8 tips for writing an award entry  

Winning a business award, whether it’s for an individual, a team, product, or client partnership, can make all the difference to your business. It can help build your reputation among current and prospective clients in key markets, boost your brand, and grow your sales. A property service provider recently told me that just by being a finalist (not even a winner) in a built environment awards they estimated that it increased their annual revenue by as much as £100,000.

Even so, many businesses don’t take award writing seriously. Too often, the process is disorganised, fragmented, and last minute.

Writing an award entry is a specialist skill that requires planning, good communication, and specific knowledge of what it takes to win. If you’re going to spend time and money entering an award scheme, it’s worth planning it properly and producing the best entry you can.

With another year of awards fast approaching, now is the time to start thinking about which parts of your business you want to shout about, and which awards programmes you want to enter.

Here are eight tips for writing an award entry that you need to consider.

1 / Choose the right award

There are numerous award programmes within the built environment sector covering everything from property marketing, cleaning, and security to workplace technology. Likewise, if you’re looking to raise your profile in a particular vertical sector, it’s worth looking at awards for service in that area e.g., healthcare, education, law or financial services.

2 / Enter the right category 

When choosing the category, it’s crucial that you read the requirements carefully. Many awards have time criteria. Check that your entry is eligible. Are there any new categories in that particular programme? Newer categories are always less popular than more established ones. Who is sponsoring the category you have chosen? You don’t want to find yourself accepting an award from a competitor through gritted teeth.

3 / Choose the right project, team or individual  

Don’t opt simply for your latest or biggest project. Think carefully about whether you have a good relationship with your client and the depth of material you’ll need to put together when writing an award entry. If innovation is a key factor, have you genuinely broken new ground? Can you demonstrate joint working for a partnership award? If site visits are part of the entry process, will these be easy to arrange? If testimonials are required, are you confident that your client thinks as highly of your performance as you do?  Make sure you have the hard data to back up any claims you’re making about the success of your project.

4 / Engage your customer

Ideally, your client should want to win the award as much as you do, so explain to them how winning will enhance their profile as well. Doing this will make it easier to get cooperation when it comes to putting the entry together and getting it signed off. Ensure that you not only have permission from your client contact but also their corporate communications team as they will have the ultimate say.

5 / Tell a story 

Awards judges read lots of submissions, so yours needs to stand out. Facts are crucial but you need to provide a compelling narrative too. Provide some context. Tie your project into your client’s mission or objectives. Take the reader along the timeline, from conception to implementation. Make it personal. Add quotes and feedback from staff, customers, visitors, etc. Above all, make it an interesting read.

6 / Provide evidence 

Many awards entries fail to score well because they don’t back up their claims. Too many make assertions but don’t produce the evidence. If your new helpdesk system resulted in a “major improvement in customer service”, it’s vital that you provide the KPI or survey data that demonstrates these results. If you achieved “significant cost savings”, quantify them or at least give the percentage reduction in costs. Include simple graphics to make the point. Don’t be woolly.

7 / Paint a picture  

Even if the submission doesn’t require images, you’ll almost certainly need them should you make the shortlist or win. Many submissions are let down by poor photography and there really is no excuse, even if you don’t want to employ a professional. Pictures taken with a phone are high resolution and perfectly fine if you don’t have professional images.

8 / Prepare to celebrate victory

Finally, if you are lucky enough to be shortlisted or even win, make the most of your success. Issue a press release, publicise it internally, on your website, through social media and in newsletters. Many award schemes will offer downloadable media kits, including finalist and winner logos that you can add to marketing material, stationery, and email signatures.

If you really want to get ahead of the game, write your winner’s press release before the event. That way, all you have to do is drop in the judge’s remarks and you can enjoy the celebrations safe in the knowledge that you won’t be up at 6am trying to write sparkling copy after the big night.

Award writing support

Magenta has written numerous winning award entries since we were founded in 2011. Just last year, we helped clients with submissions for the IWFM awards, PFM awards, Cleaning Excellence awards, Security and Fire Excellence awards, OSPAs, and British Security awards.

We can help your business write an outstanding award entry giving you the best chance of success.

Read our guide on ‘How to write a winning award entry‘ for more details, visit our award writing page or get in touch to discuss how we can support your award ambitions.


Jo Sutherland