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The inside scoop: Bulldog PR Awards judges’ insights show you how to craft entries that win

by | Apr 11, 2024 | Public Relations

We’ve gathered valuable advice from a few of the 2024 Bulldog PR Awards journalist judges to help you craft winning entries by asking them 5 essential questions. Renowned global columnist Christopher Elliott, Pulitzer Prize-winning Oregonian journalist Tom Hallman, Jr. and Bulldog editor Richard Carufel have been judging the Awards for over a decade—here’s what they had to say:

Bulldog PR AwardsQ1: What is the importance of measurable impact and results in a submission?

Richard: “Measurable impact is vital for evaluation. Applicants should provide specific details about the obstacles they faced, the strategies employed to overcome them, and the results achieved. It’s not just about the number of impressions; judges want to see specifics about earned media coverage and how the campaign adapted to challenges.”

Christopher: “Hard numbers are important. Usually, when we see PR pros emphasizing the prestige of the outlets over impressions, it means they don’t have the numbers. I think clients notice this. I do.”

Tom: “Impact is vital. Let judges know what impact meant going in, and what it means when later evaluated: impressions, sales, client satisfaction.”

Q2: How important is storytelling in a submission? Do you have any tips on how applicants can effectively convey their achievements and innovation?

Richard: “Storytelling is paramount in submissions. It allows judges to better understand the campaign’s narrative, including how challenges were addressed and creativity was utilized. Applicants should use storytelling to illustrate their adaptability and innovative thinking within the campaign.”

Christopher: “I think every successful campaign tells a compelling story. And people, including journalists, are drawn to a compelling story. My favorite entries are the ones that preview an interesting story that makes me want to click on a video or PDF to see the rest.”

Tom: “Tell judges how the campaign came about. Take us inside, show us the creative thinking, how the team worked together, how leadership led. Tell us the inside story.”

Q3: Are there any common mistakes or pitfalls applicants should avoid?

Richard: “One common mistake is being vague about results. Applicants should be specific about their achievements, including details about media coverage and meeting campaign goals. Clarity and specificity are key to a strong submission.”

Christopher: “The entries that brag about how they manipulated a journalist or influencer into carrying their message for free don’t go over well. The most forward-looking journalists like to see themselves as partners, not pawns.”

Tom: “Be clear, tell the judges with clarity what you wanted/needed to do and then how you did it.”

Q4: In your opinion, what sets apart an innovative submission from a conventional one?

Richard: “Innovation lies in highlighting unique components and adaptation within the campaign. It’s not always about introducing completely new approaches but showcasing how the campaign creatively addressed challenges and adjusted strategies. Applicants should emphasize these aspects to stand out.”

Christopher: “I love entries that do something completely different, are totally unexpected, change the discourse on a topic or shape the news in a significant way. I think the judges reward that kind of ambition with higher scores.”

Tom: “Creativity trumps the big budget or the use of a celebrity. Creativity is the elusive trait that makes a great campaign, and that starts with your team.”

Q5: What advice would you give to applicants to make their submissions stronger?

Richard: “To strengthen submissions, applicants should provide specific details about their results and innovative aspects of their work. Avoiding industry jargon and using clear, concise language will help judges understand the campaign’s impact and creativity more effectively.”

Christopher: “Keep it short, simple and direct. Tell a compelling story. Do something amazing.”

Tom: “It’s OK to brag. Be proud of your work.”

Edit and perfect until May 10!

We hope these tips from our judges can help you be more well-equipped to refine your Bulldog PR Awards entry. Remember, you have until the final deadline on May 10, 2024, to revise your entry and win big in any of our 60+ categories!

Enter the Bulldog PR Awards here.
Review this year’s 60+ categories here.

Our Awards team at your service

We’re looking forward to helping you shine a spotlight on your amazing work! For any questions about the awards process, please reach out to us at awards@bulldogreporter.com

Parisa Esmaeli
Parisa is the Program Coordinator for the 2024 Bulldog PR Awards.

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