Since entering awards can be time consuming and overwhelming, how can you make the most of your investment to get recognition for your team’s work? From my nearly two decades of judging and writing entries, consider these three tips based on what seems to help award applicants rise to the top:
• Select only your best work. It may seem like common sense, but the PR campaign or tactics you decide to enter need to meet or exceed the award program’s required sections and criteria. For example, the Silver Anvil Awards from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) seek meaningful evidence of research, planning, execution and evaluation. Make sure you have enough well-rounded work, facts and results to satisfy the requirements, as this is often where some entries fall short on judges’ scores.
• Tell an impactful story using the 3 Cs. Make your written summary compelling (bring your business challenge and smart solution to life for judges), cohesive (all sections of your entry should be easy to follow and understand), and clear (avoid industry jargon since most judges may not work in your sector). Put the bulk of your time and energy into the written summary since that’s where judges focus most of their review. Save the rest of your effort for compiling any back-up information and proof-reading.
• Set and show measurable goals. Many entries don’t outline quantifiable objectives and business outcomes, making it tough for judges to know what you set out to accomplish and, most importantly, how you specifically defined success. Avoid vague goals like “increase brand awareness” without any indication of why, how and how much, and ensure you set measurable goals in your upfront campaign planning.
Want to learn more and receive additional tips? The Public Relations Society of America is offering a “Best Practices for Submitting Your Silver Anvil Entry” webinar on Feb. 3 from 3-4 p.m. ET. I’m co-presenting, and it’s free for PRSA members.