Hints & Tips

Tips for Writing a Winning Entry

If you're not sure where or how to start your Event Awards entry (or even if you are), here are some hints to help you write your best possible entry.

Tip #1: Get the lowdown and stay in the loop

Creating an account on the Entry portal gives you a full list of all the questions across all the categories so you can make an accurate assessment of which categories suit your event or achievement. Creating an account on the entry portal is free and simple and means you will be kept in the loop with all latest from the good people at the Event Awards HQ. This is not a mobile phone contract; signing up does not mean you will have to have a beautiful 24 month relationship with the Event Awards, so don’t be afraid; create an account and be informed instead.

Tip #2: Can you A the Q?

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 (clever you!), by all means, enter multiple categories.

Tip #3: Unplug if necessary

If you’d rather work in the sunshine than in your office, you can download the questions from the Entry Portal, work anywhere you like and copy and paste your answers into the Portal later. If a change is as good as a holiday, writing your submission from your hammock might produce an award winning entry. It’s at least a good enough excuse to tell your boss.

Tip #4: 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.

Tip #5: Speaking of word limits…

Stick to them. That’s it.*

(Word count: 5)

*Truth be told, that’s not quite it. The word limit is there to prevent you writing too much rather than to keep you from writing too little. If you can answer the question in half the word limit, the judges will be thrilled.

The Entry Portal is designed to allow for the editing process, thus it lets you see miles beyond the word limit, so that you can get everything in your head down in writing then pare it back to the essentials (See Tip #4 for guidance on what constitutes “the essentials”). However, when the entry is submitted for judging, it will be truncated to the word limit exactly, meaning the judges won’t see a single syllable beyond it. When you’re working on your entry, if you want to see what the judges will see, click “View” and…voilà!

Tip #6: 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.

Tip #7: 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.

Tip #8: Don’t forget the small things

Yes, of course you’re going to get points for the big stuff in your entry, like the hand chiselled ice sculpture centre pieces for your gala dinner, but the small details also make a collective difference. Things like sourcing sustainable goods and services, minimising transportation by holding a corporate event close to delegate accommodation and having charities on board to distribute leftover food after an event all have an impact on your overall score so don’t forget to include them in your entry. If the toilet water is recycled, make sure the judges know about it!

Tip #9: Proofread

Once you’ve completed the masterpiece that is your entry, have somebody else read it. Someone with an objective eye can often suggest improvements to your entry which you had not thought of. 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 which weren’t proofred. Apologies - proofread.

Tip #10: The value of video

Including a video in your entry is not compulsory, but we say, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Video saves you having to do much scene-setting in your written entry and it’s a great way of giving the judges that “it’s like I was there” feeling when evaluating your submission. Should your entry become a finalist, video also provides the Event Awards with great material to publicise and celebrate your event or achievement in the lead-up to the awards. And if you’re a public event finalist in a Best Events Category, video might help you notch up more votes as Australia chooses its Favourite Event.

Tip #11: 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. One of the key considerations for judges is assessing what you achieved with the resources you had, in the context of your environment and circumstances, so let the them know the challenges presented by staging your event or accomplishing your achievement whether they be budgetary, logistical or something else. There is a specific criterion which takes this into account in your score and it’s worth 20 percent of your entry.

Tip #12: Don’t get too technical

Jargon and acronyms are not required to prove you know your stuff. Write simply and in plain English and the judges will appreciate it. Aim for compelling rather than confusing.

Tip #13: 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 percent in each category. We’re not talking 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.

Tip #14: (Don’t) repeat after me

Over the years, the 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.

Tip #15: 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). If a picture is worth a thousand words, when choosing your pictures make those “words” count. 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.   

Tip #16: Forget formatting

If you’re working on your entry offline, don’t worry about fancy formatting, alignment or any other layout issues – when you copy and paste your answers into the Entry Portal, it will automatically ignore all formatting – all it’s interested in is what you wrote, rather than how pretty you made it look. 

Tip #17: CSR? Good question

CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility is, essentially, a sophisticated way of inquiring about the social impact of your event on the community. What positive contribution did the event or achievement make? Did you partner with a charity, use local products or produce or did your event generate jobs in a small town? 

Whatever it is, the judges want to know about it. It might only contribute five percent of your total score but with the characteristic close competition of the Event Awards, it might just be what gets you over the line.

Tip #18: Shining examples could lead to shiny awards

Examples of best practice count five percent towards your total score. But what is best practice? It is the opposite of cutting corners for a quick-but-sloppy result. The best practice question looks to highlight where your processes and procedures for your event set the best possible example by using the best methods – even if it took a little more effort. It could be the bespoke software used to engage event participants, planning methods, the way you kept your volunteers engaged with your cause or any other streamlined process you used which delivered a superior result.   

Still Stuck?

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