Seven tips to winning awards

Entering an award can do fantastic things for your business and your staff. Awards offer a great chance to size up the competition and get some well-earned recognition for your team's hard work.

If you're considering entering an award, whether it's your first time or your 25th, some insider knowledge can go a long way.

When you enter an award, your campaign (your pride and joy!) will go under intense scrutiny by a panel of seasoned judges and be compared to hundreds of equally awesome campaigns. So to get the judges excited, you'll need more than just a brilliant campaign – your award entry and case study need to be equally impressive.

With the AMY Awards around the corner and entries closing soon, make sure you have a real shot at taking out the big gong – before you enter, check out our seven tips to winning awards.

1, Is your work really in with a shot?

Let's face it, we all think our work is the best thing going. However, to get the judges to share your point of view can be trickier than you think. To be on the safe side, take a look at the work that won last year, and the year before that. Look at the categories you're going to enter and ask yourself the question, is my work of that standard? If you find yourself wavering, then maybe it's not.

2, Treat your entry like a new brief

Your award entry is like a brief: It's job is to persuade the judges that...
So, pull a team together, compile your facts, put together your award board or case study and follow the timeline to get it into the award show on time. The later you leave it the more chance that the entry is not fully formed: It's full of typos, the video doesn't work, and ultimately, you don't give your work its best shot.

3, Structure your argument

Every award show has a similar structure to follow. To help the judges, the best thing is not to deviate from that structure. (You would be surprised at how many do.) Most follow this format: The objective, target audience, strategy, creative solution and results. Look at each section and carefully construct your case. Less is always more. Pull out points and bullet points help. Can the judge quickly scan your entry and understand what you are saying? If not, time to relook at the entry.

4, Frame your results

To prove your work's effectiveness, clearly state your results. Show the objectives you were set and how the results line up with those objectives exactly.

5, Remember who is reading this

Judges love seeing new work. However, if you have four categories to judge and 50 entries in each, it can often take a couple of days to give every entry the time they deserve. The judge isn't there to try and figure out why your work was good; they are there to see if it is better than the other entries. So, imagine your judge has already read 70 entries – make sure your entry is fresh, interesting and has something that sticks in the judge's mind.

6, Don't be dull or use clichés

'Time poor'. 'Cultural currency'. 'Content lead'. Judges hate buzzword bingo. These empty words explain nothing and begin to wear fairly thin as they pop up in entry after entry. Think about words that drive your entry forward and add context to the point you are trying to make, not just those that are of-the-moment.

7, Put luck on your side.

A tight argument and great work will give you the best shot. However, judging over a couple of days is a funny thing. Work that on day one could have been thought to be the best often falls away as a new challenger attives. The reason for the challenger? Usually the entry form. Judges often go back again and again to validate their viewpoint, if you can find facts quickly, tell the story in a snappy soundbite and have results that line up, you put luck on your side.


How to Win an Award Course

Learn the ingredients of successful award entries in a two-hour session led by a veteran marketer and judge (and seasoned award winner) Dylan Taylor. $199 for AIMIA Members: Enroll here. Use code IQHTWAAAIMIA