The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

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How to write a killer award entry

By Katie Mulligan, account manager

March 15, 2016 | 4 min read

Some cynics might suggest that awards aren’t worth the hassle but as long as the entry is given every chance internally, we disagree.

Katie Mulligan is an account manager at The Future Factory.

Katie Mulligan is an account manager at The Future Factory.

Aside from making a wonderful addition to any office shelf, the process of applying for an award and the contacts it brings - not to mention the feedback you receive - can be truly invaluable to any agency. And, of course, the “award-winning” prefix is a pretty good one to have, so we’ve put together a list of 5 things to consider when entering awards:

Dedicate the time required

If you have a piece of potentially award-winning work, put a similar amount of effort into the entry as you did the work itself. Don’t let work on the entry be constantly shuffled to the bottom of your ‘to do’ list. Allocate and ring-fence the time you need to prepare the entry properly.

Involve the team

Make this a team endeavour by creating a competition that asks everyone to come up with an idea of how to present the application. By incentivising, and including the wider team, it encourages everyone to get behind the process. Get as many eyes on your entry as possible and utilise your team’s creative talent! For example, if you have a talented copywriter in-house, make sure they’re tasked with the writing elements. Have your designer beautify the entry and ensure that at least two members of your senior team have the chance to review the entry before it is submitted.

Choose wisely

Every award entry will be judged against a list of specified criteria. Consider these criteria carefully before selecting the work you want to enter. Be objective, rather than simply choosing the projects that are your personal favourites. Also, learn from any previous unsuccessful award entries. If you managed to get some feedback from the judges, it makes sense to use that to strengthen your current entry, so be selective about the projects you choose to highlight.

It’s all in the detail

All essential information must be provided, and don’t be afraid to provide further data if your own analysis isn’t enough. This is your starting point! A judge is looking for tangible results, so it’s important to provide the proof of the impact of the campaign, while still building a warm, human story around that. It’s just like a dating profile; height, age and photo are all basic necessities, but we also want to know about that time you came first in the Harry Potter quiz.

Edit ruthlessly!

Judges are sure to be busy people and will appreciate a concise, well-structured entry that still maintains a human tone. Feel free to include photos and infographics.

You won’t win every award you enter, and at times you may well question if all the blood, sweat and tears are worth it. Treat any setbacks you have as an opportunity to look at the process you took to enter the awards and identify areas of improvement for the future.

Agency awards are a competitive business but if you can take onboard a few of the tips above, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance to take home the silverware and gain the most from the experience, even if you don’t. The Future Factory’s 2016 Awards Calendar collates the entry deadlines for the year’s major marketing awards – take a look for yourself.

Katie Mulligan is an account manager at The Future Factory.


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