Entering awards can seem like a daunting task; there are many questions to answer, with word counts to adhere to and the application process can take up a lot of your precious time. However, it is worth considering the impact that this powerful USP could have on your PR and marketing campaigns.

Writing the application can be time-consuming, but it is also worth every minute spent on it. The types of questions that are asked of your business allow you to really focus on your USPs, what you offer to clients, and how you effectively deliver your service to them. In a way, this allows you to audit your business, and will show you where you are excelling and where you might need to tweak aspects. Often, you will be asked to collect testimonials or comments from your clients, which will give you an excellent idea of how your business is running and you will also be able to use these after the awards are over. We have successfully collected a number of testimonials from clients through applying for awards.

Applications are usually open for some time, so you have plenty of opportunity to prepare your answers. It may also be worth asking some of your staff to help you with the responses to the questions posed, saving you time and offering a fresh perspective.

A well-written application could at the very least propel you into the shortlist for the awards, and usually finalists are given the tools and opportunity to advertise this in their campaigns. Being shortlisted for an award is an incredible achievement in itself and sharing this information with current and potential clients could prove to be highly valuable. Different awards generally produce badges for finalists, allowing you to display your newly-achieved status proudly, and maybe even grasp a few extra votes along the way.

If you are shortlisted, it is definitely worth buying a ticket to the ceremony, which is often a glamorous and highly publicised event. As well as getting to hear the winner live, ceremonies can also prove to be a valuable networking event, allowing you to engage with other industry professionals.

Since winning our award in December, we have been able to add yet another USP to our portfolio, and have used it to its full potential. Having award winning status on our website and social media consolidates our excellent service and has the capacity to draw in potential new enquiries. We received a lot of positive attention on digital media after winning the award and many of our clients would say the same.

At the very least, even if you aren't successful in winning, you will still have gained a unique auditing exercise through completing the application. Thinking about your business from a potentially award-winning point of view will give you a unique insight and give you the opportunity to make any changes or improvements. You will also be able to see where you are being most successful and how you can maximise on these benefits.