How to write a winning award application

How to write a winning award application

Winning an award is an excellent way to build exposure and credibility for your brand.

However, award applications are notoriously challenging and time consuming, and this is why so many companies fail to apply for awards which they have an excellent chance of winning.

So, what can you do to improve the award application process and lay the groundwork for the best possible chance of success? Here are some tips for writing a winning award application. 

Prepare, prepare, prepare

If you sit down to complete the application the day it’s due, you can kiss that award win goodbye. Award applications almost always take longer than you will expect from the outset. Ensure you leave ample time to:

Understand the questions

Take time to understand the criteria and questions. If any questions are double barreled, make a note that you will need to respond to both parts of the question. Make sure you note the word counts for questions upfront. Think about which criteria apply in each question so that you can formulate relevant responses.

Conduct research

Conduct research into past winners and what the judges will be looking for, as well as into your company and its unique selling proposition. Compile supporting documentation and interview relevant people.

Draft your application

Draft thoughtful and thorough responses, and edit and proofread those responses.

Hit deadlines

Diarise important dates to ensure you hit all deadlines including submitting your entry on time!

Make your application stand out

Most awards will receive hundreds if not thousands of entries. It’s important to remember the judges will be reading a high volume of applications, so your application needs to grab their attention immediately in order to get noticed.

What is particularly interesting and relevant about you or your business which would be of interest to the judges and meets the criteria? Do you have a unique story to tell? What makes you and your business genuinely different? If your award application too closely resembles the other applications you will have a real problem.

Be creative, tell your story and use case studies or examples, and you’ll be well on your way to a compelling award application.

Write well

It goes without saying that your award application must be extremely well written. Proper grammar and spelling is essential. Leave enough time to proofread and edit your work, and have someone else (multiple people if possible) review and edit the application.

Your goal is to write persuasively in a way that is easy to understand yet still compelling. Avoid jargon and academic language. Spell out acronyms or exclude altogether. Be concise and use the active voice. Don’t bury the lead – start by stating the most important message first in each response and then back it up with examples and background.

Provide evidence

Supporting evidence is usually required for most award applications. Ensure you have compiled and reviewed any reports, financial statements, testimonials, business plans or other relevant information before you sit down to write your award application.

Include examples, graphs and diagrams (if allowed), supporting statistics or figures in your responses as much as possible to help illustrate your point and give the judges some concrete evidence to work with. For example if you’re claiming that your business performed well last financial year, include the percentage of sales growth. If you mention that you have a reputation for excellent customer service, provide an example of when your company went above and beyond for a customer. Typically it is best to not repeat examples, the more varied examples you can provide the better.

Get expert help

Does this all sound a little overwhelming? It certainly can be.

This is why turning to the experts to prepare your award applications can be a great help. They already know the ins and outs of how to prepare an excellent award application which can improve your chances exponentially.  

At Green Door Co we have helped many brands win or get shortlisted for both international and local business awards – including ourselves! Are you interested in applying for an award for your business? Contact us.

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