Top tips for writing construction awards, to guarantee shortlisting

Top tips for writing construction awards, to guarantee shortlisting

It’s awards season again in the built environment. Time to take stock of the achievements of the past 12 months and write compelling submissions to get shortlisted and hopefully win. Here is an ongoing list of construction and built environment awards you may wish to enter.

Awards are a key part of the built environment communications strategy for any organisation working in the sector. They provide an excellent opportunity to showcase talent and innovation, and shortlisting gives validation and benchmarking against competitors. Shortlisting alone has a lot of PR value and can be used in case studies and other collateral, such as web and tweets. Winning categories amplifies this value. The pinnacle of awards is of course attending the event, taking team members and client representatives to network and ‘be seen’ in a sparkly environment.  

So, follow my top tips to guarantee being shortlisted.

#1 – Obtain the buy-in of the client and the project team  

Finally, get the buy-in of the client and the rest of the project team. Make them aware of what you are doing and if you can share the load, so much the better!

#2 – Understand your organisation’s marketing 

Understand your organisation’s marketing and business development strategy. In which sectors does it want to raise its profile or win new business? Select awards on the basis of gaining exposure in these specific sectors.

#3 – Understand the awards you are submitting for 

Do some research into previous winners and shortlisters and assess whether your organisation, project or product is a good fit. Do the awards have the profile and reach you are looking for? Is there a fee to enter? Will you have the time and marketing budget to attend the awards ceremony?

#4 – Project, rather than award-led 

Award submissions need to be project-led, rather than award-led.

  • Select categories on the basis of having compelling stories to tell, which are supported with strong evidence.
  • Statistics, photos and glowing testimonials from clients and other project team members all constitute strong evidence.
  • Evidence also provides a strong framework and context for your entry and will often reduce the word count.
  • If you can’t pull this information together, consider carefully the value in proceeding.

#5 – Review all of the questions in advance of starting the submission  

Review all of the questions. Can you answer them all properly and concisely? Don’t risk the submission by fudging some of the answers. Judges can’t be fudged!

#6 – Respect the wordcount  

Don’t ignore or disregard the specified word count. Be targeted, focussed and concise in your response. If you are struggling with this, ask a professional writer to review and edit for you. They can magically turn ten words into one, without losing the technical meaning.

#7 – Review process   

Build time into the process for proof-reading, double-checking and making any necessary amends. Although typos are a fact of life, they won’t win you any points or enhance your reputation with the judging panel.

I have been writing construction and built environment awards submissions for 12 years. If you would like to chat through any submissions you are thinking of, please get in touch.