How to… win an industry award

20 February 2015
How to… win an industry award

If you want to be in with a chance of taking to the stage at the Cateys, pay attention to the words of one of its judges, says Arnold Fewell

I love everything about the Cateys. From reading the entries as a judge to finally seeing the shortlist and then going to the brilliant awards night itself at Grosvenor House.

The Cateys are rightly regarded as the Oscars of the industry, and that is why I understand that people are upset and disappointed when they are not shortlisted or don't win.

And so I thought it would be helpful to provide some guidance. All judges are different, and that is why they are invited, but I am confident they would all endorse the points below.

Read the criteria carefully

Each award has specific criteria and these are what the judges use to make their decision and judge against. Make a separate note of each criterion in the award brief before you start. In your entry clearly show how you or one of your team has achieved outstanding success in the specific areas that you identified in the criteria.

Meet the criteria and answer any questions posed

When this doesn't happen judges are very likely to move onto the next entry. Make sure you use subheadings for each criterion and then explain what has been done to achieve it underneath.

Detail your objectives and the outcomes achieved

All winning entries show the objectives they have at the start of the entry and by the end show what has been achieved. Objectives must
pass the ‘SMART' test: be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Logged.

Talk to colleagues

Get advice from other people you know who have won an award. Look at what they did and how they presented their information.

Tell a story in your entry

Put all the information in a logical order so the entry flows. Before you start writing, create an outline with different sections and headings,
then put notes into each section with the points you want to make.

Don't be shy, share your success

Personalise the entry

There are lots of awards and it is quite common for people to alter and reuse an entry when applying for another. If you do this, ensure you personalise it to the Cateys and check very carefully you don't mention a competing award with another magazine.

Check all spelling and grammar carefully

Ensure you ask other people to read your entry carefully so they spot any mistakes.

Don't photocopy entry fillers like press releases and brochures

A longer or bigger entry does not improve your chances of winning. In fact, it's quite the reverse, as judges are likely to just stop
reading. Be precise and focused.

Include items that have been in the media, both online and offline

These are much better than press releases as they have been put out by other people about you. Nowadays it is not just about traditional
media, so look at any coverage you have received online or any comments and endorsements that have come to you via your website.

Arnold Fewell is managing director of AVF Marketing (

TagsAwards and Cateys
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