Well, 2021 has been interesting…
With some events being cancelled or delayed in 2020 due to a pesky virus, this year’s awards crept up pretty quickly and has been a little longer than previously.
But as the last few major events are soon to pass, it’s about time the channel starts thinking of 2022, and what businesses can do to help their entries outshine their competitors’.
Awards entries are time consuming endeavours, and we all know that time is precious to the channel at the best of times. So, in the interest of saving you time, money and making sure you develop the best entries possible, we’ve collated our top tips and advice, to make writing your 2022 entries that little bit easier.
Channel Awards Season 2021
Given the pandemic, we can only congratulate the streamed events in 2020, which were produced so admirably on such short notice, with lots of extra cost – but were still great nights for those who ‘attended’. It was amazing to see channel operations recreating the electric atmosphere of an award gala in their offices and celebrating their wins together!
2021 has meant we’ve finally been able to get back to in-person events, starting with the Channel Champions garden party, as well as the more recent Comms Business and Comms National Awards. Nothing will ever replace the buzz and excitement of having the best of the channel all under one roof, and I for one am incredibly appreciative that we’ve been able to attend some of these and get back to BAU!
There are still one or two events pencilled in for this year, such as the UC Today Channel Awards – but submissions for 2021 are definitely over now. Which means it’s time for channel business to turn and look to 2022 and how they can enter the best award submissions possible. But first, let’s explore exactly what goes into a successful entry…
We don’t just submit channel-specific awards for our clients!
Get in touch to discover the broad range of events we can support you with
What goes into an award submission?
Award entries are more than simply a well-written application form. They’re the main way your judges are going to get to know your business.
We know because our leadership team has over 50 years combined experience across sales, marketing and leadership roles, in the channel. That means we know your challenges and we also know what sets businesses apart when judges are deciding on their favourite entries!
So, apart from double (and triple) checking for any typos, here are the key features of any successful award entries:
You content needs to be more than ‘we did this’. Think of your submission more like a short story. The best entries will weave-in a narrative and try to provoke an emotional reaction from the judges – even if it’s just a smile!
So, make sure paragraphs are short, easy to read and try not to leave sections with unused space that could be used to add another point as to why you should win the award.
Obviously, word counts come into play here with shorter entries prompting less ‘colour’ in the entry, but it’s so important to use all the word count available, because that extra point you add could be the difference between a finalist spot and not!
While most awards events expect you to submit their template Word doc as the entry, taking your copy and designing it into a slicker, more professional PDF is just one more way you can help make your entry stand out from your competitors’.
PDF is the standard file format we submit for our clients… but if you really want to differentiate yourself you could always try a …
Video Submission (optional)
Some events even suggest you create a short 5-minute video as your award entry, which is a medium that is sorely underused in awards entries. But if you plan well in advance, it provides the foundations of some of the most engaging entries possible – as long as you have the time and resource!
Depending on the category and submission length, important statistics and facts can easily get buried in the body copy, which is why it’s important to pull out the main statistics from your entry and design them into an infographic.
You could dot these throughout the entry to break up large blocks of copy, use them as quick summaries or add as separate supporting material if staying within the word count is becoming a struggle!
Case Study / Testimonials
Just like with your statistics, the experiences and feedback of your customers are important to include in your entries. This may be through a required case study, or smaller testimonials that you could scatter through your entry, to support certain points you’re making.
Our Awards Retainer includes managing and delivering every aspect of your award…
As well as pre- and post-marketing, to get the best possible ROI
Start preparing now
The best entries, just like any content your business creates, is best accomplished with plenty of time to conceive, write and finesse the submission before the dreaded deadline. If you want to give yourself the best chances of winning, these activities will help you get a head start:
No one can complain about numbers, they’re cold hard facts after all. And judges love a business that really listens to their customers, so start thinking about the questions you could ask as part of a customer survey.
You can then use the results of your survey to back-up points about the level of support and low churn rates, proving just how passionate your business is about great customer service.
Find a case study
Case studies are a perfect way to show the efficacy of your products and the quality of your customer service. Some events and specific categories (especially broader ‘reseller of the year’-type entries) even require them as part of the submission.
Planning early means you’ve got the time to either identify a recently completed project or one coming in the near future to include, to thoroughly document the process, as well as all the key stages through the implementation and post-sale service, so you have the most content to pull from when writing the case study.
Think of your wider operation
While categories can be very specific to a certain aspect of your operation, there are usually plenty of opportunities to give examples of why your business generally stands out from the competition.
This is the perfect opportunity to let them know about your wider community outreach. It may be community support, charity fundraising, environmentally friendly policies or your passion for training apprentices… But whatever category you enter, make sure you let them know about your passions, how you go above and beyond, and what differentiates you from your competitors.
Haven’t got the time to write your own case study?
Don’t worry… We’ll do it all for you as part of our Awards Retainer!
Making the most of your marketing opportunities
Winning an award, while the preferred outcome, isn’t the only way to attract new leads through your awards submission. There are multiple ways you can use your entry to help drive new leads your way. These include:
Whether sponsoring the entire events, a specific category, or even some aspect of the event itself, sponsorships give your brand visibility across the website, event programmes and more, to help build your corporate image.
If you’ve had to create a case study for your submission, it makes sense to re-use that content in your wider marketing. Especially when incorporated into an automated workflow for your prospects, case studies are a great way to prove your quality and get your leads over the line.
If your fellow finalists happen to also be target prospects, one great way to negate any competitive frustration is to send your competition a small gift or discount on your services. This acts as a great informal introduction and has proven a powerful networking tool with our clients!
Depending on the specific event, you may have the opportunity to wax lyrical about your entry as part of an advertorial in trade press. These are usually reserved to category winners, but with an extra avenue to promote a win, even if it only attracts one new customer, the ROI is certainly worth it!
Probably the most under- and over-leveraged promotional method for events is certainly social media – we’ve all seen the posts the day after finalist announcements, where LinkedIn is full of ‘finalist’ images… And of course, if you do win, it’s definitely worth sharing that news over your social channels!
Though, we’d always recommend creating more visually striking images than the typical ‘finalist’ panel, and make sure to create posts for before and after the awards to get the most traction!
Picking the right category is almost as important as the content itself…
One that resonates with you, your target market and the judges… We can help you pick the right categories to get your business noticed!
Here at Blabbermouth marketing, we fully understand that time and resource is precious. Your team need to focus on the day-to-day of your operations and don’t always have time to create engaging award entries.
No matter your size or scope, we can help you explore which events are right for your target market, which categories are right for your products and services, as well as identify the anecdotes, figures and quotes that will separate your submission from the competition.
So, get in touch today and we’ll let you know just how easy it is, working with Blabbermouth to develop the 2022 Awards entries that get your business noticed!