Making the grade – top tips for miaList success

So, you’ve decided to nominate an individual or a team from your organisation for a potential place on the prestigious miaList 2019… Here, to help ensure they have the best chance of making the shortlist, we provide Custard Communications’ top tips that were presented during a recent Business Breakfast workshop.

Make sure the miaList is right for your nominee

You should only nominate an individual or a team that has a realistic chance of success. The overwhelming feedback from the judges every year is it’s not enough for a nominee to simply be ‘doing their day job’. To help with that decision, make sure you:

  • Read the entry criteria thoroughly and make sure you can respond to EVERY point on the guidelines and provide all the required information. This is their subtle way of saying ‘these are the exact things the judges are looking for’, so make sure all of them are covered somewhere in your entry
  • Look at past winners as this will give you an idea of what it takes to win, as well as if its attracting the right calibre of entrants that you would like your nominee to be seen alongside

Tell a story

Think of your award entry like the plotline of a movie. Structure it with a beginning that sets the scene introducing the candidate or team, keep a clear narrative throughout and go out with a bang – end on the big wins or a closing statement that says exactly why you are better than all of the competition. Evoke feelings in the judges; try to make them smile with an entertaining anecdote or include a human-interest success story that tugs at the heartstrings. Of course, you need all the facts and figures in their too, but this approach will help your entry keep the attention of the judges all the way through.

Throughout the entry make sure you demonstrate how the nominee:

  • Delivers consistent results
  • Goes above and beyond the call of duty
  • Seeks ways to improve operations e.g. cost-saving methods or driving business performance or standards
  • Is a strong team player
  • Is highly self-motivated
  • Acts as a source of support, encouragement or inspiration to those around them
  • Is a true ‘brand ambassador’ for their organisation
  • Is creative when problem-solving
  • Shows initiative and has a flair for innovation, new ideas and driving something new
  • Shows a desire for professional development and is always willing to embrace new challenges

Stick to the rules!

It might sound obvious, but the miaList entry guidelines are there for a reason. The rules are:

  • Anyone working in the sector can be nominated
  • Provide 300-500 words of why the individual or team should be recognised. Don’t go over this wordcount
  • 3x pieces of supporting evidence – choose from the items listed below and refer to them in your entry
  • Nominations are not accepted by PR companies on behalf of their clients
  • You cannot nominate yourself
  • Deadline: 24 May 2019

Evidence is everything

You could have the most incredible candidate or team, but if you’ve got no way of measuring their success, it’s unlikely that you’ll succeed with your nomination. Some of the things you may need to consider including to substantiate your claims:

Individual success

  • Personal feedback– reviews, appraisals, customer or colleague feedback
  • Evidence of business impact– research results, sales figures, year-on-year increases
  • Community/charity involvement– testimonials
  • Personal contribution to company achievements– AIM, Green Tourism, Tourist Board ratings etc.
  • Commissioned research– internal or external

Team success

  • Financial information– turnover and profit, sales figures, spend-per-head, year-on-year increases
  • Customer data– booking figures, booking trends, customer demographics, booking enquiries, satisfaction ratings
  • Website data– visitor numbers, domain authority, online enquiries, online sales
  • Anecdotal evidence– customer and colleague testimonials, reviews, guest feedback
  • Commissioned research– internal or external
  • Printed collateral– flyers, menus, checklists

Stand out from the crowd

The miaList judges could be looking at over 100 entries, so your nomination really has to stand out from the crowd to be recognised. Imagine you’re a miaList judge and you’ve already read 99 award entries – what would capture your interest when all you really want to do is get to the end of the pile?

Think about how your entry is presented – make it easy on the eye. Large blocks of lengthy text can be off-putting whereas catchy titles and headline statistics are far more likely to stand out.

The old adage is true, a picture is worth a thousand words, so if you’re able to use images you definitely should. Video also helps give judges a real taste of what your nominee is about. It could be a montage of video testimonials or footage filmed on your phone at an event, but include it as supporting evidence and your entry will be a lot more memorable.

And finally... Proofread your entry!

You want your entry to have the very best chance and to appear professional. Before hitting the button to submit it, it’s always worth getting someone else to proofread your submission to ensure it meets and covers all the requirements, and there’s no silly spelling or grammatical errors.

Good luck!