Posted: Monday 21st December 2020 in Performance Marketing.

Award entries are a big part of the digital marketing industry, allowing agencies to show off their work and their clients, and to be recognised for being the best. The challenging part, however, is writing the award entry in the first place. How do you start an entry, what are the most important things to focus on, and what can you do to make sure you’re in with the best chance of impressing the judges and adding that win to your trophy case? In this article are the steps you can take to ensuring you take home the gold.

Executive summary

According to judges, this is the single most important part of the entry. This is the first thing they read, it gives them an overview of the full entry and it needs to pique their interest. Here, the judges will be looking for objectives, the problem, the solution, and the results. The remainder of your entry should then pull all the details together. Spend as much time on the executive summary as needed and ensure it shows the judges how your work stands out from the crowd. Ensure to highlight the objectives and results within this summary and go back to it after completing the rest of the entry to make sure it pulls it all together.

Tell a story

When writing the entry, judges are expecting to read a story. They want to understand the main objectives, the problems you faced, the solutions and the end results. Focus on the creativity and innovation of your work and make sure you get this across to the judges. Make sure you discuss the audience for the work and highlight the budget, so the judges understand how impressive your achievement was.

Less is more

When writing the entry, don’t just throw in a lot of unnecessary words to fill up the word count- it’s a limit, not a target. It’s important to remember less is sometimes more. Focus on the main important details, don’t over-write, and don’t go over the word count. Remember, the judges will sometimes have 20-30 of these entries to read at once, so focus on writing clever and compelling text that will make your entry stand out.

Supporting material

Supporting material can be a nice addition to complement an entry, providing it is relevant and appropriate. A nice graph, data set, short video or creative image can really help to support and add context to your entry, but it is by no means a must, so try not to overdo it.

Give yourself enough time

Make sure you have put aside enough time to write the entry. It doesn’t want to be rushed; you’ll need at least a week or longer. A good entry will likely take a lot of data gathering so don’t underestimate how long it will take. Once written, ensure there is adequate time for edits, and sign-off, whether this is internally from managers, or externally from your clients. It’s also an idea to have someone outside the team look at it; if you’re working on the project yourself, you won’t have the same objectivity. Oh, and it goes without saying, make sure your spelling and grammar are perfect.

What judges don’t like

When writing your entry, there are some things you should avoid at all costs. Some of these, in particular, are judges pet hates, so ensure you don’t

  • Jargon: It’s not necessary to overuse jargon. It won’t add value to the entry; you want simple and clear language that is easy to understand, yet cleverly used. Not every judge will be an expert in your field, so ensure the entry is readable and understandable for everyone.
  • Trendy language: You might think using terms such as ‘growth hacking’ makes your entry cool and niche, however, similar to using jargon, this is another pet hate of judges. If you’re using terms like these, you may want to re-evaluate your entry. Instead, stick to clear language that is easy to understand.
  • Incorrect category: Too often judges read fantastic award-winning entries, only for it to be entered into the wrong category. Ensure the category matches your submission, as although judges do sometimes have the power to move entries into the correct category, you shouldn’t count on this; more than likely your entry will just be disqualified.
  • Not reading criteria: Another pet hate for judges is not reading the criteria. It is laid out within the submission form, so make sure you stick to it. If it does not meet what the judges have asked for, it won’t win an award.
  • Neglecting areas: Judges will often begin reading an exciting and well put-together executive summary, but when they move on to read the rest of the entry it doesn’t give them the story they were expecting. Don’t put too much focus on one area and neglect others; the full submission is important in telling the story of your work.

Important to remember

Don’t be frightened to enter awards if you’re a smaller company with less budget. The results are not based on budget, clients, company size or name, they are based on innovation, creativity, and amazing work. As long as your entry stands out from the crowd and highlights inspiring work, you’ll win that award. Take a look at some of the award-winning work we’ve completed for our clients here.