Tell me… does your business awards writing captivate and seduce?
Last week I had an epiphany.
I can hear your mind already, mulling over whether or not this headline is some sort of cheap-ass hook to get you in. It’s not, honestly.
I was writing a business awards submission, telling this (awesome) client’s story and really building it to a climax (she is really awesome). That same week (Valentine’s week, to be exact), for the very first time I experienced a genuine… well, let’s just leave it at that.
What I realised, though, was that popping that celebratory champagne cork (see what I did there) takes more than just facts and figures.
Good business awards writing is one part romancing, one part spine-tingling seduction. Although you need to be factual and nail the brief, in the background it really is a game of persuasion.
So let’s talk about romance before we get to the sex part.Good business awards writing is one part romancing, one part spine-tingling seduction. Click To Tweet
Does your business awards writing romance the judges?
No, we’re not talking about a Mills & Boon novel here, but we are talking romance. Just like the tried and true romance formula, a good business awards submission will set the right scene. It will draw the reader in, making them feel warm and fuzzy. It will create a storyline, often outlining a challenge that needed to be overcome or a need that had to be met. And it will position the main character (you) as the hero and/or heroine that delivers the solution.
And just as we need to identify with the hero and/or heroine of our favourite romance novels, the judges need to be able to identify with the main characters of your plot. If they can’t identify or empathise with you, or relate to you, we have little hope of getting them to buy into your story. When there’s a division between you and the judge before you’ve even started to convince them of your brilliance, you’re in trouble.
So… just how do we deliver romance in a business awards submission?
By romance I don’t mean leaving hugs and kisses in your submission.
Instead, we take inspiration from your favourite romance novel. Generally I look at three main elements – setting, characters, and plot.
- Setting the scene of your business awards submission – this is the time and place where the story unfolds. Some awards programs will be specific in the timing (ie you can only include achievements from the last 12 months), while for a project-focused award you need to define the timeline of the project.
- Developing the central characters of your submission – the more relatable your central characters are, the more your story will engage and hook the judges. And don’t forget the importance of secondary characters too – if you’re entering a marketing award, for example, your organisation will be the central character and your client will be the secondary character. Without them, your narrative won’t be complete.
- Determining the plot of your submission – this is where storyboarding is a brilliant tool. It helps you develop a plot that takes the readers through a journey while addressing each question and the overarching requirements. A plot or a theme is what keeps you from making vague statements and losing track of the central message you want to convey.
Enough romancing? Now it’s time to get down and dirty
You’ve set the scene, introduced your characters, and given the reader a context. Now you want to make those judges quiver in anticipation of what’s coming.
Seduce them, letting them know the problem at hand
Have you explained the challenge you or your client was facing? For one client, we asked a question of the reader that highlighted a gap in the industry.
“How does your average Australian private practice meet these needs when the focus is very much on providing the best clinical experience possible? What of the customer experience – that which occurs outside of the treatment room?”
Lead them on, making them want to lean in
Have you positioned your story by making you the hero, ready to swoop in and save the day? Again, my client became the hero as we outlined why those gaps were causing problems for industry professionals.
“In 2016, they approached us to discuss the concept. It was a challenge that we were seeing on a daily basis with our clients. Many would come to us after having negative experiences with non-dental marketing specialists or ‘cowboys’ who were there to make a quick buck off the back of technology.”
Create tension, teasing the judges so they want more
Have you gradually built up to the problem before outlining it in a simple question or statement? As you can see below, we built anticipation by explaining that although change was needed, these professionals were lost as to how to even begin to make that change.
“Dentists need to evolve with changing market demands. But as dental experts, where do they start?”
Giving them the big O
Give them what they need so they can lie back and take it all in
Enter the hero. With the main character sweeping in to save the day, things should start getting kinda hot.
“As a result, the seminars were developed to meet a current need. While there is a lot of clinical CPD available, this was the first series of its kind that built a big picture of marketing. It provided dentists with the tools and knowledge to understand how to market their practice, talk to suppliers, understand the numbers behind their marketing, and incorporate it as part of their strategic business plan.”
Let the judges relax…
Just like when we chase an orgasm it becomes incredibly elusive, we don’t want the judges to have to try to hard to get the point of your argument. Be clear, and always come back to the problem and the solution. This is where a concise case study can work well, and bullet points or numbered lists can simplify your case.
“As an example, the aim of our digital marketing course was to demystify myths, give practitioners the tools to grow their practice with effective digital marketing, and the confidence to talk knowledgeably and confidently to staff or marketing suppliers.
Our objectives were to enable practitioners to:
Grow their practice with the use of marketing
View digital marketing in a totally new light and to see the value in marketing their practice online
Understand where they may be going wrong with the digital marketing for their practice
Have the required tools and knowledge, and understand what is required to make this happen, and
Be able to easily implement the techniques discussed within their practice.”
Let it build. And build. And build.
OK we’re getting to the good part. That part where the judges can’t look away in case they lose that sweet spot and fall off the ride.
As the hero, you’re telling them how you saved the day, with each paragraph building and offering something more than the one before. You need to tell that story with such passion and belief that it makes their toes curl when they read it. You want them to buy into it, to be completely seduced by the by the capable hero or heroine and their commitment to righting wrongs, fighting the good fight, and/or delivering the goods.
“The results have been impressive.
Via the closed Facebook group and our follow-up programs and surveys, we’ve identified consistent success rates with participants putting ideas from the seminars into practice, seeing an average X% increase in new patients. Importantly, X% are now hitting their financial targets. Impressively, we’ve seen a significant increase (over X%) in practices testing and measuring their marketing results.”
Make the climax a gooooooood one
Hit them with it. Be bold, be concise, and give them no choice but to surrender to your awesomeness. Sum it all up in one final statement that lets them know just what a trailblazing hero you are.
Bring it home.
“In 12 months we’ve educated nearly 400 practitioners across four States. In 2018, we’re estimating reach of 600 practitioners. But more importantly, we’re delivering advancement in an industry where private practice is struggling, stagnant and strapped for customers and revenue. We’re delivering long-term change via education. And we’re providing ongoing support to ensure sustainability.
The world of dentistry has changed. For the first time, this program provides practitioners with the opportunity to change with it.”
So… are business awards really just sexy storytelling?
No, we wish. Storytelling is just one part of an enthralling business award case. Remember that you need to back up your claims with facts and figures, providing concrete evidence of the challenges and your ultimate victory.
You need to explain the how as much as the why.
And you need to convince the judges that you’re the bomb by taking them on a ride before hitting them with a finale that makes them shudder with delight.
Then, and only then, are you done.