It’s September and we’re starting on the build-up to the prestigious Global Mobile Awards! I’m very happy to have been asked to be a judge again. But that is quickly followed by the realisation that I’ve signed up for a whole heap of work. In my own self-interest here are my top tips on how to write a better award entry. Good luck!
- Less is more. Get to the point, cut out the adjectives (this is an awards submission not a press release) and make your language as clear as possible. Cut long sentences in two. Overlong entries are boring to read and just show us that you don’t really understand your USP. Don’t assume judges understand obscure acronyms, but then don’t think you have to explain 5G to us (these are mobile industry awards, after all). Use discernment in terms of what you explain and what you don’t.
- The format is your friend – follow it. We have a marking scheme to follow, which means every (scoring) section has points allotted to it. So if you don’t make good use of each section you could be throwing points away.
- Back up with evidence. We can only judge you on facts, not on marketing hype or wishful dreams. Telling us what you hope to happen in the future isn’t as impressive as what you’ve got now. (A bird in the hand, and all that…) If you have no evidence then have a long think about this – is it too early for you to submit this case study? Maybe you should try next year when you have facts to back up your entry and a better chance of winning. “We successfully launched 5G” is always going to be trumped by “We successfully launched 5G and now have 10 million customers using it, resulting in £1 billion of additional revenue per year.”
- Run it past a non-expert. Get a junior or someone who doesn’t understand what you do. Ask them to read your submission and then ask them if they understand it. If they say yes, get them to explain back to you what the key points are. Do they match up to what you thought you were saying? Key learning point here is that you may be so immersed in what you’re doing that you assume you are explaining everything clearly when you’re not.
- Buy a highlighter pen. Yes I’m old fashioned. But the human eye sometimes misses mistakes on the screen and sees them differently. If this is such an important exercise, print out the copy and check it. Proofread for basic errors. Do you know how many entries are badly written with poor punctuation and basic errors? Do you think this shows you to be a well-run, professional company? If you wouldn’t let a press release out in that state then why are you letting an awards submission out? I give some leeway to companies from countries where English is not their first language, but the shocking thing is we find entries littered with errors where English is the first language. Shame on you! Next, go through with that highlighter pen and highlight the most important points you are trying to make. Are they clear? Do they stand out? Have you missed anything?
- Think of the judges. We have dozens of entries to read. While you’re sitting down to your turkey over Christmas, the long-suffering judges will be reading about connected screwdrivers. Have a heart. Imagine how we feel when we say no to that after-dinner sherry, because we need to understand why connecting cows to the internet is such a big thing, only to discover that someone has written War and Peace with scarcely a comma or a full stop to give us pause. Get to the point quickly. Tell us why your submission is different to what has gone before. Dazzle us with your amazing stats that prove how great it is (don’t use adjectives, let the numbers do the talking). Grab our attention in the first three sentences. Don’t drive us to drink.
- Enthusiasm and passion come across. Here’s a little challenge for you: without using too many adjectives, show us that you really understand your market and are passionate about changing it for the better. Too many entries are boring and full of corporate-speak. You can tell the person who wrote them is just doing a competent job in order to tick it off their to-do list. This is the GloMo’s – glow! Show your passion for mobile and what it can do.
Good luck to everyone and I look forward to reading your (improved) submissions. In October we’re doing analyst Q&As with customers and PR companies. If you’d like us to explain to your staff what a better submission looks like, please email our MD who will be happy to set up a session for you.