Business awards may seem deadly dull to an outsider, but in fact they can be as exciting as the Oscars. Well, almost. Awards events are great fun to attend. Dusting off the black tie or dashing out to purchase a new sparkly frock (depending on your persuasion), sipping fizz and hopefully having your moment in the spotlight….
But what if you don’t have time to write the submission? Do you then employ someone to do it for you?
I learnt the art (and it is an art) of writing business awards submissions as in-house PR Exec for Nu-Heat. My first success was at a local event, where we picked up Small Business of the Year. I’d told my boss we didn’t have much hope of winning (what a rubbish PR Exec!) so we were woefully unprepared when we did. On then to the inaugural Heat Pump Awards – oh the glamour – where the company won both categories we entered for. There was much drinking of tequila and dubious dancing in a very seedy Birmingham nightclub that night – and a few sore heads in the morning.
When I returned to the world of freelancing, an agency asked me to write submissions for a number of clients for a variety of awards events. For weeks on end I was in client meetings, gathering information, working on drafts and rewrites, and badgering people for supporting information and photos. Happily the clients were all shortlisted in the various awards and a number went on to collect their ‘gongs’ (I think one of them even bought me a drink to say thank you).
This does all beggar the question about the relevance of awards. Search online and you’ll find professional agencies whose only job is to write awards submissions – and I’m sure they charge a pretty penny to do so. Doesn’t this rather detract from the point of an award?
When I work on awards submissions, I love to get under the skin of a business by visiting them and talking with customers and employees – I work really hard to give a true picture of their culture and successes.
At the end of the day, although having a professional writer can be good, a PR heavy submission won’t win the day. The judges need to see that the entry is genuine and from the heart. And therein lies the art of writing a submission – make it real.
The benefit to a business of winning an award is a little kudos and some great publicity – customers like to hear about awards successes. Employees, too, are often motivated when their company wins an award – especially when the boss treats them to bucket-loads of cakes in recognition of the win (guess who suggested that).