Race for the prize

As we enter awards season, Collaborative Creations’ Content Manager Stuart Wood gives some tips for how to write a great award entry.

It’s December, which means it’s once again the time of year for cheesy Christmas jumpers and switching on the office heater. But it also means we’re entering another kind of season: awards season.

Awards are a great way for an industry to let their hair down (hold the bald jokes, please) after a long year, while looking back on their collective achievements. They’re also a good opportunity to network and make contacts that could be useful in 2022 - assuming you can remember who you talked to.

The first few months after the New Year are the time that many organisers - though not all - choose to hold award ceremonies. With the submission deadlines for some event industry awards soon coming to a close, I thought this might be an opportune time to have a look at what makes a good award entry, and how to give yourself the best possible chance to win. I’ve worked both at a publisher that organised awards and as a PR for clients, helping them to write award entries. I’ve seen both sides of the coin, so hopefully you’ll find something useful in these tips.

1. Cut down on hyperbole. An award entry is not a press release. It isn’t the place for outlandish statements about how great you are - it’s a place for examples of how great you are. Keep it concrete, and throw in relevant stats wherever they help to illustrate a point: zero infections, 80% customer satisfaction, 100% sponsor rebooking. Imagine you’d submitted your entry as homework to your teacher - right next to those stats is exactly where they’d put a big, fat tick.

2. Wherever possible, be topical. Demonstrating how you’ve risen to meet challenges that are currently in the public eye will go a long way. Of course that means Covid, but at the moment it also means, for example, demonstrating that your festival has rigorous procedures in place for security. If you can demonstrate that your event or company is safe and responsible while also showcasing your creativity and innovation, that’s a double tick.

3. Lean into your strengths. If you’re a young company, perhaps you don’t want to use the word ‘experience’ too often. Instead, focus on the creative aspects and position yourself as what the LinkedIn influencers would call a ‘disruptor’ (shudder). These awards have lots of different categories, so there’s plenty of room for specificity.

4. Be green. Plainly and simply - the more sustainable your company is, the better your chance to win. In the past these kinds of awards might have had one ‘most sustainable’ category, but nowadays many of them require your sustainability credentials at the door. You might need to supply supporting documentation or a separate written piece on this topic, so be ready for that. The more you can demonstrate a genuine commitment to sustainability that isn’t greenwashing or some token recycling bins, the better your chances.