For many businesses, nominating yourself for an award can seem like a waste of time. You think people will get the wrong idea of what your business is, and you will come across as…well as a bit of a dick. However, this is not the case.
Are They Worth It?
Winning an award or even being shortlisted is always worth it. Brand mentions in the right place can be a golden ticket and open opportunities for you in completely new areas that you haven’t managed to reach before. Furthermore, they show off your team and highlight their successes, as well as build trust in the public, proving that you are really experts in your business, as well as providing quality PR for your business, including press coverage and quality backlinks.
What Makes An Award Good To Enter?
Before entering an award, do your research. You need to make sure that it is relevant to your company, your target audience, and your staff. Look at awards that are regional and part of your sector.
Be careful of awards where there is a charge to enter. Some of these are not reliable, others are top quality. If you are unsure how to tell, ask a PR expert. You should also look out for awards that you have been nominated for, without any clue why, how, or who nominated you – this is a SPAM.
How To Apply
First thing you need to do is choose the right category for your business. Make sure you read through all the descriptions and that it is the right fit for your company – this could be the difference between getting nominated and being a finalist.
When filling in all the applications, read all the questions thoroughly and answer them all as you would have done in school. Make your point, provide evidence, and explain. Stick to the word count – this is a guideline, only say what is essential. Do not go over it, as the judges won’t want to read it all.
Judging can be a boring experience. There will be lots of applications for them to read, and they will have no idea who you are or why they should care about your business. You need to tell a story and be clear in your answers. Entertain them and wake the judges up.
Leveraging A Shortlisting
Being shortlisted as a finalist is not something to be disappointed about. You will get just as many opportunities for press coverage as the winners do.
You need to take advantage of this, connect with sponsors, judges, and organisers. WORK the awards evening, connect with other nominees and finalists, build your network. Any connections you create, make sure you follow up with them afterwards.
Prepare a speech, because you never know, you may just win, and you don’t want to be caught off guard. Should you win, use the organiser’s PR people to help you maximise all you can (don’t forget about the local press).
Most importantly, ENJOY yourself. It will be an amazing evening, and you will meet a lot of other professionals. (However, please save all heavy drinking for the after party).
There is so much more to awards than an excuse to have a party. They provide multiple opportunities for extra coverage, reaching new audiences that you may not have considered before. Awards are an essential part of your PR strategy and provide evidence of your expertise, as well as boosting morale for your team. Don’t turn your nose up at an award nomination, as it may be that extra push your business needs to get the coverage you want.