As the buzz of the Oscars begins to die down for another year, here at JPES our attention has also been on awards recently. Last week, our content consultant, David Butcher, presented his thoughts to the team on what makes a compelling award submission.

As a judge for a number of lauded industry awards, and therefore the reader of dozens of entries every year, it was invaluable to hear from David directly on what goes through their minds, as they pore over submissions.

Some of his thoughts you can read about in David’s own article about awards writing, ‘How to win an award’; but there were several insights that really got us talking.

1)      Tell a story

Writing awards is not that different to media relations; it’s about telling a compelling story in which a problem has been solved. Think about how you helped your end-clients whose futures ultimately depend on the decisions you make. And back up your story with evidence. Numbers matter and they are a crucial part of the story – if you can’t provide the data, this will count against you.

2)      The emotional toll

It’s more about winning the emotional battle than you think. We’ve all had to wade through tomes of information; and we know when something bores us. Put yourself in the shoes of the judge and ask whether you would want to read your own submission; if the answer is no, the chances are high that they won’t want to either.

3)      Answer the question

This may seem an obvious point; but you would be surprised at how many awards entries simply don’t answer the questions being posed. Some are even a clear copy and paste from content that already exists on the website. If you can’t, or won’t, answer the questions being asked, then now is probably not your time.