There are plenty of reasons why people enter awards. And there are a few reasons why people don’t.
I was quite cynical about them myself for a while. I believed that the most likely way to win one was to be popular or rich enough to sponsor an awards ceremony. Those opinions may still be correct for some but I prefer to look at awards as more of an opportunity these days.
In this post I’ll outline why I think you should be entering your podcast for awards and provide you with some top tips for making your entry stand out.
Why you should enter awards
Review your work
It’s always good to look back on what you’ve created and how far you’ve come. Award entries give you the opportunity to do exactly that.
Not everything you make will be brilliant but you should be able to see an improvement over time. I’ll sometimes go back to my very first episode and compare that to my most recent episode as a bit of a confidence booster.
Some of the bigger awards, like the British Podcast Awards allow you to include additional information along with any audio they ask for on the entry form. This is a great way to delve into your analytics and see how your podcast is performing.
Remember, you’re trying to win an award here, so don’t be hard on yourself. Look for the positives and if you find things that aren’t so good, make a promise to yourself to work on making them better.
They’re a great marketing opportunity
One of the toughest challenges for any podcast is getting people to know it exists and listen to it. Simply posting on social media that you’ve got a new episode out doesn’t cut the mustard.
Each social media app is a content platform in its own right and so you should be posting unique content to each one. Coming up with unique content is the difficult bit.
But what if you won an award for your podcast? You’d share that everywhere, right?
And not only would you be sharing it, but the awards themselves will do it too. That’s free marketing right there.
To feel good about yourself
Imagine how you’d feel if you won an award for your podcast. You’d feel brilliant. I know you would because that’s how I felt when I won my award.
As podcasters, we don’t set out with the aim of winning an award. But it’s great when someone writes a great review or emails you to tell you how much they enjoy the podcast.
Getting an award is even better.
It’s something that you can use to remind yourself of the good work you’re doing and, if you get a physical trophy, it’s a lovely thing to look at.
How to win a podcast award
Now that we’ve established the reasons why it’s good to enter awards, let’s talk about how you actually win one.
While there’s no guarantee that you will win an award for your podcast, it’s pertinent to know that it’s not the best podcasts that win awards, it’s the best entries.
Most awards are judged by a panel or individual people who will be tasked with going through dozens of entries. In order to catch their eye – or in podcasting’s case, ear – you’re going to need to have an entry that stands out.
Here are my top tips for making a stand out entry that may lead to you winning an award.
1. Read the rules
It sounds like the most obvious thing to do but you’d be surprised at how many entries are wasted simply because they don’t meet the criteria for the award.
Some awards will want you to include audio clips from your podcast, while others will want full episodes. Some will be very specific about their qualifying terms and some will expect evidence of download numbers.
Make sure you don’t fall at the first hurdle and waste your entry by not following the rules.
2. Provide supporting evidence
You’re probably thinking that podcasting award entries are about good audio. And while this is mostly true, providing additional documentation will make your entry look well thought out and force the judges to spend more time looking at your entry.
If your entry includes audio clips from your podcast, it’s a good idea to include a tracklist and a bit about each clip you’ve included. You could also tell the story of your podcast, show how it’s grown and provide any press clippings or comments you’ve received.
3. Start strong
It’s tempting to start your entry with your theme music or opening monologue but is that really going to capture the judge’s attention?
Instead, start with something that really stands out. Maybe a guest on your podcast said something hilarious, controversial or thought-provoking. Aim to stop the person listening from writing on their judging form and sit up and take notice of your content.
4. Play it to your mum
One of the best ways to get feedback on your entry is to play it to your Mum.
Getting someone who doesn’t listen to your podcast is the best way of replicating what it will be like for the judge(s) to hear your entry.
You want to know whether your entry is understandable to someone who is new to your podcast. Does it explain what your podcast is about? Is everything clear and audible? Does it make them want more?
If your mum/best friend/random stranger thinks they have a clear idea of what your podcast is about, there’s a good chance a judge will too.
5. Don’t leave it to the last minute
There will be a deadline for you to get your award entry in by. Don’t make the mistake of leaving it until the last minute to get your entry in.
Treat it like you do an episode of your podcast. Take time to plan it out, edit it and make sure it’s the best it can be before submitting it to the judges.
As I said before, it’s the best entries, not podcasts, that win awards. If you don’t spend time on your entry, making it the best it can be, you won’t win.
Some awards for you to enter
Here are some of the well known podcasting awards which I think you should consider entering your podcast into.
- British Podcast Awards
- Discover Pods Awards
- Audio Production Awards
- Audio & Radio Industry Awards
- Audio Verse Awards (for audio fiction)
What’s stopping you from entering your podcast into an award?
Entering podcast awards are a great way of taking a step back and looking at what you’re doing well and finding areas to improve. While some will require a fee, I’d argue that it’s well worth paying for going through the entry process alone.
There are loads of different awards out there too, so you’ll definitely find one that matches your podcast. Don’t just look at podcast specific awards either. There may be a podcast category in an awards event for the subject your podcast is about. Or perhaps there’s an awards event local to your area that you could enter.
Whatever the award is for, winning it will give you one of the best feelings of your life.
So what’s stopping you from entering your podcast into awards? Have you won an award and how did it make you feel? Are there any awards I’ve missed? Let me know by leaving me a comment below.