Media, Public relations

The winner takes it all… 4 reasons why you should enter awards

Natalie Ciccocioppo writes…

We’re all more than aware of the glory that comes with winning one of those golden statuettes known as Oscar, but there are many awards programs out there that can provide you (even if you’re not a Hollywood star!) and your business with the ideal platform to have your achievements recognised at a regional, state, national, even international level.

Tim Hughes and other Public Relations Institute of Australia award winners, October 2010. Photo by Julia Angove

No matter what industry sector you work in, whether education, media, mining, health, property, tourism, arts, advertising, food, science, manufacturing, hospitality, retail… you name it, there’s likely to be an awards program which acknowledges success and innovation in your area.

But why should you put yourself, or your business forward for an award?

I can almost hear you grumbling, “but that award submission will take me an eon to write!” If your business has achieved significant things in the last twelve months, it’s worth putting in the time and effort to nominate for awards for several reasons. Read on… 

1. Recognition from your industry peers

“My awards are lovely, I love to show them off.”
Film, stage and television actress Doris Roberts

This is the obvious reason, the kudos.

But awards are about more than the flashy trophy.

In most cases, these awards are judged by a panel of respected experts from your industry. By winning or being shortlisted for an award, your hard work is being recognised by your peers as making a considerable contribution to your industry.

Putting your nomination forward, even if you don’t win, provides the opportunity to showcase your business and increase awareness amongst your industry peers aka the judges.  

You don’t necessarily need to be the largest company to win either, the stories and accomplishments of the ‘unsung heroes’ often catch the judge’s eyes.

2. Evaluation of your business successes and challenges

The actual process of writing an awards submission provides a great opportunity for your business to evaluate itself, recognising both successes and challenges against specific industry criteria.

Businesses owners have said that being involved in this process provides them with a unique opportunity to take a step back and reflect on their operations by ‘putting it down on paper’, celebrating their strengths and acknowledging areas where they can improve and grow.

3. Customer recognition

Awards are a strong endorsement for your business.

Awards play a valuable role in the consumer choice and as such, they can assist your business increase its sales and market share. Awards strengthen the credibility of your brand, assisting you to market your services and products as being of highest quality.

Awards can help businesses attract new customers, particularly if your award win is leveraged effectively across your company’s marketing and PR activities.

Many awards programs will supply a logo to winners which can be used across printed marketing collateral, written communications (eg. email signatures, stationary), internal and external signage, the possibilities to showcase your status as an award-winning business are endless.

And I know this might sound a bit obvious but display your award with pride – preferably where your customers can see it! (Don’t use it is a bookend on the office bookshelf.)

Industry recognised awards can also provide winners with a significant business development tool. Being an award-winning business can assist your organisation’s position against competitors when it comes to securing new client business, applying for grants, and attracting new staff, sponsors and investors, just to name a few.

As those wise philosophers known as ABBA once said, the winner takes it all

4. Publicity and networking opportunities

Winning an award is a good news story for your business – shout it from the rooftops!

You have the potential to attract significant exposure of your company’s award-win through traditional and digital mediums. As well as mainstream media, consider industry-specific publications and social media.

And if you’re nominated, try and head along to the awards presentation evening. As well as making sure you’re there to collect your award in person, there are several other benefits. Often these events have a media presence, providing a publicity opportunity for your awards win. Awards events also provide networking opportunities with key industry figures and other nominees and award winners. Also, consider your attendance as a contribution to staff morale by providing a night out for staff and colleagues to celebrate and thank them for their contribution to your businesses success.

These are just a few of the opportunities available to your business through participation in awards programs. As experienced writers and editors, your PR consultancy can assist you with preparing awards submissions, and if you’re lucky enough to win, ensuring that your award is effectively leveraged across traditional and digital media.

So, don’t be shy, your achievements deserve the opportunity to be recognised!

– Natalie Ciccocioppo

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

Media, Media training, Public relations

What is news? Part Two

In the second of a two part blog Hayley tackles the age old question: “What is News?”. Last week it’s was all about how to identify a story and this week looks at how to make sure that story hits the headlines.

Newspaper venfor

“In the case of news, we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation.”
Voltaire, French writer and philosopher, 1694-1778

The most professional of journalists will always want to double check their facts and as a result the news they cover will be evidence-based and the numbers will tally, just as you would want them. Is your story based on facts and not just hearsay or opinion? Is it a thinly veiled sales promotion masquerading as news? Consider the follow up questions that a journalist may ask; are your spokespeople aware of all the facts and key messages? Are there skeletons anywhere on your premises that could end up stealing your intended headline?

“There is no such thing as national advertising. It’s one man or woman reading one newspaper in the kitchen or watching TV in the den.”
Morris Hite, Former Chairman, Tracy-Locke, 1910-1983

No matter how many millions of newspapers are printed or how many TVs are on, the reaction to your news will come from individuals. Will the average person at home understand the facts and figures behind your news story? Will they empathise with the subject? Are they the type of people you most want to start a conversation with and is this news your number one choice of topic?

“The one function that TV news performs very well is that when there is no news we give it to you with the same emphasis as if it were.”
David Brinkley, American newscaster for NBC and ABC, 1920-2003

Broadcast news provides quick updates and results whereas print news explains the updates and results. TV presents a moment in time built around video and interviews whereas newspapers are more able to present the whole story, its impact and may add opinionated comment. Newspapers can be read at leisure whereas a broadcast piece is issued in concise soundbites designed to fit a rigid timeframe. The mediums appeal to different senses so a story with striking audiovisual content may feature prominently on broadcast but be relegated to a side column in print. And time is of the essence for all news outlets but even more so for broadcast. If a story has already made the newspaper that morning, the broadcaster will be looking for a new angle or a new story altogether.

“Television saved the movies. The Internet is going to save the news business.”
Matt Drudge, Editor of the Drudge Report, 1966-present

In a rapidly evolving technological world and with the ever-rising expectations of news consumers, trends and editorial direction in news reporting are in a state of flux. PR consultants, especially those with a background in journalism themselves, are best placed to advise on using these trends to the client’s advantage. What may be an ‘out there’ concept today may be standard PR practice next week, so take a risk!

“If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.”
Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft, 1955-present

Clients employ PR counsel to help advise them (in part) how to pitch to the media and so should listen to that counsel. Otherwise why spend that dollar? In fact, if spent wisely that dollar will allow clients to concentrate on the day to day operations of their business leaving the experts in the media field to identify news opportunities, discover hidden opportunities, and pitch stories at the right angle to the right journalist at the right time for maximum exposure and return on investment.

– Hayley Burwell

Check out Part One here!

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.