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5 Tips to Writing an Award-Winning Project Submission

The CE Pro Home of the Year Awards is one of the best ways to show off your pet projects and receive a little bit of extra accolades for a job well done. There are many variables that contribute to project perfection—sensational synchronization of systems, seamless fusion of design and technology, and creative applications of products—but often times, in tight competition, a well-written submission can make all the difference on an award-winning project.

That’s because, while a picture is worth a thousand words, your project can’t speak entirely for itself. No, in the case of the awards, you’re not there simply to submit a project, you’re there to play hype man to the project, snag the judge’s attention, and clearly define what sets your projects apart from all the rest.

CE Pro just opened submissions for the Home of the Year Awards for this year, so if you’re thinking about entering, permit me to offer some tips on how to write a great submission that helps your project stand out from the competition.

5 Tips to Write and Award-Winning Project Submission

Tip #1: Use Bullet Points

If you’ve ever paid attention to online news media (like CE Pro) you may have noticed that compared to say, a novel, the paragraphs are a lot shorter. A lot of the time, especially for more breaking news, the prose gets right to the point, putting the important info front and center.

This is often because people nowadays move a lot quicker than they used to, and when judges are parsing through potentially hundreds of submissions, it pays off to make sure you get all the important information out there quickly and succinctly.

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In fact, being succinct is the best way to keep your audience (in your case, the judges, and in my case, you) engaged. And a great format for that is bullet points. All you need to do is:

Highlight each crucial part of the project as a bullet point.

And keep them no longer than a couple of sentences.

Formatting the text this way makes the entry easier to read and to analyze. Chances are even if you glazed over the majority of that text, you at least caught the two bullet points above.

Tip #2: Highlight Your Problem Solving Chops

Sure, the finished installation is what wins the award, but when we see hundreds of home theaters in a year, we (and quite frankly a lot of your peers) would love to know how your home theater gets made. The journey alone can significantly raise the award-worthiness of a project.

Structuring the submission to include this problem-solving narrative stands out and can be far more compelling for judges to read through if you had a challenging element that needed to be overcome. Maybe there were major structural limitations or scheduling conflicts that challenged your team to think outside of the box—your ability to problem solve is a key indicator of your level of professionalism and integration expertise.

Tip #3: Point Out Any and All Unique Features

Focus less on the “ordinary” and more on the “extraordinary.” There are many aspects about home systems installations that have become standard practice, and while these facets are certainly important, it’s the unconventional parts of a project that really make it stand out.

Maybe you set up a security system that starts up a rotating car display for a collector arriving home from work, maybe you went all out on the audio and installed underwater speakers for poolside music enjoyment, or maybe you built a custom screen for a client chasing the most immersive home theater out there.

The point is, you want to make sure your project gets the attention it deserves, and highlighting the unique elements of a project while describing their purpose accomplishes just that.

#4: Strut Your Eye for Design

As the worlds of tech and design continue to mesh, it’s important your project demonstrates this unity. We’re not saying hide the tech—unless that’s what the client wants—but we are saying an image of a nice, clean finished room is going to sell the judges a lot more on your accomplishments than in progress images or close-ups of racks—though, those are nice as well.

It’s the complete view of a living space that tells the real story of the home, and shows how you are able to reconcile the functional and aesthetic demands of the client as a truly professional integrator.

#5: Lay Out the Equipment

Ask yourself: Which brands of home systems equipment make this project hum?

Supplying a complete list of equipment with your submission helps the judges identify the project’s level of performance, integration and professionalism. This year we’re also including a Best New Technology Project category, so the importance of the equipment going into these projects is even higher than it has been in previous years.

 Again, put this information into bullet points for easy reading and comparison.

If You’ve Got a Project You Want to Submit, Do It!

If you’re planning on submitting to the Home of the Year awards, don’t wait, as early bird pricing closes June 14, 2024. A link to the Home of the Year award’s submission page can be found here, and stay tuned for our coverage of the winners when we announce them at CEDIA Expo 2024 in Denver.

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