Contests are a great means to showcase your talent and expertise. Not only do you receive feedback from judges, but earning an award gives credibility to your work. How can you improve your contest entries and your chance of winning?
Cecilia Green of Illinois Woman’s Press Association shares some tips:
1) Be passionate. Pick the project or article that you worked on that you felt passionately about. “If you feel passionate about it, it was probably excellent work that had an impact, something that judges look for,” says Cecilia. Volunteer work counts, too.
2) Follow the instructions. “People don’t follow the instructions,” Cecilia says. “You don’t want to be disqualified because you didn’t follow the instructions.” Use a highlighter to mark “must do” rules, including deadlines and fee. Make sure you submit your entry in the correct category.
3) Give them what they want. Many categories call for a one-page statement covering certain points. Label these points in subheads with details below each one, showing how your work contained the factors you’ll be judged on. “You can have the best project in the world, but if you don’t make your case in the write-up, it won’t win,” Cecilia says. “Make it compelling.”
4) Capture your work while it’s available. Pay special attention to Web and other electronic media category rules so you can capture the work while it’s accessible.
5) Give yourself twice the time you think it will take you to prepare your entries. Some entries require write-ups and extensive documentation that can take several hours to prepare.