Greg Simpson, founder of Press for Attention PR and the PR and Communications Ambassador for the IoD in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, shares award-winning tips.
I was discussing the Bricks Awards with Tess from editorial and the wider commercial team at Business Link Magazine this week. I have sponsored them since way back and they are now a fixture in the business calendar.
The guys mentioned that there were hundreds of entries last year – not bad considering the pandemic factor! Hundreds! Trust me, this is NOT usual. Why? Well, most small businesses are REALLY BAD at awards and by that I mean they simply do not include them in their planning. Or sometimes, they don’t feel they deserve one. So, there are often not actually that many entries in “proper” awards – the ones you earn…
Well, trust me, if you’ve been through this pandemic, there is an award out there for you! However, it became apparent chatting with other businesses this last month that another BIG problem is that businesses simply don’t have time or the resources to write them properly. So they either don’t bother or they do it very, VERY late, which invariably leads to stress and frankly, pretty average award submissions.
Well, I sit on three awards panels (not including The Bricks) and I write lots of them. I know I read well over 100 entries last year of frankly varying quality. Harsh? Fair? To give you plenty of time this year, I thought I’d share some top tips on how I help my clients to win awards. I hope it is useful for you.
For starters, why bother?
Well, how about industry recognition? Local, regional, and sometimes national profile? How about a motivated workforce that is proud to be a part of your success? Nevermind the major leverage an award win can give to the rest of your marketing – if you harness the dark arts of PR!
So why don’t more people enter awards? I suspect the main reason is time. However, you need to consider these as a major part of your marketing and PR campaign, not an afterthought. Sure, there is a bit of science to it and some art (the creative bit) but basically it comes down to reading the criteria CAREFULLY and then making it as easy as possible for the judges to consider your case.
Now is NOT the time for florid prose! Although…there is a place for this… (warning, secret sauce alert).
Ssssshhhh…it is right at the start…
This is the bit the judges read first and tends to be the part they will read out IF you get to the final and you are waiting there, glass of wine in hand, as the names are read out.
So, if yours sounds like this: “We were established in 2002 to provide added value services to the Widget industry. Our commitment to SOMETHING or OTHER bland and jargon heavy issue and our inevitable PASSION (because nobody is going to say ‘APATHY’) for innovation is what lies at the heart of our success…”
Stop. It. Right. NOW!
Can you imagine a judge reading that and thinking “whoa, we’ve got a live one! Let me get a coffee and settle in, there’s gold dust here.” You want this bit to sound like they are about to announce the best thing since sliced bread!
Try this: “20 years ago we discovered a problem. Not just a wrinkle. Not an inconvenience. We had unearthed one of the biggest issues to ever face our industry. If it could be overcome (and we thought it could), it would save Widget manufacturers across the globe millions in costs, whilst also massively reducing the impact on our environment. So, we got to work. Two decades on…we did what follows below and it changed EVERYTHING!”
Do you see the difference? You’d at least read the next para or two! You actually WANT to know what they did. Like all good marketing, awards are all about storytelling.
Our clients see entering awards as part of their wider marketing strategy – they see the ROI. It is a fantastic way to gain objective third-party endorsement (a major goal of PR), great coverage and one of the best ways to foster employee and company relationships. People proudly point to articles in the press and say: “I work there.” Other highly-skilled people start thinking “maybe I should work there?”
So, ahead of the Bricks Awards launch, start to think about what other awards you might enter in 2022. They might be local, regional, national or industry based but you can bet that once you integrate them into your marketing, the effects can really make a difference.
Start now or get in touch with me and we’ll help you get cracking because I am launching something pretty darn cool this Spring which I think might help a lot of businesses. There’s even an offer!
Will I find them for you? Will I write them for you? Well…yes. That’s exactly what I will do and more, so much MORE! Here’s to your success!
A former business journalist, Greg Simpson is the author of The Small Business Guide to PR and has been recognised as one of the UK’s top 5 PR consultants, having set up Press for Attention PR in 2008.
He has worked for FTSE 100 firms, charities and start-ups and conducted press conferences with Sir Richard Branson and James Caan. His background ensures a deep understanding of every facet of a successful PR campaign – from a journalist’s, client’s, and consultant’s perspective.
See this column in the May edition of East Midlands Business Link Magazine.