My awards list demonstrates the breadth of awards open to businesses operating in the built environment and given all the benefits outlined in my previous post, they really should be forming a central part of your marketing strategy.

So, once you have committed to taking part, how can you guarantee getting shortlisted? Here are my top nine tips:

1 – Develop a programme of awards submissions  

Creating a programme of award submissions for the next 12 to 18 months makes sense – which projects, initiatives or innovations do you want to tell everyone about and which awards will do this most effectively. Do your research into categories and the audience of awards – which opportunities best align with your marketing and business development strategies?

2 – Get the buy-in of the client and the project team 

Getting the buy-in of the client and rest of the team is often a part of the process that is overlooked. Make them aware of your submission to pool content, information and photographs, as well as sharing costs if you can. Projects are a collaborative effort, so it makes sense to involve them in any awards submissions you are preparing. You may also want to check whether the client needs to grant any permission for the submission or review the copy and photographs before the deadline.

3 – Understand your organisation’s marketing

As well as promoting the work you have finished, awards are also a good way of building your profile in other sectors, providing the opportunity to meet new clients and make new contacts. Which sectors is your business strong in, and therefore wants to maintain a high profile, and which sectors does your business want to gain more exposure in? Building this into your awards strategy will increase the value.  

4 – Understand the awards you are submitting

Fully understand the award requirements before you start your submission, including what this submission will need and who the previous winners were, as well as who else was shortlisted. Assess whether your organisation or project is a good fit based on this information. Other things to consider are whether the awards have the profile and reach you are looking for, whether there is a fee to enter, and whether you have the time and marketing budget to complete the submission and attend the awards event.

5 – Project, rather than award-led

Select your awards on the basis of the stories you have to tell and the achievements you have made in the past 12 months, rather than your selection being award-led.

6 – Evidence, evidence, evidence

As well as having a good story to tell, this also needs to be supported by compelling evidence in the form of photographs, plans, performance metrics and glowing testimonials from the client team, stakeholders or wider project team. Strong evidence provides a good framework for your submission, as well as providing context and will often reduce the overall word count, because a picture can tell a thousand words.

Has this information been captured as part of the project delivery phase, or will you be scrabbling around for images last minute? If you are not able to easily bring this information together, think carefully about proceeding.

7 – Review all of the questions in advance of starting the submission 

Review all of the questions. Can you answer them all? What are the gaps are how easy will they be to fill? Will you need to work with a range of technical people, or as the awards writer, will you be able to complete most of the submission on your own?

8 – Stick to the word count

Always stick to the word count, but remember, like a bid, the word count is a limit rather than a target, so if you don’t have anything more to say that will add value, just stop writing.

9 – Follow the instructions

This sounds simple enough – but can often catch people out. Particularly look out for how the submission needs to be made (email or portal?), whether there are fees involved (and what they are), and any other requirements you will need to fulfil before your submission is completed.

These are the main points that have stood me in good stead over the years – do you have any more to add? What is your awards strategy for 2020?