29 Jan How to win awards and why they’re good for business
We know what you’re thinking… business awards take time and money so as a small business why bother? But at NetworkIN we have seen first-hand the benefits entering has brought to our members, so we approached public relations specialist Kerryanne Clancy of Team Sandbach to share some hints and tips on what you need to do.
First, let’s dispel the myth that business awards are only relevant to big businesses. There are awards for small business, some of which specifically champion start-ups for example. Many of them don’t charge an entry fee BUT yes, it does take time to complete a successful entry.
However, the process gets easier the more you do it, as half the battle is pulling the relevant information together and once that’s done – it’s done.
But why bother right?
Researching, selecting, and writing business award entries often forms part of a public relations strategy. This is because winning awards can do far more than simply boost morale, it can raise your business profile, increase your credibility in the eyes of your customers, and help you leverage social/traditional media coverage and sponsorship opportunities.
Often, simply the process of putting an award application together is an eye-opener for businesses. Business award entries provide an opportunity to benchmark yourself against your peers, they make you take stock of your successes, and give focus to where your business has been and where it’s going next.
And of course, if you’re successful the exposure can increase your credibility placing you above your competition and make someone more likely to buy from you. It’s another form of third-party endorsement, just like customer testimonials and media coverage. They are proof that you’re good at what you do.
Award winners can publish their win/awards logos on all their marketing materials, email signatures and social media, and let’s not forget – some business awards offer a cash prize up to £25,000!
Awards ceremonies also offer impressive networking opportunities. There can be many potential customers in the room, together with sponsorship opportunities which will put you in front of prospective clients.
Ready to throw your hat in the ring? Here are some simple but crucial tips…
- Stay in the same tense & person and keep to the same font and font size throughout your award entry
- Get at least 1 other person to review your entry for typos, grammar errors, missing or repeated content
- Include hard evidence of your relevant business successes. Examples could include % growth, profit, turnover, staffing levels, testimonials, new products or services, marketing strategies and successes
- Enter an award before reviewing what your key business successes are, otherwise you’ll be fitting a square peg into a round hole – and fail to make the shortlist
- Cut and paste your content – tailor your application content to the criteria asked for in each award category (remember, one judge could be overseeing several award categories)
- Forget to check and stick to submission rules e.g., maximum wordcounts, whether attachment documents are allowed or imagery/graphics within the application – and the submission deadline!
What to enter?
The main things to consider are what awards/award titles would your customers value? What awards do your competitors have? What do you want a successful entry to achieve for your business e.g., a cash prize boost, social media/press exposure, or to raise staff morale through recognition of their work?
Tip: don’t be afraid to think out of the box a little when considering which business awards to enter. For example, The Sentinel business awards are inundated for entries in the Small Business category, but the business innovation and international trade categories receive less entries. If you have a niche, then use it.
Some business awards to consider:
- Chamber Awards – national and regional in East Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire and South Cheshire, North East Cheshire, East Cheshire
- The Queen’s Award for Enterprise – highly prestigious and recognises innovation, international trade, sustainable development and social mobility
- Regional Awards – e.g., Sentinel Business Awards (closing date Feb 23), Lancashire Red Rose Awards, The Greater Manchester Business Awards, Cheshire Life Keep Life Local Awards The Bolton News Business Awards
- Small Business Awards & Trade Awards – British Small Business Awards, The British Mortgage Awards, The UK Broker Awards, the UK VA Awards, the UK IT Industry Awards
Need some help?
Crafting an award entry likely to make the shortlist takes time, practice, a good level of literacy, and an ability to drill down to extract the key facts and evidence the judges want to see.
Among the advocates at NetworkIN we have several copywriters and proofreaders who could help, including: