The good, the bad and the ugly

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As the awards season gathers to a close, Kevin Carr gives a few tips for those eyeing an entry next year.

Earlier this month the annual Cover excellence awards took place in London. Hundreds of the great and the good from the protection industry attended the event, preceded by the magazine’s annual Forum.

Those who picked up awards on the night will have been busy basking in glory with their marketing departments, if they have them, making the most of their success. While the runners up and other nominated firms will be kicking themselves and thinking about what they could do better next time.   

I have read more than a thousand award entries over the last decade. Some of them good and some are very good. Unfortunately though, many have been, and continue to be, pretty awful.

I should add a brief explanation here, by pointing out that I have also written dozens of award entries in various categories (many that won and many that did not) and have judged awards entered by advisers, insurers and journalists, as well as judging marketing and advertising awards.

So here are a few tips, along with some pet hates I know I share with other judges, on how to go about writing a winning entry:

• Take it seriously. Read the criteria carefully and write a relevant entry.

• Don’t send a sales aid as your entry, and don’t send in an old entry that was written for a different set of awards as the criteria and word count are rarely the same.

• Don’t ignore the word count. Those who blatantly go over by hundreds, if not thousands, of words are likely to have their entries discounted. Likewise if the allowed word count is 800 don’t bother submitting a 100 word entry.

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