Contest Entries: Know Your Audience, Proofread, Provide Details, and Measure

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In theory, few professions are better suited to participate in and win industry awards and competitions than communicators. After all, the business of the PR professional works with words and images. Creating messages that resonate with audiences is their daily job. Filling out a contest entry form and making sure it’s memorable should feel like a busman’s vacation for PR professionals.

While the contest’s veteran judges agree with the above premise, they also tell us that more than a few entries fall short. In addition, two elements often overlooked, spelling and measurement, remain of vital importance, according to the judges.

Finally, if you’re looking for quick fixes or quick fixes that will help you win contests, look elsewhere. While there are helpful tips throughout this article, it’s clear that winning starts with a time commitment.


Assuming the best teacher is a mistake, let’s first consider some of the judges’ dislikes.
Follow directions
Their pet peeves include contest participants who don’t follow instructions. “When an application says ‘use 11 point font and submit 1 page outline’. And then you open the entry and it’s in 9 point font and the summary is a page and a half… come on, follow instructions,” says Robert Hastings, executive vice president, communications and government affairs at Bell, formerly Bell Helicopter, and a veteran judge.

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