Winning an award is fabulous PR, but so too, is being shortlisted, which is why your PR needs to start from the moment you submit your entry. It’s then that you can push start on the PR machine to get the most out of the opportunity to publicise you and your business.
Your first piece of news is that you’re involved with the awards, so ask people to wish you luck and wish others luck too. This can be a news story on your website and then promoted on social timelines too, tagging in the awards organisers / sponsors etc too.
From here, you can keep an eye on the award’s #hashtag on socials, see who’s joining in the conversation and start to make contacts – you never know where this stuff will go!
Once the shortlist is announced, you can do one of these two things:
- Promote yourself / your company as shortlisted
- Wish everyone else good luck if you’re not shortlisted (be gracious and show you are a lovely, collaborative, supportive business!)
If you’re shortlisted, you can now up your game a bit by starting to see who else is shortlisted and making contact with them, perhaps arrange to meet them on the night or talk before the gala evening. Again, you never know where it will all lead!
Publish your results
Always publish your own news – using your website and social media timelines.
Obviously, you won’t know until the gala dinner or reception etc if you’re going to win or lose and this is where a bit of planning comes in. You can prepare much of what you need 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…no-one wants to write this stuff after a late night!
Post it as news to your website then post it on your social timelines too.
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 already. Make sure you check it through and don’t send out the wrong version – we have seen that done before and it’s oh so awkward!
At a glance, here’s what you can do:
Find out if they have a #hashtag for the event and use it!
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! (Pix / live stream)
Share posts at the event – from the organiser’s timelines and other attendees
Photos – get selfies with other people there and tag them in when you post
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
If you’re award-winning, your clients need to know about it because it boosts you, builds your reputation and increases their confidence…they may also refer you too!
Blog/news – if you have these sections, write something to publish. Not only will it update your website but also give you 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 can feel very ‘me me me’ but you just need to get over that hurdle!
Sending a press release saying you won a award won’t get much coverage unless it’s a really prestigious one.
You’ll need a story to go with it, so outlie 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, it needs a good headline, photo and quote from you. Also let them know if you are available for further interview or comment.
Read our blog here about what phrases to avoid using in your press releases…
Follow it up with a phone call or email a week later and see if they take you up on it.
They’re so cheap – get a few printed up with the awards logo and ‘finalist’ or ‘winner’ to use over the next few months for 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 – it adds credibility to you! Include it in your talk if it’s relevant too.
If you’ve won an award and have staff, celebrate! Hopefully you treated your staff to the night out at the awards ceremony too! Winning the award will be great for team morale and a little party in the office, a meal out or drinks will boost it even 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 over the next year on your calendar and get writing your entry well in advance. You won’t be rushing, staying up late and writing rubbish and you’ll send in a thorough entry too.
Good luck and if you need a hand with writing your awards entry, please get in touch with us at email@example.com
*This blog has bee revised since it was first published in 2019 *