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How to enter your podcast for awards

Photo of rows and rows of golden award figurines by Tommao Wang on Unsplash

Becky Lamb-Pritchard

Becky is head of marketing at This is Distorted, audio-first content agency, and has previously worked at Bauer Media, ITV and Global delivering marketing and comms strategies. Connect with Becky on LinkedIn here.

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It’s that time of year again when everyone is pulling award submissions together and often it’s a case of scrambling about for the best clips and a quick write-up. After a good few years of submitting award entries, some for my own work and some for other people’s work, I’ve learned that, like most things if you are going to bother then it’s worth doing it properly. 

Below are 10 tips to help you craft an award-worthy award entry:

1. Find the time 

Start as soon as possible – basic but true! There’s a lot to do and consider if you want to give your pod the best chance of getting shortlisted.

2. Pick your category

This may seem very obvious but it’s often where opportunities are missed. So you have a podcast, let’s say a comedy show – perfect, there is an obvious category. But would your podcast stand out more in another category? Do you interview guests each week? Would it work in the interview category, or education? Going through each category and really thinking about how your podcast might fit could give you a new angle but don’t force it. If you’ve only ever interviewed one guest then submitting into the best interview category is probably a long shot.

3. Listen to your show again  

You may have already decided where your podcast fits but listen again with an open mind. You might find a recurring theme or topic that keeps cropping up and would work perfectly in an alternative category. Or, you might have the perfect episode in mind but by the time you’ve clipped it down to the appropriate length it’s lost something. This can happen, not all amazing episodes or shows are meant for shortening and it can be disheartening but this might be when you have to think outside the box and look at it again. 

4. Remember, one size doesn’t fit all 

Unfortunately, one montage and one write-up isn’t suitable for every award or category you are going to enter. You must tailor your submission to suit the category you are entering and the different awards. Repeat keywords from the category throughout your write-up.

5. Get the write-up right

This is often an afterthought as more focus is spent on picking out clips (let’s face it, clips are the more enjoyable part) – but that’s a big mistake. It’s worth spending time and attention on the write-up section as this is where you can really tell your story. That’s what the write-up is, a story, and like every good story it has a beginning, middle and end with main character roles of heroes and villains. The villain is the gap, the missing hole that needed filling in the audio landscape and you and your podcast are the heroes.

Some awards split up the entry into obvious sections to help guide you but often, especially with audio awards, it’s a 500 or 800-word write-up. Using a story-telling format, the beginning is a place to explain what you wanted to achieve, what your objective was, why you started your podcast and why your audience needed it. The ‘why’ is a really significant part of the story and a place where you can really bring human need into play. The middle is where you can go to town on the production and creative parts of the podcast. And finally, the end, or the results where you can hammer home how successful your podcast has been.

6. Be human

Be yourself, talk like you would normally talk – don’t bamboozle judges with jargon. Make your entry clear and simple to understand from the beginning.

7. Be concise

What you don’t say is just as important as what you do say. Remove stuff that doesn’t add value or distracts from your story.

8. Think about results

“If you torture the data long enough it will confess” – Ronald Coase

To show the impact of your work, include results. This could be in the form of listener feedback or data but make sure they link back to the objectives you set out in the write-up and feel human. An example that stuck with me was: media metrics are not a result they are a fact. For example, detailing the amount of downloads your podcast gets only really resonates when it’s linked back to human interest – and then what happened after all these people listened? Remember to ask yourself, “so what”?

9. Include supporting material

This may be optional in the entry requirements, but consider it mandatory. Supporting material is an excellent place to show off even more. Adding a PDF is a great place to present wider coverage and results – for example, screen grabs of press support, screen grabs of audience comments, even screen grabs that demonstrate growth from graphs on Anchor! 

10.Get someone else to read and listen to your submission

It’s best if this person isn’t directly involved in the podcast, that way they can bring a fresh pair of eyes and ears to it. Remember the judges might not know you at all, anyone should be able to pick it up and understand simply why you and your podcast should win.

Best of luck to everyone and remember industry recognition is nice but it’s what your audience thinks that matters the most.

Follow This is Distorted on Instagram here and connect with Becky on LinkedIn here

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