10 tips for entering intranet awards

Have you ever considered submitting your intranet or digital workplace for an award or entering it into a competition? There are various advantages in doing so such as to help to support arguments for further investment, share best practices with the wider community or simply to help build your own CV.

Whatever your reason — selfish or altruistic — there’s a fair number of awards which cover intranets and the digital workplace. Some of these, like Step Two’s Intranet and Digital Awards are completely dedicated to internal digital channels, but others focus on internal comms, the wider digital world, IT, knowledge management or HR.

In this week’s guest post, Steve Bynghall, who runs the StepTwo Intranet and Digital Awards, provides 10 top tips for entering awards.  So if you’re considering entering an intranet competition here are ten tips, based on Steve’s running of the Step Two’s competition.

#1 Pick the right awards for you

Pick the awards that’s going to suit your intranet. There are usually a wide range of categories which cover most types of channel so make sure you pick the most appropriate category to give yourself a fighting chance. Unusually, the StepTwo awards celebrate functional brilliance within intranets as well as the platform as a whole.

Other competitions have a different focus. For example, if your platform has really excelled in the learning space more than anything else, should you be focusing on an award which celebrates digital learning rather than intranets?  There’s a lot of choice out there.

#2 Read the instructions

It might sound obvious, but it’s worth spending time to read the small print or any guidelines. These can be quite specific about the formats and the type of entries a competition wants, and following these points really does making a difference in submitting a successful application. For example, take time to work out how the scoring is managed and make sure you dedicate sufficient effort and evidence to those areas.

#3 Don’t make it read like a vendor pitch

Vendors and digital agencies like their clients to enter awards as it provides good credentials. In practice this also means vendors help prepare competition submissions. That’s fine and to be expected but remember that you’re entering an intranet award and we don’t need sales pitches. This tone tends to distract from the good work on show and puts off the judges.

#4 Look at previous winners

Looking at previous winners and why they’ve won really helps to give you an idea of what submissions were successful and why. It’s a very good reference point for preparing your own submission. Most awards will have a previous winner page/gallery (ours is here Awards explorer page) where you can view previous winners. Learn from these.

#5 Ask questions if you can

The organisers of intranet awards are very keen to get high quality entries and often are willing to give you guidance or feedback, if you ask. For example, you may want to ask if it is worth entering or what to focus on in an entry.  Don’t be shy to get in touch with questions.

#6 Be credible

Naturally your entry is going to focus on the great aspects of your work and you’re not going to be modest in a submission. However, it’s important to remain credible, as just one over the top claim can cast doubt on the rest of your submission. For example, there’s a difference between saying “Because of the new intranet, employee engagement soared by 7%” and “The new intranet and the related drive for transparency by senior management was widely acknowledged as one of the factors which helped to increase employee engagement by 7%”. 

#7 Include real screenshots where you can

Awards love screenshots with a submission. If possible, make these real screenshots with blurring of anything sensitive, rather than mock-ups created by your agency.  Lorem Ipsum text will be trumped by real screen grabs which are more authentic.

#8 Allow plenty of time for internal sign-off

Awards have a deadline (the StepTwo deadline is May 19). As a submission will generally need to be cleared for public release, make sure you get the internal sign-off you need and leave plenty of time for this. It can take time to get those approvals.

#9 Avoid contests where you have to pay to enter

On principle, I don’t think you should have to pay to enter a competition. It immediately casts doubt on the integrity of the competition itself. Ours awards and many of the well-known competitions such as Nielsen Norman’s top ten are completely free to enter. Avoid those that charge that entry fee. [Intranetizen also adds the old adage that if you’re not paying then you’re the product]

#10 It’s pointless sending in half-hearted entries

Late, quick entries that don’t quite meet the criteria are reasonably common and often feel like a half-hearted effort to enter, rather than win, an award. Do spend the time to make one compelling submission to one contest, rather than submit four half-hearted entries to four competitions.

The Intranetizen team have been winners of StepTwo awards on a few occasions – maybe this is your year. They’re accepting entries now until May 19 in 4 different categories:

  • Intranet essentials
  • Social, collaboration and communication
  • Business, mobile and frontline solutions
  • Digital workplace

Good luck!