Let’s face it, writing an award-worthy entry is challenging at best. That’s because many of us don’t quite know where to begin or what makes for an “award-worthy” entry. Based on my experience in judging awards – as well as actual feedback from other judges – I’ve created a simple checklist of a few important criteria for applicants to consider while writing their entry.
1. Answer every question on the entry form
Please be certain to respond to all the questions! Sometimes we see a great idea, but no back up information on results. Or lots of information about results, but little about the objective or idea. Tell a distinct story, make sure the submission is clearly presented, accurate and answers the criteria is key.
2. Objectives and outcomes are critical
Judges read objectives and outcomes first. Everything else is detail. Generating buzz and creating awareness aren’t objectives. List specific, measurable, and relevant objectives. Circulation, readership, advertising value equivalent and earned media value aren’t valid metrics. Neither are likes or shares. Follow the AMEC framework.
3. Challenge what is known as best practice
Brands that have the ability to create innovation and challenge what is known as best practice, will always stand out in the competition. If your entry demonstrates this with clarity, you stand a winning chance.
4. Focus on tangible impact and effectiveness
It sounds incredibly obvious, but confusing media metrics with business results is very common in award submissions. 1,00,000 impressions or “the target audience was buzzing with excitement” are not results. Showcase tangible ways the work being submitted has turned creativity into action, to impact the lives of employees, customers, or any other stakeholder. That’s what the jury looks for.
5. Visuals are welcome
People retain 80% of what they see and only 20% of what they read. Judges read a good number of entries, so a visual entry is always very welcome. Choose the most interesting visuals that enhance or complement your narrative. It doesn't need to be an expensive film, just something to help the jury understand the scope and context quickly. A showreel, a pdf presentation or even a quirky cartoon strip would do well.
Make sure you spell your name, and your company name, correctly. Do a proper grammar and punctuation check. Last but not the least, get at least two people to proof your entry. Yes, it really works. If they can’t make sense of your entry, rework it until they can. If they get it and are wowed, you are on to something!