Nov 1

Tips for writing effective award nominations

group of coworkers holding award a ceremony

At Sabo PR, we’re fortunate to have a long list of incredible clients who do amazing work. Whether promoting an individual, service or product, it’s our job to make sure hard work does not go unnoticed.

In addition to media outreach, posting on social media and crafting messaging to stakeholders and customers, awards nominations are a great way to continue promoting the work of our clients and can generate a second wave of publicity.

There are a lot of awards out there, and if you are new to the process, getting started can feel overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you work successfully through the award nomination process.

Do your homework

Before you begin writing nominations, do some research to determine which awards are the best fit for your brand, within your budget and attainable. Research each award’s nomination process and what information is required. Some awards may require answering several essay questions, so you’ll want to be sure you can craft strong answers for all of them. Awards also may require submitting sensitive company information such as financial records. Be sure your team is comfortable with this, too.

After you have reviewed each award’s criteria, look at previous winners to help you get an idea of what judges are looking for in a winning nomination and what type of organizations often win. For example, if you are a small nonprofit, you may look at an award’s criteria and think you check all the boxes for a successful nomination, but if all or most of the previous winners are large corporations, you may want to look elsewhere. Instead, prioritize awards that are more local or cater to specific organization sizes and sectors.

Be succinct

Many awards require a detailed background of the individual, service or product being nominated for judges to have all the information they need to make an informed decision. It may seem like you are required to do a lot of additional writing, but many awards have word count limits, and you would be surprised how quickly you can reach them.

On the flip side, some questions may require very short answers that sum up the nomination in just a few words. While this can be a challenge, keep in mind judges have a lot of nominations to review, so it’s your job to make sure your nomination stands out from the clutter. For either scenario, determine what core details are most important, then add secondary information sparingly.

Submit early

If you can find an award that is both a good fit and free to enter, that’s great. However, many awards require an entry fee.

Since you will have already determined your budget, find out if early bird rates are available and take advantage of them. Saving a couple hundred dollars per award by submitting early can add up quickly and could even save you enough money to submit a nomination for another award. This can also buy you time for any unexpected delays, such as last-minute projects that come up. It also gives you time to edit your nomination or resolve other snags that may occur during the process.

Avoid copying and pasting

Every award is different, so it’s important to ensure your nomination is tailored to the specific criteria. Avoid submitting multiple nominations using the exact same language, even if awards seem similar.

This is not to say you need to start from scratch with each nomination. It’s OK to use some language from previous awards. In fact, you should keep the core language of the nomination consistent. However, judges will likely be able to sense you did not take the time to thoroughly answer questions and simply copied and pasted from previous work. Even small tweaks such as echoing terms in the criteria can be a nice touch.

Submitting award nominations may not always be a top priority of your communication plan each year, but awards can be a great way to earn additional recognition and serve as a second wave of publicity. While well-known awards are great, and should be considered, it’s important to research and find awards that are the right fit for your organization.

And remember, there is a story behind every organization. Use an award opportunity to further tell people about your organization’s story and the great work it does.

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