The Oscars and Grammys aren’t the only events to look forward to this awards season. In the business world, companies are gearing up to submit their best products, services and executives to compete for industry awards. Simply applying to awards programs can raise awareness for your organization and its services or products in a unique way. Winning awards, on the other hand, establishes better brand credibility, boosts employee morale and positions your company as a leader in its industry.
It’s clear that organizations reap plenty of benefits from entering awards, but drafting award submissions requires in-depth research and quality writing – a lengthy process that many in-house marketing teams might not have the bandwidth for. That’s why many companies turn to PR agencies to identify relevant award opportunities, write proposals and manage the submission process. Here are some best practices for becoming an award-winning company in 2016:
- Determine your budget. While you can enter many awards programs for free, some have entry fees. For this reason, you may want to allocate funds towards awards you think are worth the investment.
- Research and identify opportunities well in advance. Finding the right awards is arguably the most difficult and time consuming aspect of entering awards programs. A simple Google search isn’t enough to lock down the best awards in your industry. Cross-referencing the awards your competitors have won is a great way to target your research. For example, if want company-wide recognition, consider the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies or Best and Brightest awards. If your CEO exhibits an entrepreneurial spirit, consider programs like the Entrepreneur of the Year or the Stevie Business Awards. Since programs are scattered throughout the year, creating an excel spreadsheet calendar can help keep deadlines on your radar.
- Give yourself plenty of time to complete the award submission. Rushing through the submission process can compromise your chances of winning the award. To prevent scrambling to complete the application, start at least two to three weeks before the deadline. Some will even warn you of how long it typically takes to complete the application, so make sure to pay attention to this estimate. Most awards programs are sticklers for the due dates – meaning you likely won’t be granted an extension if you don’t submit your application by the deadline.
- Show why your organization deserves to win. The writing portion is where you need to convince judges that you’re a top contender for the award. Clear, concise and compelling writing must be used here to win over the judges’ support. If you’re able to tie in relevant company and individual accomplishments like recent speaking engagements or employee retention rates, go for it – weaving in these achievements conveys your eagerness and determination as an applicant. It’s more ok to humbly brag about your company and employees in the submission process.
- Promote participation in award programs. If the awards are based on votes rather than a panel of judges, engage your online community to help you win. You can use a variety of tactics to pull votes including social media messages, blog posts and email blasts.
This could be a landmark year in winning awards that validate your company’s offerings and boost performance. But you won’t reap those benefits without a proactive awards solicitation plan in place. Armed with the proper resources and PR pros, you’ll be ready to tackle the 2016 awards season.
Planning on boosting your award entries in 2016? Check out our approach to nominating your products, services and executives for prestigious awards!