Event industry awards: create a winning entry

Event industry awards season is here! As a previous judge for a number of awards, I want to share my top tips for anyone considering an entry for 2022. After all, if you're going to be in it, you want to win it, right? I hope you find these tips useful:

Start early

So this one's a little late for the 2022 event industry awards season but get ahead for next year. Consider awards criteria when you are planning your event project. This way, you can set key goals and objectives in plenty of time. Then, you can measure the results to strengthen your submission and evidence your claims.

An early start also means plenty of time to get buy-in from supporters (client, client’s marketing/PR, internal marketing/PR or board members) to help you create the best possible entry.

Producing a winning entry always takes longer than you’d expect, from writing the submissions, to creating your supporting materials/evidence.

Be on time

You must hit the submission deadline, or risk having your entry ignored, so give yourself a few months for the entire process. This means you can be flexible and fit the submission around your work schedule if it changes.

Do your research

  • Read the awards website. The site should provide you with a solid idea of the entry criteria for your category, such as when the event needs to have taken place to be eligible for entry.

  • The awards website will also give you basic rules, such as maximum word count for each question – ignore these at your peril.

  • Take a good look at last year’s winning entries and judges’ comments to see why they won. This could help you add some sparkle to your own submissions.

  • Check out the judges. Who are they? What jobs do they do? What parts of your entry are likely to draw them into your story? They may have published tips on entries in terms of what they’re looking for too, and these are like gold dust – use them wisely.

If none of the above is on the awards website, contact the organisers of the awards for more information.

Keep it simple

Focus on what the organisers ask for in the judging criteria, not just what you want to tell them.

Write in plain English and avoid using industry jargon and acronyms – just because the judges work in your industry (if they do), it doesn’t mean they know them all or understand your team’s name for a project.

Remember that the maximum word count is there as a guide, not a goal - the more succinct you make the entry, the easier it is for judges. They may have hundreds of entries to read and if it takes you 100 words to say what you could have said with ten

Prove it

Demonstrate how you have achieved the goals you set out at the start. Include benefits to your business, clients, delegates employees, the general public, or other relevant groups of people.

Backing up anything you write with evidence (quotes, statistics, media coverage, testimonials etc), turns them from unsubstantiated claims to proven facts.

Proof it

Thoroughly check your entry before submitting it. Ideally, have someone else – or several others – do this for you. Fresh eyes are likely to spot typos that you miss.

Ask for help

It can be hard to be objective when you’re writing about your own event. Some people find it equally as tough to blow their own trumpet. So, someone else to review your award submission.

Ideally, you should ask someone outside of your own organisation, too. They won’t have the same bias or existing knowledge of the project and can give you more constructive feedback.

Get creative

The word counts may be restricted, but there’s no cap on your creativity!

If you can include images, videos, infographics, or other visuals which represent and add value to your submission, then do. Do what you can to liven up your submission and make it stand out.


Know someone who is looking for their first role in the event industry? Send them the link to my 'New Event Exec's guide to job hunting'

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