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7 tips for writing an award entry that stands out

This image shows a painting of an open mouth on a yellow background, in a graffiti style. It’s being used to give illustrate the idea of shouting loud about your achievements, in the context of this blog about writing award entries.

It’s that time of year again, when awards deadlines that had seemed comfortably distant are suddenly very close indeed. With Legal Business, The Lawyer and Property Week schemes all closing in February or March, marketing teams looking to showcase their firms’ brightest boasts are focused on how best to make their case to awards judges.

We support clients in law, property and many other industries in writing awards entries that cut through, most often resulting in a short listing if not a win. Here are our top tips for putting together a submission that will stand out.

It’s an art, and a science. By this we mean facts and figures matter, of course, but so does the story. Think carefully about the narrative thread of your entry.

Some schemes will have a word count and format that allow you to be more discursive than others, but however brief, tell a compelling story. Create a beginning and an end, and develop a thread that draws the reader on, setting out the challenges you overcame to deliver stellar results.

Once you have an idea of the overarching story, condense your winning achievement into a brief, clear, appealing pitch and present that as early in the submission as the format allows.

Be ruthless, if the pitch does not feel convincing to you, it won’t to the judges either, in which case, this may not be the category for you. Putting together an entry is time consuming, and it is important to be strategic about committing to those where you have the best chance of success.

Close all the loops. In any entry, it is vital to be clear about the initial objectives. Are they relevant to broader business aims? Are they measurable? Will you be able to access the relevant data you need to illustrate your achievements? In the body of the entry, close the loop on all of the objectives stated at the outset by providing evidence that they have been met. To revisit the story-telling theme, in this, as all aspiring novelists are told, you need to ‘show not tell’ what you have delivered.  

Do your homework. Go through the entry criteria with a fine-tooth comb and to the extent that you can, deliver against every single one. If you have a very clear idea at the outset of a project, deal or piece of work that it’s likely to be an awards contender, gather the data you need against the relevant criteria as the work progresses. This can save you time in the long run.

We always advise over, rather than under-estimating the time you will need to put together the information you need. You will need to mine multiple sources (financial reports, client listening, employee surveys, sustainability data). Identify the stakeholders within the organisation who will be conduits in this, and give them a long lead-time to provide what you need.

Don’t assume too much. Judges are knowledgeable, even expert, but it is safer to assume they will not have detailed, technical subject matter information relating to your work. Provide the context they need to understand your achievements. Be succinct, but offer as much relevant detail as possible.  

Let your clients speak for you. One of the most powerful endorsements of your achievements you can provide is direct feedback from clients. Build in first person testimonials that underline the case you make in your entry.  

Be true to your brand. A successful award entry must be presented in clear language, but it must also reflect who you are as a brand, maintaining as much as possible your own tone of voice and personality. Judges have many entries to review, so anything you can do to reinforce your brand is useful.

Don’t miss any opportunities to shine. Most awards schemes allow you to submit supplementary information: links, video, additional documents. As the deadline looms it can be tempting to focus on the main body of the entry, but even though these additional elements can carry less weight, leave yourself time to make the most of them. They are an opportunity to add colour, to provide visual aids that illustrate your case, and tell the judges more about who you are as a business.

Finally, don’t forget the basics. Once complete, review your entry to check you have met the basic criteria – do your examples and evidence fit the time frame specified, have you put a tick against every entry requirement, and kept to the word count?

We have a strong track record crafting award-winning entries. If we can provide useful external writing support to take the pressure off you or your team, then contact or

Don’t let your firm’s work go unrecognised.

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