They’ve arrived! Most Wanted and The It List 2018 are now open for entries, so it’s time to turn some serious attention to planning how you’ll make your submission truly stand out. Whether you’re a brand-new entrant (welcome!) or a seasoned award pro, here are just a few handy hints to help you on your way…
Choose your category wisely
What do you really want to win? Think about where your strengths lie and play to those, then consider whether you have enough evidence to support your entry. Remember, some MWIT awards (like The Visionary) don’t necessarily require a back-catalogue of work to enter. Our 2017 champ Casey Coleman won that particular category by creating a collection especially for the It List!
However, be aware that others categories – like Most Wanted’s Best Salon Team – ask you to include case studies from the past 12 months. If you’re keen on a particular award, but haven’t got enough material to enter this year, take note of the criteria and start planning your 2019 entry now – it’s never too early to start!
Be individual, but stick to the criteria
Once you know which categories you want to enter, it’s time to really focus on your USPs and the story behind your entry. Take the time to comprehensively set out your strategy and make sure you use the entry criteria as a guide – each category has different requirements and these are essential to be eligible for the judging stage, so make sure you tick every box. We receive hundreds of submissions each year, so think about what will make you and your entry stand out from the crowd!
Get inspiration from past winners
While every MWIT winner is unique, it can help to look at previous years’ champions to see why they were ‘the chosen ones’. Look at their businesses, see how they interact on social media – these days, you can often get a feel for why someone might have won because success leaves clues. But don’t get put off if you feel you don’t measure up! Often, it turns out they’ve entered many times before they went on to win, and learnt something new each time. If you need an example, just look at Ky Wilson who scooped last years’ It Guy title on what was his sixth attempt at glory! He has even shared his winning entry on his website – check it out here.
As soon as you have an idea of which categories you are going to enter, you can start mapping out how you are going to present your content. Will you hand-make it or have someone design it for you? Do you need to film anything? This year, some categories have the option to include a video element in your entry, so check out the criteria to see whether you’re able to do so. You also need to consider the timeframe in which will you need to complete your entry and get it in the post to meet the awards deadline. The sooner you start thinking about all this, the more powerful your entry will be.
Think like a judge
What do you think the judges would want to see from your entry? Although the judging line ups for both awards change every year, have a look at who has judged your category in the past and think what might catch their eye. For example, for a creative-based award, the chances are the judges will be creative types too, so think how you’d like to be presented with information. We know you can’t read minds, but getting into the judges’ ‘space’ can focus what you can do to catch their eye. The majority of judges are also very visual, so bear in mind pages upon pages of text might not be their thing…
Most Wanted and The It List judges are looking for individuals and salons who stand out – who are doing something amazing and something different. So, take what you have and harness it. Let your personality shine through, show your human side, be your authentic self. Pouring your heart and soul into an entry creates impact, trust us.
There is no failsafe formula to becoming a finalist for Most Wanted or The It List, but setting yourself up for success by thinking about some of these six key things is a great start. The awards present the perfect chance to get your creative juices flowing and are a great opportunity to show your peers (and the rest of the world!) just how brilliant you are. At Creative HEAD HQ, we can’t wait to see your entries flooding through our doors in a few months’ time. We’ve already warned the postman…
Keep your eyes peeled for continued coverage here on creativeheadmag.com and over on the Most Wanted and It List microsites in the lead up to September’s Grand Final. We’ll be posting competition updates, news, tips, inspiration and a whole load more to help you on your awards journey!