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10 tips for writing a winning award entry

6-5-15-miss-piggy-first-award

The team at The Australian Event Awards share their tips for writing a solid gold awards submission.

1. Can you answer the questions?
One of the best ways to assess which category is right for you is to look at the judging criteria and the questions. Give the questions a brief mental rundown – if you can answer all of them, this is probably the category for you. If you can answer all the questions to more than one category, by all means, enter multiple categories.

2. Don’t beat around the bush
Address the questions. Occasionally, one can become lost in setting the scene or somehow end up tangentially floating on a proverbial sea of adjectives that suddenly the word limit approaches and passes without actually addressing the specifics of the question. Think about what the question is asking, say what you mean and don’t worry about pretty words and long descriptive passages. The judges want to read an award winning, eventful entry, not an epic exploration of, well, anything else.

3. Word limits
Stick to them.

4. Evidence is king
It’s very much a case of ‘show, don’t tell’ when it comes to the big claims in your entry. Survey your stakeholders and attendees post-event, collect any glowing reports from local or national media, count all your ticket stubs and share them with the judges in your entry. Statistics, testimonials, surveys, photos and video all prove to the judges that your event is worthy of contention as one of the best in Australia.

5. Address the criteria
After reading and marvelling at your entry, when the judges come to scoring you, they will base their decisions on the weighted criteria, outlined at the top of each category. So make sure you write your entry with the criteria in mind.

6. Proofread
Once you’ve completed the masterpiece that is your entry, have somebody else read it. Having a grammatically astute person check the spelling, punctuation and grammar sharpens the overall professionalism of your entry, making it an easier read for the judges and thus a potential standout from other entries that weren’t proofread.

7. Acknowledge the difficulties
If you produced something amazing on a tiny budget or if the location of your event presented transport issues which required outside-the-box thinking to overcome, write about it in your entry. Let the judges know the challenges presented by staging your event or accomplishing your achievement whether they be budgetary, logistical, resource related or something else – there is actually a specific criterion which takes this into account in your score and it’s worth 20 per cent of your entry.

8. Innovation is important
Judges are looking for a shake-up of how things have always been and a degree of innovation is important for every entry, counting for at least 10 per cent in each category. We’re not talking about the reinvention of the wheel here – but anything that is new or gives you a competitive edge in the market is worth including in your entry.

9. (Don’t) repeat after me
This year the Australian Event Awards questions have been reassessed and tweaked to avoid the need for repetition. Each question is intended to prompt answers with new information for the judges to consider. If you find yourself repeating something you’ve already explained, our advice is to reconsider what the question is asking. Bear in mind too that repetition takes up words you could use to say something new about your event or achievement.

10. Picture perfect
Pictures are a must for all entrants and an effective way to show off your event (particularly if you haven’t got video). Posed pictures with smiling children are sweet, but sweet a thousand times over does not win you an Event Award. Action shots or pictures which show the atmosphere of an event or achievement will strengthen your entry much more than a smiling child, no matter how cute.

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