Day 2 of the conference opened with an instructional session on “How to Write a Winning Stevie Award Nomination” given by Denise O’Leary, MBE. Denise is a 21-time Stevie Award winner and relayed her extensive experience on how she has repeatedly created winning Stevie Award entries. Her company, Purpol Marketing, specializes in marketing strategy development and bid management for public sector contracts across various industries.
Denise answered many common questions she gets from clients across industries on finding and applying for awards, including:
- Why should you enter awards?
- Where do you find awards to enter?
- How to find the right awards for your business
- What data do you need to consider?
Denise explained that, based on your specific industry or field, you should build an award target list and track when your targeted awards are open for nominations and what they will require. For example, even the Stevie Awards has eight distinct programs, and, depending on your field, one or a variety of them will get you a different level of exposure to a specific audience, geographic region, or market. Note the deadlines you need to hit and the networking or marketing opportunities they offer.
She detailed the full Stevie application journey and even provided hints on what judges really want to see. “Play to your individual strengths in your nomination,” she emphasized. “How do you offer better value? How can you explain what you’re doing and make your strengths clear? Prove what you do with tangible evidence.” She covered how to examine your own organization and objectives and then how to tell your personal and business story as well as what types of data should be included with your entry.
Regarding gathering evidence before writing your Stevie Awards nomination, Denise said, “It’s really important to gather evidence about your business success before writing your nomination.
- Read all instructions to make sure you’re eligible.” She also advised doing the following:
- If you’re doing a video, review their specific rules on formatting, length, language, etc.
- Include key performance indicators (KPIs) or other materials in the supporting materials section of the entry submission, like customer testimonials, photos, case studies, etc.
- Include a folder of press coverage to share, if available.
“Think about what the judges would like to see. Think about their process,” she noted. “If you need to proofread your nomination more than once a day to make sure it’s perfect, you should. Explain in simple terms what your business does so it’s clear to any judge why you should win a Stevie Award.”
She said you will want to keep track of progress, store, and revisit old nominations you’ve written. In addition, after entering Stevie Awards competitions, all entrants can access the judge’s comments. This feedback can serve as an invaluable asset for guidance on areas the judges were impressed with and how entry nominations can be improved in the future.