And the winner is…

Whether it is the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys or Miss America, we naturally are attracted to competitions and follow them because we want to know who is “best.”

There’s a certain mystique about award winners.  For businesses, winning awards can be a powerful tool to attract potential customers, boost employee morale and build awareness.

As they say at the lottery, you can’t win if you don’t play.  So here are a few steps to get your fair share:

  • Scout award opportunities. Check publications, websites, mailing lists and industry trade associations connected to your industry.  Also look at general business awards given by newspapers and general business publications.
  • Think ahead.  Award applications often are due three to six months prior to presentations.
  • Set a budget. Awards can be expensive.  In addition to the time it takes to apply, consider the entry fees for each application.  If you win, expect to pay to attend the luncheon or dinner, plus the cost for additional copies of the plaque/statue, etc.
  • It pays to apply early. Late applications often are penalized with higher entry fees.
  • Look for a match.  The more closely aligned your entry is with the award category, the better your chance of winning. Review previous winning entries for a clue about what the judges value.  Some award competitions even host free workshops on how to apply.
  • Merchandise your win.  When you capture the award, let customers, prospects, family and friends know about it.  Post the news on your website and send it out in your newsletter.  When it comes to making a choice between you and a competitor, the award may make the difference.
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