Top Tips For Writing An Awesome Awards Entry

By Mainframe

Preview_20201130_Mainframe_Awards_2020_credit-Charlotte-Jopling-9-1We like to think we’ve made the Mainframe Awards as simple to enter as possible, that said we know that any awards application can feel like a challenge! We’ve put this blog together with our top tips for writing an awards entry so you can pen a submission to be proud of.

Allow enough time.

It’s so tempting to leave ‘extra’s’ like entering award, to the last minute but rushing always leads to errors, missing information and even deciding it’s all too much and not bothering at all. Treat the application process like any other important work task and schedule the time in your diary. Give yourself a deadline, well before the actual deadline and enjoy the opportunity to think about you or your business in a positive way without deadline stress. Time allows you to ensure you have gathered the best information, examples and testimonials to showcase what you’re really made of.

Pick your categories wisely!

Make sure you meet the criteria. Don’t waste time applying for something you’ll be disqualified for not meeting the requirements, however badly you’d like to win the category.

Check out the judge for the category. Can you glean anything from them that could inform how you approach your application? Remember, judges are usually picked as they have some relevance to the category they are judging.

Check out past winners. With local awards like Mainframe’s, you may know some of them. Could you speak to them and ask them for advice? Equally, don’t let past winners put you off. Each year is different, with a different judge and different pool of applicants. This could be your year…

20201130_Mainframe_Awards_2020_credit_Charlotte_Jopling-8-1Tell your story.

Be proud and confident (no stiff upper lips required) and do give a picture of the challenges as well as the successes you’ve faced. Don’t assume the judge knows who you are and what your company does, even if they are local to you. Remember the judges are only human, likely to be volunteer’s and spending time looking through multiple submissions. Be clear and concise and stick to any word limits.


Tell the judge your story then back-up your claims with clear evidence. Depending on the category it might be client testimonials, summarised financials, or words from colleagues.

The opportunity to add ‘any additional evidence’ is important in any awards but even more so in creative awards. This is the time for pretty pictures, video, creativity and selling yourself visually. When you only have a small word count for a submission, the extra evidence you provide becomes very important.

Be accurate.

Proofread – twice! Ask someone totally unrelated to your business to read your application and see if they understand it. It’s back to those judges again feeling that you’ve taken the time and care to put in a quality submission. Also, whilst you must put your best foot forward, never exaggerate or lie in your application. Inaccurate or misinformation tends to backfire and entering awards should be about representing you and your business in a positive, professional light.

Get professional help.

We’ve gleaned most of these tips and advice from Rachel Hayward of Ask The Chameleon and the brilliant session she ran for us on The Power of Awards. Sometimes you just don’t have the time to enter the awards you’d like to or really want to get an external, professional view on your submission. This is when someone like Rachel can be invaluable.

Not just an awards application.

Award & ConfettiOnce you have pressed that submit button it’s feet up with a cuppa and wait for the accolades to roll in – wrong! Remember, the effort of completing your application should give you content about your business that can be used well beyond the actual application. See our blog post on "Why Entering Awards Can benefit You & Your Business" for more on making the most of applying.

Key Dates


The Mainframe Awards 2021 are open!

Here are a couple of key dates for your diary:

31st January: The deadline for award nominations. Don’t wait for a nomination; we encourage you to recognise your own excellence and put yourself forward for the awards!

24th February: We’ll be announcing the shortlist (decided by our expert judging panel).

Get your applications at the ready! Enter the Mainframe Awards 2021now...

Submit my 2021 nomination