Writing Winning Business Awards Submittals

There is no second place in transaction-driven industries like commercial real estate and financial services; either you win the deal, or you don’t.  The same is true for winning business community and industry association awards:  either your submittal is recognized as a winner, or it’s not.

Awards can play a pivotal role in a B2B public relations program, providing highly targeted recognition within your industry community.  For example, winning a CoreNet Global award is highly respected within the corporate real estate community, providing both a news event and perhaps more importantly, independent recognition of industry leadership.

Properly articulating accomplishments is critical to bringing home these highly coveted business community awards.

To that end, here are some tips for writing a winning business awards submittal:

  • Plan ahead.  Most awards are annual, so at the beginning of the awards timeframe, assign responsibility for making sure that activities are properly documented and information is collected to provide hard facts and strong numbers to include in the award submittal when the time comes.
  • Deadlines and guidelines can make it or break it.  Understand the process, know and play by the rules—which can be bizarrely complex—and keep in the loop with the organizers of the award.  When important deadlines are met well in advance, scrambling for data is minimized and you’ll have time for the editing necessary to make your proposal the best it can be.
  • Know your competition, know the history.  Learn what works from past winners by reading the coverage of past winners, and by analyzing what the judges said made them stand apart.
  • Numbers matter; take time to make them the strongest possible.   Business is about the numbers—no amount of fancy writing will get around that.  Take the time to make your strongest case, by talking to all the appropriate dealmakers and professionals “in the trenches.”  Research and brainstorm how your accomplishments can be best positioned, and triple-check with senior leaders to make sure you’re not missing any data points that could help make your case.  Look for ways to quantify business results that may be articulated in less tangible ways—that can really sway judges, and differentiate your submittal from the competition
  • Write well.  Obvious?  Perhaps.  But if you talk to judges of business awards competitions, you’d be surprised how much rambling prose, run-on sentences and bad grammar make it into final submittals.  Judges are largely volunteers, so be concise, and don’t waste their time.  State your case clearly and with a strong stake in the ground.  If you don’t have one on staff or retainer, you might consider hiring a professional writer to augment the business team.
  • Worth 1,000 words:  use photos.  If the format of the awards submittal allows, use photographs and graphics to illustrate the points you make in the written proposal.  Pictures bring business cases to life—use their power wherever you can.

Winning an award can contribute significant value to a marketing, B2B public relations or membership development program, as it provides third-party endorsement and proof points for the program as a whole.

May the best submittal win… good luck!

To contact Margy Sweeney:

Phone:  312-252-7314
Email: margy@blisspr.com
Twitter: @margysweeney
LinkedIn: Margy Sweeney