Partner and Head of Legal Directories, Bids and Awards Linsay Leslie discusses how to craft an awards entry that will stand out to the judges, and provides her top tips on making some noise if you win.
In the digital age, effectively communicating your brand and reputation can be challenging, with so many different channels and so much competition. For law firms, this can be even more so in a sector where reputations can lag behind actual achievements.
Award wins are a differentiator – helping reinforce or change perceptions and reassuring clients that they have chosen the right lawyer. Having an award or two in your back pocket and the publicity that comes with it is also helpful when trying to lure the brightest talents to your team.
Partner at MD Communications and Head of legal directories, bids and awards Linsay Leslie was recently quoted in the Law Society Gazette’s cover story on how to win an award, saying:
‘The great thing about an award submission is that it is manageable and there are lots of awards out there. So, there is an award for every type of firm. Awards can mean a great deal if you get the right one. Externally, to GCs and other securers of legal services – from SMEs to large corporates, it provides a badge of quality and acts as a differentiator in a competitive market.’
So, what makes an awards entry stand out to the judges and how can you maximise ROI when you win? Take a look at our tips.
Do your research – scoping and writing a winning award will take time and resource, so be objective about your chances and strategic about the opportunities you go for. Read category guidelines carefully, check past winners and be realistic about how you rate against the competition.
Be concise and relevant – once you’ve decided to go for it, make sure to stick to the brief. Make the judges’ job as easy as possible by presenting an informed, concise submission packed full of relevant facts and evidence.
Avoid hot air – every firm will think they’re the best at what they do. You won’t stand out with sentences like ‘We’re the best firm for litigation in the UK’ – you need to prove it. Back up leading expertise and standout client service with statistics and examples of tangible improvements and benefits you’ve delivered to clients, as well as other market leading qualities.
Add some colour – don’t be drab – put yourself in the shoes of a judge who has trawled through 50 entries that day. Inject personality and passion into your writing. Be kind to the judges by cutting down those long paragraphs – highlight achievements in easy-to-read bullet points. Don’t veer off-course with long-winded discourse on areas that are not directly related to the award.
Make some noise, you’re a winner – put the winner’s logo on all your communications channels: your website, social media, email footer, blogs. Draft a press release – local media may want to shout about a local firm’s success. You can also use it as an opportunity to let journalists know that you have expertise in a certain area and can provide expert commentary for future articles or news pieces. Use it in your pitches to clients for work.
Don’t neglect the networking – awards ceremonies, whether virtual or IRL, are a great opportunity to work the room. How often do you find yourself surrounded by peers from such a variety of practices? The contacts you make here can add huge value to your firm.
Make the most of social media – online networking is so important. Congratulate other finalists on Twitter or LinkedIn and keep the conversation going. Build and maintain these new relationships. Create postcard graphics or a short video about the award win and post these on your social media channels. Encourage your team members to share this with their personal networks, or to interact with the firm’s posts, to help amplify the reach. Graphics add a ‘pop’ of colour to your newsfeed and help you stand out.
Some awards deadlines coming up:
Check out this handy list of all legal awards this year.
MD Communications has vast experience writing winning award submissions including most recently a shortlisted submission for the Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards Europe. We provide strategic guidance to help you direct your resources to the most beneficial opportunities and can scope and write submissions to meet the tightest of deadlines.
If you want help getting your awards submissions to stand out, get in touch.