Iknowho Know How; writing a finalist worthy award entry

Beth Price


Award entries are the bane of most companies life.   The accolades (and let’s face it, the party) are fantastic but it’s a lot of work to get there, and that’s after all the hard work to even believe you are eligible!

Last year iknowho was the Founding Sponsor of the AdNews People & Culture Award at the Agency of the Year Awards.  Our Director, Dene was a judge and has since been asked a number of times “what makes a great entry stand out”.  There are a couple of components to the answer for this question;

  1. Content is King!  You need to have the goods
  2. Structure & Quality Writing

We have also been active in the Recruitment Industry awards recently and have had to face the task ourselves.  We have a small but successful strike rate over the last 12 months with 3 awards entered and 3 finalists positions announced!

I thought you might find these insights into how we go about writing an eye-catching entry interesting!​

Here are our top 5 tips for writing a stellar award entry;

Focus on Content

We started by looking at the award categories over 12 months ago to see what the criteria were to be considered.  For the award categories that felt right for us, that amplified our brand and offering rather than provided the opportunity of award win for the sake of it, we decided to focus our efforts on building best practice with initiatives we already had in place and introducing new ones.  We created our content with a purpose. 


Knowing the criteria is essential, then assessing, and being honest with yourself.  Do you have what it takes to win?  Are you able to address the criteria and provide measurable results?  Take a step back and look at your business critically.  If you don’t feel like you are there just yet, wait until you have had more focus on the development.  Better to delay entry by a year to get it right!

Be Smart

Writing a good award entry takes longer than you think so start working on it straight away! Put your plan together, brainstorm what to include and then start putting details together and compiling the evidence. Gather feedback from independent sources to ensure you are being objective.

Write, read, break, re-read then repeat the cycle! Until you are happy with the final product keep going through this cycle. It is also great to have another set of eyes over the submission as they can provide a fresh perspective and additional ideas, as well as spotting any mistakes.  There is nothing worse for a judge than reading an entry with mistakes and sloppy attention to detail.

Be Mindful

Be careful with interpreting the questions; re-read before answering, it’s important that you are answering the question in the right way!

Ask yourself to justify your content? Does this answer the question? Why is this important?  Why would the judges care? How am I proving this information? Does this bring the information to life? Does this truly represent our brand?

Word count - it is very important to watch your word count and adhered to the guidelines or rules, it would be awful after all your hard work to be disqualified on a technicality.

Be Positive

Remember to stand out you need to be passionate and believe in what you are submitting, if you believe it then that will come across. Bring your passion and personality to the forefront, make sure your business and brand shine. If the entry guidelines allow for additional material, such as video or testimonials work out how you can utilise these to bring the entry to life.

Who are you as a brand? What is your value? What have you done to stand out in the industry? What is your message? And most importantly why should you win?

Keep all of this in mind throughout your preparation and keep asking yourself these, and be honest and truthful.

Be Professional

Keep a strong sense of your companies personality whilst keeping it professional. Remove colloquial words and terms unless they add value and understanding, be diligent with your spell check - you can use an online tool https://www.grammarly.com/ which helps not only with spelling but also your grammar. Check, check and triple check.

Be Straightforward

You may have some awesome initiatives within the business but can you demonstrate how these have provided the results you were looking for?  Do you have measurements from prior to the initiative commencing and post? 

Now this is one of my favourite parts of writing an award submission - STATISTICS and evidence. It’s great that you can talk about what you have put in place, now prove it - testimonials, statistics from surveys or CRM database, ROI. For every point you are making there should be proof.  This is why sometimes you need to wait a year, put your groundwork in and then demonstrate the results of the changes you have made.

We wish you all the best of luck for any awards you decide to enter, remember to have fun with it too!  Celebrating your successes is important in every business – even if you don’t win, the process can highlight the great work you are doing.

iknowho was a finalist for the RCSA Awards for Excellence in Candidate Care and have recently been announced as finalists in the Seek Annual Recruitment Awards (SARA) in the categories of Small Agency of the Year & Excellent in Candidate Engagement 

With the SARA’s being announced on 16th November, keep your fingers crossed for the iknowho team and watch this space for hopefully more award news from us!!

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