Three practical steps to help with award entries

With our worlds turned upside down for the last few months, writing award entries has slipped even further down people’s to do lists, so we thought we’d help with these three practical steps to help with writing award entries when you haven’t the head space for writing them.

It’s not surprising that many people can’t get their around writing an award entry in the current reality. To put together an award entry you need a compelling story, all of the facts and figures at your fingertips, and the time and headspace to cleverly mix the two together into a brilliant submission. And we’ve all been a bit short on headspace recently.

The business awards world hasn’t stopped, with lots of sets of awards continuing to be open for entries. That presents an opportunity for those who can put an entry together in the current situation, but if you can’t, here are three steps you can take to put yourself in pole position when the metaphorical fog lifts.

1. Gather data for your award entry

You might not be ready to write that entry at the moment, but when you are, you’ll need data. If you’re thinking of telling a story about recovering from the pandemic you need the benchmark numbers to compare against, so that probably means gathering them now, or even looking backwards a few months.

You don’t need to do much, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to get your hands on numbers now that you might not be able to source – or source as easily – in a few months’ time.

2. Construct your award entry’s narrative

The thing about crises is they usually impact on one, or just a handful of businesses. But the Covid-19 pandemic belongs to everyone. Every business will have been impacted in one way or another. Every person has a lockdown story to tell. So why is your Covid-19 story any more impressive than anyone else’s? If you’re going to rely on Covid-19 as the hook for your entry, you’ll have to work hard on making it stand out.

I almost wonder if staying away from Covid-19 will be the 2021 point of difference. So do you have a different story you could tell?

3. Review which awards fit with your new strategy

Inevitably businesses have been forced to reassess, re-plan, even pivot as a result of the current pandemic. That is likely to mean you have a new strategy, perhaps even a refreshed new definition of success and realigned key messages. The awards you might have entered in 2019 may no longer be the ones that will deliver you the best value.

Which awards you enter should be decided by picking those which will impress the audiences most important to you. So if your new business model places a different emphasis on those audiences – or even appeals to a new one altogether – you’ll need to look for awards to suit them, not suit you.

Your three annual awards opportunities

Remember that there are roughly three business awards “seasons” in the UK – spring entries for summer ceremonies, late summer/autumn entries for winter ceremonies, and winter entries for early spring ceremonies. This gives you three shots each year at entering a set of awards that suits your business.

While the future of busy, glitzy awards ceremonies might feel uncertain in the current situation, awards organisers will be busy working on solutions to ensure that businesses can still claim the glory they deserve. Some have taken ceremonies online; others have postponed them until later in the year in the hope that social distancing restrictions will them to go ahead in some format or other.

We’ll have to wait and see how that plays out, but one thing’s for sure, it will take more than a pandemic to kill off the entire awards industry, and in the meantime, taking these three practical steps to help with writing award entries will increase your chances of success when the time comes.