How to Write a Winning Event Entry

how to write a winning event entry

This article on how to write a winning event entry appeared in the September 2022 issue of Special Events magazine. Because it was written for Special Events magazine, it is geared towards the Gala Awards, but the strategies here work for most award entries.

Hope this helps you get the recognition you deserve!

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You know your event was good, even great. It’s got award-winner written all over it. Gorgeous décor. A definite purpose. Innovations galore. Now it’s time to get the recognition you deserve. You are ready to enter The Gala Awards! But are you? Here are 15 tips to help you write a winning event entry. Why? Because you didn’t come this far to just come this far!

Five Reasons Why Being Nominated for (and Winning) Awards Matter

  1. The excitement. After all that hard work, it’s nice to know that they love you. They really love you!
  2. Third-party testimonial. An award-worthy from a prestigious publication is a big plus for new clients and the media.
  3. It’s a legit reason to brag on social media and to your family (who always wonder just a little about what you really do)!
  4. Team Morale. Nothing feels better than being recognized for great work.
  5. Vendor Love. Awards enable you to give back on many levels.

Five Things to Know on How to Write a Winning Event Entry

  1. Write to one person – the judge. Judges are looking at hundreds of entries. Like any of us reading a lot of material, they want to get to the bottom line fast – why should this event win an award? What makes it unique? Put this information upfront.
  2. Start with the biggest challenge of the event and highlight it often. Challenges are THE most significant reason events win awards. But they don’t always have to be epic. Look at the event with fresh eyes, and you will be amazed at the heroic daily efforts you have overcome!
  3. Remember, the judge could be tired of all this reading. So wake them up with a conversational tone and a question. Why a question? Because it activates their brain and engages them again in the entry.
  4. Take time to rewrite your information for the Four Questions thoughtfully. I know this might feel repetitive, but sometimes the judge could miss things. Having essential information in several places throughout the entry ensures they will see it.
  5. The 100 words is perhaps the most misunderstood section. Being so short makes writing hard, but it is the MOST critical section once the event is nominated. It will summarize the event that people will see or read about later. Get laser-focused on the nature of the event and what made it special.

Five TOP SECRETS No One Will Tell You, Except Me!

As one of the team members who created the Gala Awards and judged them for a decade, as well as someone who has written many winning entries, here are some essential things to know.

  1. Being nominated is just as great as winning, really! So make sure you promote it as much as you would a win.
  2. If you have the time and budget, build specific elements into your event for the awards. For instance, if you know the event is perfect for the new sustainable category, consider how to add details to the event to make it that much stronger. Again, a little forethought could make all the difference.
  3. The maximum word count is just a suggestion. Use just what you need to create a tighter, brighter entry.
  4. Write a rough draft of your award entry following the event so you don’t forget all the juicy details.
  5. PHOTOS! So important. Be sure to hire an excellent photographer if you think you have a potential award winner.





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