With the festive season fast fading into the distance, investment marketers are eagerly turning their attention to that other great season of giving and receiving: industry awards.
For the next three months, investment writers will be combing through all their sources for ideas on how to make their emerging-market equity fund stand out from everyone else’s ‘unique’ emerging-market equity fund.
Having written dozens of award submissions in the past 20 years, we thought we’d jot down this handy eight-step guide to writing a winning award submission.
1) Read the brief carefully
Every award submission is different, whether in terms of word count, content (innovation, performance, service, etc.) or date range (e.g. only widgets launched between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017). Just copying and pasting from one submission to the next will produce copy that is often inappropriate, tired and generic – something that is unlikely to sit well with judges who’ve sifted through dozens of entries. To get noticed, tailor your submissions.
2) Listen in to the conference call from the award organisers
Organisers don’t always offer a ‘tips and advice’ web conference, but there’s a big advantage to listening in if they do. In my experience, there are always two or three nuggets in there.
Figurative, not literal, nuggets…
3) Structure your submission according to the questions
Typically, award submissions will include some combination of innovation, service and performance. But different organisers may have a bias towards one of these. For example, it could be that innovation has 50% of the marks, with 25% each for service and performance. Obviously, you need to skew the content (and the word count) of your submission accordingly.
4) Collect as many facts as possible
Exploit all potential sources: trawl the website, fund marketing materials and RFPs; talk to the sales team for sales ideas, ask your customer-service agents for FAQs and their answers; and collar your product specialist for insights into unique selling points and competitive strengths.
Release your inner Sherlock and find those facts…
5) Organise your data points against each question or section
You’ll quickly see if one section is weaker than the rest. Give priority to figures and verifiable evidence where possible – reviewers love data points as they are easy to allocate scores to, especially if they allow you to use superlatives (largest, best, lowest-risk, highest-return, fastest-growing and so on).
6) Be concise
You’ve probably got a limit of 1,000 words or so. Stick to it. Some organisers will immediately eliminate you if you’re over the word limit. Remember, the reviewer probably has 20-30 submissions to read – so don’t give them reason to dismiss yours.
Discourage dismissal by keeping concise
7) Review the content to make sure it’s clear
You’re rightly very proud about your company’s ‘innovative credit-based de-risking strategy’ or ‘proprietary web-based servicing platform’. But some readers might never have heard of it. Don’t assume they have, even if they’re industry veterans. And ask a non-expert to look at what you’ve written.
8) Finally, critique your submission and give it a rating for each worthy point
Why? You need to give your submission’s reviewer as many opportunities to put a tick in the margin for your fund. Every tick is a point – and points mean prizes. If there are big gaps between your ticks, try to slim down the text where you’ve over-written or used too much fluffy marketing-speak.
Following these points is not a guarantee you’ll get to get your photograph taken with that television comedian; you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, after all. But you’ll certainly give yourself a better chance of getting short-listed.
We’ve applied our own rules to writing award submissions for clients and have developed a winning formula and template for them. Get in touch with us if you want to know the secrets of our success.