Agent99’s Managing Director Sharon Zeev Poole Shares Her Tips on Creating Winning Award Entries

This month Agent99 won a highly coveted industry award in front of 200 peers and colleagues at the Crown Complex in Melbourne.

I have to say that it was one of my proudest moments and career highlights.  It was something we had been working towards for some time. So, to win the NSW title of Small PR Consultancy of the Year, and then go on to win the nationals a few weeks later (against 6 finalists from all states), had me absolutely floored.

So… what got us there you ask? Well, here are my tips on creating an award-winning entry:

1.Be the real deal

The content that went into our 2,000 word submission, wasn’t fluff by any stretch.  We’ve had a vision for how we were going to change our business and take it to the next level, for well over a year.  And each quarter was made of blood, sweat and tears (ok, maybe not tears.. I’m just being melodramatic).  But the point is, to win awards, you really do need to do some ‘winning’. Based on our goal setting and activities that laddered directly up to these, we were able to report growth both in headcount and in double digits, as well as see significant system changes that supported client work that we were really proud of. And all of this made a truly compelling… and winning story

2. Get help

Being really close to your business sometimes means that you can’t see all of the gems, even if they’re hitting you over the head.  When I came back from maternity leave three years ago, Agent99 was not in good shape…at all.  It took me a solid 2-3 years to really turn the business around.  But my first draft of the award submission, didn’t even remotely mention this.  It took an external consultant and an ex-journalist to ask the right questions and nail this story line. We then also asked another consultant, who specialises in award submissions and knows exactly what judges look for, to do a final review and make recommendations on what should be amended.  We took all of the advice on board… and look at us now!  Don’t be shy to ask for help from specialists.  In fact, it’s silly if you don’t!

3. Enlist client support

One of the key area’s judges look at, are testimonials and proof of excellence.  We selected a handful of clients, and with their permission, submitted their case studies and the outstanding results we were able to achieve.  And what was critical, was listing SMART KPIs that showed where we started compared to where we ended.  This emphasized the real business impact our work garnered for each of them and when we won, they were the first we told. They were so thrilled.

4. Share the news

Once we won the award, we shared the news across our social channels, let our network of clients, potential clients and supporters know about it through our own PR and newsletters out to our database. No point in winning if you don’t leverage the news! Clients want to be associated with award winning companies.  It validates their work and the choice they made in going with your organisation above the competition.

5. Celebrate the news with the ones who worked the hardest to achieve it… your team!

Winning awards got ‘all the feels’ internally.  Make sure you take the team to the awards ceremonies and then mark the occasion with an outing…or in our case a round of Messina gelato!

6. Lastly, enjoy it!

As a business owner, you rarely get thanked or acknowledged for the work you do…. Because you don’t have a ‘boss’ per se.  So, award wins are a great time to stop, take stock and be proud of what you have achieved. You too deserve a pat on the back sometimes!

By Agent Sharon… or as my mentor called me the next morning… “Miss Small Consultancy of the Year”… in case I had forgotten!