Awards - how to maximise your PR
As you may have read recently, I’ve been shortlisted as a finalist in the Kent Women in Business Awards (KWIBA) and I’m thrilled!
I went fully self-employed with Izzy PR last year and one thing I wanted to do was to enter awards, hopefully get shortlisted and hopefully get a win!
But, just being a part of the awards events and meeting people at them was also what I had in mind – always networking!
So…now I, and many other great business women have been shortlisted, I wanted to give you a few tips on how to maximise the PR on it and not waste the opportunity before and after the awards ceremony.
You can prepare much of this in advance, by using what we call in the trade as a ‘holding piece’.
You basically write two versions – one for if you win and the other if you don’t. They won’t be vastly different but will allow you to get your PR out asap after the ceremony.
While everyone else is thinking about writing a PR or instructing their media team/outsourced PR like me, you will be ahead of the game and have your news out there first!
You will just need to change the intro and the quotes - but make sure you check it through and don't send out the wrong version! (I've seen that done before!)
Let people know you’ve been shortlisted on your timelines
Follow and share content from the awards organisers
Join in conversations with others who are shortlisted or attending – start networking before you even arrive!
Follow others who are going – and tag them in posts to start conversations and build relationships
Post regular content in the countdown to the awards event
Post live from the event – capture it on your timelines!
Share posts at the event – from the organiser’s timelines and other attendees
Find out if they have a hashtag for the event and use it!
Post in the days after too – keep the momentum going just for a little bit longer!
Add your award success to the footer of your emails (if you're a finalist or winner)
Let your database know you won it and why – it adds to the value of your services. You can do it as an email or within your newsletter, perhaps thanking them for their loyalty and letting them know your gratitude for being a client/customer.
Blog – if you have one, write one! It will not only update your website but also give you some a reason to link back to your website when you post on social media. Add a photo of you with the award at the event – great proof!
Add ‘finalist’ or ‘winner and the awards logo to your website so people know you did well or won – whatever the outcome!
Don’t feel shy about pitching a story to business or industry media. It’s very ‘me me me’ but it has to be!
Let them know you won the award and what led you there – perhaps it was a life-changing event that would interest others to read about, perhaps you invented a new product, or are innovating in another way.
Pitch it to them in an email, either as a short taster piece or a full PR. If you’re doing the latter, include a quote from you and also let them know if you are available for further interview or comment.
Follow it up with a phone call or email a week later and see if they take you up on it. It’s also a good idea to find the journalists you’re pitching to on social media and see what they usually write about – this will help you to get in tune with them and give your pitch an edge.
Feel free to make it personal too – if they’ve tweeted about going on holiday, ask if they had a good time, or if they’ve posted pix from a great meal, talk about it. You might have been there and have that in common or you might now want to go. Small talk!
They’re so cheap – get a few printed up with the awards logo and ‘finalist’ or ‘winner’ to use over the next few months to people who you want to know about it.
If you do speaker slots, seminars or talks, make sure it’s included in your information if you want that audience to know about it.
Include it in your talk if it’s relevant too.
If you’ve won an award and have staff, celebrate! Winning the award will be great for team morale and a little party in the office, a meal out or drinks will boost it evet more and it’s a great way to treat the team to recognise their input to the award too.
Get all of the awards you want to enter on your calendar and get writing your entry well in advance. You won't be rushing and you'll send in a thorough entry too.