It’s one of the best days of the year—the day you decide to submit a nomination for a PR industry award (such as the Bulldog PR Awards) and win yourself, your brand, or your agency some acclaim and recognition for all your hard work.
As much as you’re looking forward to the outcome—that framed certificate on the wall and the bragging rights that go with it—there are a few things that still need to happen between now and then. Follow these five steps, as told by the Parks Department of the great city of Pawnee, to produce an award-winning nomination.
1. Get buy-in from leadership
You’re probably excited to get started on writing that epic submission, but still need your boss’s approval. Two common barriers between you and your “yes” are usually the cost and the time commitment of submitting a nomination. In the short-term, it may not seem like the best choice to put budget and people power towards an award you may not even win, but it’s the long-term benefits that you should use to convince your boss of your plan’s merit.
Winning an award is an extraordinary boost for your reputation. An industry award says credibility, authority, and a track record of success, three things that potential customers care about. This award could be the factor that gets you their business. As we know with earned media, having someone else praise you is way better than you praising yourself.
If you are on a tight budget, most awards will offer some sort of early bird entry fee or even discount codes along the way to help augment the cost. If possible, sign up for email alerts to make sure you don’t miss out on these potential savings.
Once you’ve made your case and earned that resounding “yes” from your boss, it’s time to move onto step 2.
2. Put your writing skills to work
Being able to write well is foundational to good PR. Now’s your chance to put that skill on full display and write the best nomination form the judges have ever seen.
But… before you do, take a breath and start with an outline. You want to make sure that you’re hitting every important point on the judging criteria. Don’t miss out on your win because you overlooked a requirement. Pay close attention to any helpful material the program puts out on how to write a compelling submission.
Then amass all the required examples, illustrations, multimedia, quotes, or whatever else you need before you start typing away. Don’t wait until everything is written before you talk to the other people involved, be that your boss, another department head, or a member of your team. It’s far easier to add info to an outline than to try and squeeze it into the final copy.
Alright, now that you’ve done your plotting, it’s time to get writing!
3. Think like an editor
Your first draft won’t get you a win. We don’t care how good you think you are, everyone needs an edit. We recommend reading your submission aloud to catch grammatical errors and sentences that don’t quite slip off the tongue. Then get a fresh pair of eyes to review the nomination form. Likely, they’ll catch something you’ve overlooked and help you add that final shiny polish.
4. Believe in yourself and submit
If you’ve followed steps 1-3, then you’re ready. We know it can be a little bit daunting to hit submit but it’s the last thing standing between you and your win. So, go for it!
5. Celebrate your success
This is the best step. Spread the good news! Announce your win in a press release. Write a blog for your website. Share it in your company’s Slack or Microsoft Teams channel (your colleagues will want to help you celebrate!). Add a new badge to your landing page. Post about it on social. But make sure to follow the program guidelines on distributing communications about your win. They may have restrictions on how you can use their logo or a certain way they want you to reference them.
As a final bonus step, throw yourself a little dance party! You deserve it.