If a potential client is tossing up between your firm or your competitor’s, but they can see you’ve won a host of awards, who do you think they’re going to choose? More likely, you.

The truth is that companies who want to win make entering awards part of their marketing strategy. Whether you use your in-house resources to compile your entry, or you choose to outsource the writing, it’s helpful to know a little about the process.

So, this is what you need to start with, and then let’s elevate it further below to get the creative juices flowing:

  • Check the submission process. Is it online or can it be designed professionally? Some, like the UDIA Property Awards for Excellence recently switched to uploading entries online into dedicated criteria boxes rather than designing the entire entry as a PDF or printed book format. You’ll need to allocate extra time if it’s the latter. Some programs also score you on actual presentation – like The International Property Awards – so always check this first. Also, this scheme requires the submission to be sent to the UK – so make sure you have the time to ensure it’s received by the due date.
  • Double check the word limits. Some programs don’t have a limit on each criteria, so you can write en masse, while others set out a maximum word count. Don’t waste time writing content that won’t be able to be submitted. Having said that, it’s important not to waffle on either. Best to make your content sharp and to the point.
  • Write only what’s asked. It’s really important to stick to the criteria. It’s easy to get side tracked into detailing great achievements by your company, but if it’s not directly related to the criteria, leave it out. The judges are only interested in exactly what’s asked, so be objective.

Right. Now here’s the stuff that’ll really make your submission sing.

  • Find the hook. As journalists, we’re taught to find the angle – the hook – the ‘thing’ that makes the story really come alive. When it comes to awards, this means being super critical of your project or entry to pull out the absolute highlights and really spotlight them as explicitly as possible. Keep referring to the criteria to ensure you are on message.
  • Smart storytelling. What are your brand values? What does your company stand for? Weave this into your entry, especially if it relates to the outcome of the project. Think about headings as well. If you must create a designed entry from scratch, use clever titles and play around with the layout. Always use professional photography too.
  • Set up a Dropbox folder. Save your sanity ahead of time by setting up an internal filing system for each project that includes things like, marketing, design, plans, landscaping, town planning, challenges. That way, everything is there for your team to access when it comes to putting it all together. It makes life much easier.

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that if your project or entry is truly amazing, there’s every chance it’ll be up there to win. So why not give it the best chance with an incredible entry, and start stocking up on those trophies.

Good luck!