So you want to be an award-winning PR pro?

There’s an irony to many public relations professionals’ work. While this is a generalized definition of our industry, so much of what we do is promoting an organization’s message and expertise to its audiences. But just as the cobbler’s children have no shoes, often we don’t take the time to do the same for our own work.

One way to demonstrate your PR know-how is by winning PR awards! If you’ve never gone after awards before, or haven’t had success with them in the past, here are some helpful tips to give your company’s reputation a boost.

Find the right awards

The fees for award entries can add up fast, so it’s good to be smart about which ones you go after. If you’re new to awards, your local PRSA chapter can be a great starting ground. Competition may be stiff depending on the size of your chapter and the category, but it’s admittedly easier than going straight for the national awards like the Silver Anvil.

Know what the judges are looking for

What projects have you worked on that include the Four-Step Process – research, planning execution and evaluation? Many judges will disqualify any entry that doesn’t include a measureable objective as part of the planning process. It’s important that your entries not only exemplify your agency’s best work, but also the best practices for our industry. If possible, get a copy of the judging criteria or score sheet so you can be sure your entries hit on what the judges are looking for. Pro tip: include lots of (relevant) metrics.

Repurpose your entry

Whether you win or lose, don’t put that awards entry on a shelf to collect dust. An awards entry essentially is a case study. Take the time to edit and reformat the entry into a case study to put on your website to show potential clients how amazingly talented you and your firm are.

Promote your win!

Now that you’ve won your award (obviously), tell the world. Write a blog post, post about it to social media, send a news brief to your newspaper business notes section – you know, all the things you’d recommend to a client.

When it comes to boasting about their work, many PR professionals become surprisingly reticent, but going after the right awards is a great way to take stock of the brilliant work you’ve done and showcase it to your peers and potential clients.

Greg Surber

Greg Surber, APR, is a public relations strategist through and through. He works on a variety of accounts, leading research projects and content strategies, but he also has extensive experience with more traditional PR efforts including national and trade media relations campaigns.

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