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What makes an awards programme fly?

At AwardStage, we are in the privileged position of getting a deep insight into a huge number of awards programmes. Of those, some will attract fewer entries than the organisers had hoped for....but some will blow us away, and surpass all expectations, with phenomenal numbers of super high quality submissions. From where we sit in the process, this means that we see firsthand what does and doesn't work, in terms of a successful round of awards. Here's a summary of what we see the high flyers doing well.

Provide as much information as you can, right from the outset Entrants like to know what they're letting themselves in for, in terms of the entry form and any other information they'll need to have to hand when they complete their application. It can help to offer them an insight into what will be asked of them on your awards homepage.

Detailed category information AwardStage allows you to input detailed category descriptions which entrants can see both on your awards homepage (if you choose to display it here), and once they're logged in to their entrant dashboard. This information, in combination with point 1 above, ensures entrants feel well prepared and confident that they're entering the category that they're most likely to succeed in.

FAQs and online help If available, provide an FAQs section and refer back to questions you've been asked by entrants in previous years. AwardStage offers an FAQs page for you to populate for this, as well as an online knowledge base for all those technical queries.

Shout about previous winners Provide inspiration by showing entrants that they're in good company, by telling them about previous winners; seeing your peers gaining recognition is often a strong motivator for the competitive entrant!

Use social media wisely Engage with your sponsors, partners, and entrants - create a buzz around your awards! Remind your audience regularly about pertinent dates - opening, closing...and extended closing if necessary. A nudge a week or so before the closing date, is great for entrants who may have drafts that they need to complete

Opt for an 'everything in one place' approach The more an entrant can do in one place (or, in this case, on one website), the better. So, for example, if you're selling tickets to your presentation event, why not incorporate that process into your submissions platform? As an administrator, all your entrant information and financials is safely stored in the same system; as an entrant, it's a seamless journey from submitting an entry, to buying an event ticket - simple!

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