On the surface, entering awards can appear to be a bit of a pain. They generally require information-gathering, writing, editing, the awkwardness of vanity, the horror of finding a decent photo of yourself (and/or evidence of your achievement) and – occasionally – an entry fee.
So why on earth am I suggesting taking part is its own reward?
The simple act of information-gathering for an award can be a very useful business tool. It provides an opportunity to review your work practices and achievements, picking out what you’ve done well and what can be improved upon.
More importantly, it provides you with a body of information about why you and your business are great. And there’s no rule regarding how or where the basic text for your award entry can be used: Does your website need updating? Are you preparing new publicity material? Do you need to provide a testimonial to a potential new client? Or does your boss need reminding of your talents?
Once you’ve got the award entry information to hand it’s a lot easier to update and share (and enter more awards), with the reward being in how well-prepared you have become. Of course, it’s also good to have the information to refer back to as a reminder for yourself.
There’s no guarantee of success, but once you’ve entered the award becoming a finalist is the first step towards maximising publicity.
At the very least your name will appear on the awards’ website, but it’s likely the organisers will also distribute a press release. You should do the same, in particular to your local and trade media.
Mentioning your shortlisting on your company website – and in your email signature – immediately shows prospective clients or partners you’ve done work worthy of recognition. Sending out your own press release then magnifies this announcement and, depending on the sector, can put your name in front of a wider audience than you would usually encounter. Also, don’t be afraid to – within reason – mention the other finalists, as even if the reader doesn’t know you, they may know of one of your award competitors and be reassured by the comparison.
Whether you win or not, this shortlisting can still be the key to opening doors if you publicise and reference it correctly.
As an extra, the awards night itself can provide further benefits: your name will be up in lights; the organisers will be shouting about their event; and there can be enormous opportunities from the networking either among your personal guests or with the other finalists and attendees. And that’s before we even consider the potential reach of social media and other people’s publicity at the time.
Victory is obviously the ultimate goal. However, don’t just settle for success. Make the most of your achievement and the benefits it can bring.
Once again, the organisers will naturally do their own publicity and you should do yours. Updating your website (again) and email signature (again) and issuing a press release are the obvious ones, but in the long-term you should also be prepared to reference your recognition when pitching for work – and entering more awards.
Admittedly you might not achieve that third step of winning, but the benefits, positive publicity and the simple act of organisation that can be achieved for the small cost of a few hours and an entry fee are still remarkably cost-effective.
However, should you still have concerns about entering or identifying relevant awards, do get in touch. We have extensive experience of preparing nominations – and helping clients to shout about their successes – and we would be pleased to help as part of a one-off project or a longer-term relationship. Alternatively, we also have experience of running awards.
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