By Paula Wynne, The Remote Worker Awards.
After becoming an award-winning businesswoman, Paula Wynne (organizer of The Remote Worker Awards, in association with BT Business) is often asked to share her experiences and has inspired many people to enter awards and has seen them go on to win a fantastic range of awards. Here Paula shows how you can win awards and use it as a highly effective PR tool for your business.
Awards as a PR Tool
Entering and being a finalist or winning in a business awards campaign is an excellent way of gaining PR as well as recognition and credibility for your business. This takes time to perfect and before you do anything you need to identify which awards are most likely to benefit your business. If you’re good at copywriting your award entry will stand out from the crowd. If not, get a friend or colleague to help you.
Benefits of Winning
As well as being a great way to gain PR for your business, there are other benefits to entering awards:
* Pride, immense satisfaction and motivation
* Huge boost in confidence and morale
* Helps to scrutinise evaluate your business
* Impresses our customers, clients and colleagues
* Increases your credibility
* Helps to improve your services
* Recognition of your hard work
* Demonstrates your passion and belief
* Strengthens your market positioning
* Gain publicity and new marketing opportunity
* Endorses your innovative business idea
You can’t win if you don’t enter! Research and do your homework. There are 1000s of business awards you can enter so start with free entry Awards and take time to explore them before deciding which to enter.
Choose wisely; pick the awards that will give you the best chance of winning and choose relevant and specific awards to your industry, business and subjects that will show your passion.
Find Awards that provide helpful extra questions and guidance, and read all the details carefully to find out what the judges are looking for.
Record all the awards you may want to enter on a wall year planner above your desk and when the time of year comes around take time out, when you’re not rushed, to examine the rules, the questions, the judging criteria and even look at all the judges bios. If you find one that has already passed the deadline closing date, add it to your year planner and remember to enter next year.
Remote Worker Awards: www.remoteworkerawards.com
Boost Marketing: www.boost-marketing.co.uk
Awards Intelligence: www.awardsintelligence.co.uk
Tailor Your Entry
1. Refine your entry to the specific award
2. Be open about your strengths
3. Illustrate this to the judges
4. Some entries require you to be nominated, ask a valued friend or colleague to enter on your behalf
5. If necessary, hold off until the following year to strengthen your chances of being a finalist and entering
6. Prove your claim - you must be able to show why you are the best
7. Plan your answers - answer every question by writing down your thoughts and keep coming back to them over the coming days to ensure you have captured all your best responses
8. Demonstrate your entry - illustrate with graphs, market trends and even PR clippings
9. Once your entry is complete, mull over it for a few days before submission - go back to it a few times with new thoughts and inspiration
10. Good entry content and quality entries impress judges so write in clear, simple yet professional business language and preferably in third person. If your strengths don’t lie in writing good copy, you really should get someone to lend a hand. Write down all your notes, thoughts and ideas and when you have a first draft get a friend or colleague to assist in drafting the final entry.
Vital to your success is assessing what the judges are looking for in a winner. Put yourself in the judge’s shoes and see your entry as they would.
You may think your business is wonderful, but why would they? By looking at it from a new perspective you will present them with a champion entry. The judges need to set apart your entry from all the others, so, in order to stand out from the crowd, find creative ways to answer the questions.
Many Awards will want to know about your sales and business growth, ROI, competitors and even future expansion. Provide graphs and key performance indicators to strengthen your application.
Inject your passion and personality into your entry by highlighting any challenges, successes, inspiration and ambitions. Above all, you should be able to demonstrate why your product or service is the best thing since peanut butter.
Be proud to show off your business success, even if it is only a micro or small business, shout if from the rooftops. Someone will hear!
Shout About It
Be positive and prepare to make the most of your win. If you’re chosen as a finalist, be bold enough to write a press release about your Award and send it to the media. Local, regional, national and specialist industry publications will want to hear about your success. Wherever you can, get clients, customers and link partners to feature your story. Be proud to show off Award in all your marketing, on your website, and in communication with your customers and clients.
When Paula delivers a workshop on the subject or speaks at seminars, she has so many people coming back and telling her how they have used their win to increase credibility and trust, get recognition for new products, built new network connections and even increased turnover. An award-winning business is something to shout about!
Awards Dos and Don'ts
* Research and homework
* Copy the questions to your PC
* Think long and hard about the answers
* Consider ones that will enhance your objectives
* Highlight your USPs
* Show your industry expertise
* You have to prove to the judges that you’re the best entry
* The more you enter the greater your chances of winning
* Your confidence will grow with each entry
* Understanding what the award is all about
* Decide what the judges are looking for is vital to success
* Copies for proof of claim are often given as an option.
* Take the plunge and send in your best entry.
X Don’t try and impress them with jargon and techie terms that could well put them off
X Don’t sit by and think you don’t stand a chance in hell and then leave it for another time. Take a risk, make the most of it and you may get lucky.
X Don’t ramble - judges won’t tolerate rambling paragraphs with no focus.
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