Industry awards are a great way to market your business and make it stand out to prospects and customers. It is important to know how to make your application stand out in a sea of similarity. These tips will help you get started. Applying for and hopefully winning awards presented by your industry, community, or partners is one of the best ways to help your company. This is a great marketing tactic that can make your business stand apart from prospects and customers. However, many organizations don’t realize how to submit strong submissions or fear they won’t win. They don’t bother to try.
Kristian Wright, COO at inSOC Inc, says that this does not have to be the case. He said that the key to standing out in a sea a sea of similarity is to find out how to do it.
Overcoming Writer’s Block & Other Challenges
He said that most awards entries are so dull that judges can’t even read them all and many can’t distinguish one entry from the other. You can stand a good chance of winning by asking four questions when you fill out an application.
Why are you entering this award?
What are you hoping to gain?
What could winning do for your business?
What other benefits could you derive from a win?

Awards entries take time and effort, and it can be difficult to articulate your accomplishments–many people are not comfortable touting themselves. Wright provided a five-step guide to help you ensure your application stands out from the rest.
1. Learn the Application
Before you start to write an award application form, make sure that you have read and understood it. You need to understand what the judges are looking at, what they don’t want, and how your company fits in those criteria.
Wright stated that many applications are overlooked or ignored because they show the company’s messaging, but don’t answer any of the questions asked.
2. Answer the questions, speak the language of the judges
Look for keywords and other clues in the application that could hint at what judges will value.
“Once you have identified the keywords and themes, make sure that you link your answers to those keywords. These points should be incorporated into your response. Judges can’t argue with you if your response is to the themes or words they’re looking at,” he said. “Remember, you are looking to respond to the words they use in your business.”
3. Find Your Unique Selling Proposition
Nearly every award category will not choose the person who provides the best customer service or has the best solution. Your chances of winning depend on how you present yourself in your application.
Everyone thinks they are the best at solving customer problems or providing customer service. Wright stated that you may be the best, but it doesn’t make it interesting to a panel consisting of five judges who are all raving about how great they are in these areas. Wright said, “There’s nothing that will distinguish you from everyone else. But if your stories are great in those areas, you can weave it in.

4. Use a proven framework to tell your story
Frame your application around a story to add character and color. Wright says that if you can engage people in a story, they will want to know the ending, even if it is quite boring.
There are two options: you can build a wave-like story arc. This involves starting with a problem (at the low point), developing a solution (at the crest), and then taking additional steps to resolve it (back down low), and ending with a satisfied customer (back on top).
“If you think of it in Harry Potter terms, he is trapped at the Dursleys. He goes to Hogwarts and has adventures. He defeats Voldemort, and emerges well at the end. He said that it is possible to break it down into steps and get an idea for a story or response.
The second method is a “STAR” framework that consists of Situation, Task Action, Action, and Results. This is often used to help job candidates understand their capabilities. He said that the Task is the overall idea of what you need to do and the Action the individual steps that lead up to the result.
5. To make it pop, add finishing touches
Most applications are submitted using Microsoft Word or PowerPoint if they are not part of an online standard application. Consider other formats or tools to submit your application if you can.
You can also hire a copywriter to improve your copy (if that’s something you are willing to admit), and a designer who can visually communicate your message clearly. Online platfors are available if you don’t have those skills.

The Winner is… You: How to Apply For Industry Awards to Boost Your Business