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How to win an industry award

How to win an industry award

In my former editorial life, the end of the year was when we started dredging through the bottom of the pond for industry news. When December rolls in, there are very few major corporate announcements with even fewer senior executives available for an interview. So how do you fill the radio silence? Start putting out your Top 10s, put out the features you’ve kept as a spare and come up with even more lists.

This is also when most editors do a call for submissions for their respective awards programmes. Awards are a cost-effective way to push forward your company/individual profile among the industry and to toot your horn with your customers later.

What sets the winners apart? From my experience in launching, managing and also judging awards programmes (sometimes all at the same time!), this is my take on how you can be the one brandishing that large crystal trophy on stage and in front of your peers:

1) Answer the questions. This seems to be a fairly simple task but very often many companies trip up as they’re too busy detailing how great they are and forget to answer the actual questions that the editors are asking.

2) Back up your claims with results, facts and case studies. Trust me, you’re not the only bank that delivers mortgage approvals faster than a speeding bullet nor are you the only service provider that offers interoperability. Back it up with results – what was the % increase to revenue contribution? If you had 1,001% increase in new customers as a result of your new service, say it. But no generic corporate brochures, please.

3) Be specific and to the point. Nothing is more frustrating than when you know a nominee has done well for the year but refuses to give any numbers or details due to confidentiality reasons. Most reputable publications honour a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Make someone responsible sign it and tell them why you really, really deserve to win the award. At the same time, crisp and concise copy always wins the day when you’re going through 500 submissions. Always.

4) Appearances matter. Some awards programmes specify a certain pitch methodology and you have to adhere to it. But be creative with those that don’t. Editors are also visual people by training — does a good magazine just have columns of text or is it well laid-out with graphics, pictures  and pull-out quotes? I rest my case.

And most importantly…
5) Make a submission. My heart weeps when a very good company deserves to win an award but didn’t because no one wanted to spend time with a  submission. List the awards that are relevant to your industry, with high credibility and an audience matches your prospect list. Choose your categories — the popular ones will have the most number of submissions so decide which basket you want to put your eggs in. Pull together your best resources from statistics to case studies to actually writing the submission (Insert our shameless plug here)

Now, all the best with your awards submission! Even if you didn’t make it this round, there’s still a lavish 3-course (or 4- if you’re lucky) dinner  of dried cod and soggy tiramisu to look forward to. Right?

Tags: B2B Marketing, B2C Marketing, Branding

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