Planning is everything.
Judges can tell which entries have had careful and considered planning behind them. If you want to give yourself the best chance of winning, you need to plan your entry with a structured approach to your submission.
If you’re not sure where to start, our week by week plan will help you.
Week 1 – Choose your category(ies) and commence your research.
- Download the Award Entry Info Pack
- Listen to podcast episodes 1-4
- Gathering data about your business
- Engaging with your team, and start brainstorming your entry strategy
- Talking with customers, suppliers, your lawyer, your accountant and other supporters who can help you tell your story
- Thinking about the evidence you will need to back up any claims
- Noting down all the ideas from your data gathering and start to document your entry strategy, considering the questions you need to respond to
Weeks 2 & 3 – Set up your profile in the portal and start drafting responses
- If you have not yet done so, log into the portal and set up your profile
- Listen to podcast episodes 5 & 6
- Start drafting your responses to each question. We suggest using Word so you can easily share your document with an editor/reviewer to make changes
- Seek evidence for any claims you have made e.g. “We are the best at…” you must have evidence that supports this (e.g. awards, industry reports, testimonials)
- Think about who you might approach to edit your entry. Talk with them and ask them to set aside some time in week 5 to edit your entry. You want someone with a critical eye, and ideally, a firm grasp of the English language.
- You should also seek someone to proof your entry in Week 6. Again, you should seek someone with great written English skills. Note that proofing is a quicker, easier task than editing, and is really just a final check to make sure your entry has no obvious mistakes.
Week 4 – Workshop and support
- Listen to podcast episode 7
- Attend the Award Entry Workshop
- Incorporate any feedback you obtained from the Workshop
Week 5 – Refinement
- Listen to podcast episode 8
- Incorporate the suggestions Jamie has around your brand voice
- By now your responses should be close to complete
- Review the questions and review your answers. Have you clearly addressed the questions? Have you been as concise as possible? Are you telling a story?
- Review your responses with at least one other person in your business (or someone close to your business if you’re a solopreneur). Have you followed the agreed strategy for your entry? Have you missed any critical content that will help your entry stand out?
- If you have not yet done so, incorporate any external evidence relevant to claims made in your submission
Week 6 – Editing
- Finalise your draft
- Give it to your editor. Ask them to mark up responses in a Word document so you can see the changes they have made
Week 7 – Finalisation and submission
- Get your draft back from your editor
- Incorporate their recommended changes
- Once you believe your entry is ready for submission, have someone proof your entry. Ideally, this should be a different person to the editor.
- Print out a PDF of your entry in the portal. Give it one final read through to ensure it is error-free.
- Submit your entry
Week 8 & 9 – Interview preparation
If you are announced as a finalist, you may not have much time between receiving a phone call and your actual interview, so you should be prepared well ahead of the phone call
- Discuss and agree who shall be interviewed
- Listen to podcast episode 9
- Ensure interviewees are intimately familiar with the written submission
- Prepare any visual evidence that may be required for interview
- Ensure your workplace is ready to be visited by the judges. It should be clean, neat, safe, and help support and tell your story
We do understand this plan won’t work for everyone. You may not decide to enter until week 3. You may not have someone you can call on to edit and then someone else who can proof.
If that is the case, just look at the plan and use it as a framework to create a plan that works for you. If you’ve only got 4 weeks by the time you decide to enter, then condense the plan.
But if you want to enjoy the process as much as possible, and give yourself the best chance of winning, a well planned and structured approach like this will put you miles ahead.
Our Awards Insider podcast has tips on how to approach your entry. Listen to episodes 3, 4, 5 and 6 to see what tips our expert guests have around planning and timing.