’re trying to run an awards program and need a little assistance, use these tips and get in touch with us today.
Get the credit you deserve.
Have you applied for awards before? Did you win? We can help improve your odds of winning.