Extra extra, read all about it…

We’ve previously talked about ways you can use your award win or place on the shortlist as part of your marketing strategy. In this blog we’re going to focus more on the PR side of things, and how you can create some great business opportunities through positive coverage.

One of the key things to bear in mind is that you don’t have to wait for the awards to roll in before you plunge into the world of PR. Public relations should already be part of your promotional activities, and while you can get some great coverage off the back of an award win, you can also use positive press to help back-up your submissions – view it as a circular strategy and you’ll reap the rewards from both sides of the coin.

After the event

So, you’ve won an award or been shortlisted, now how do you use this for PR power? Here are our top 5 tips of ways you can raise your profile through post-award PR…

Local press – unless your win was pretty spectacular, has wide-reaching human interest, or you’re already a household name, you may not be able to secure coverage in national press. However, local newspapers often love a local business success story, which will get your name in front of many thousands of people – and people like doing business close to home.
Sponsorship – as your reputation grows, so do your opportunities to put your name in the hat for sponsorship deals and charity affiliations. Use your award-winning status as a hook for building this type of relationship – speak to your local football club, sponsor a roundabout (strange but true!) or get involved in a community venture.
Recruitment – depending [...]

How winning an election is nothing like winning an award

Anyone notice we’ve just had a general election? No? Well, in case you didn’t hear about it, here are five things about winning the vote to become an MP that are nothing like winning a business award.

You get to make a speech whether you win or not
Everyone finds out how well they did – and how well everyone else did
Winning means you have a job (it would be a bit harsh if you lost your job because you didn’t win that business award!)
You get a say in how the country is run
There’s no value in being runner-up

In the interests of balance (political or otherwise) here are five things about winning the vote to become an MP that are  similar to winning a business award.

It’s all in the preparation. Rational arguments, a strong track record and data that can be trusted by those who can decide the winner all count
It costs you to enter – prospective parliamentary candidates pay £500
The results are made public. Not everyone stays up all night to watch the results coming in, but everyone can find out the result
Not everyone will agree with the result. But hey, debate is healthy (just don’t be the sore loser)
It doesn’t last forever. Best opticians 1988 isn’t going to impress anyone, and in five years time, those prospective parliamentary candidates will be staying up all night all over again

We can’t help you get elected but we can help with business award entries. Why not give us a call to see how?

 

5 ways to reap the rewards of your award

When you’ve invested time, effort and money into a business award entry, you want to make sure that you get a return on your investment. While a win is always the preferred outcome of a submission, don’t be fooled into thinking that’s the only result that can bring tangible benefits to your organisation.

Never underestimate the power of making the shortlist – being up among the leaders represents a huge percentage of the value of an out-and-out win, and even being nominated (if it’s a peer-led award) can offer some great marketing opportunities. After all, anything that can help raise your profile has to worth taking advantage of.

Here are our top 5 tips for marketing yourself on the back of your award result…

Wear your badge with pride – even being shortlisted is usually enough to be given permission to display the award’s badge or logo on your marketing materials; there’s often a nominee or ‘shortlisted for’ version for you to use. Add this into your email signature, website banner, new print-runs of flyers and brochures, and even your LinkedIn profile or social media accounts.
Attend the event – if you’re invited to the ceremony, take some pictures while you’re there. You can use them to enhance a blog that you write about the event and on your social media accounts. Don’t forget the event is not just a celebration, but a great networking opportunity too. It’s potentially a room filled with new clients, or new employees.
Notify with a newsletter – not everyone will visit your website, so cover all bases and send out an email or newsletter to your staff and clients. You can link to your ceremony blog and brighten it up with [...]

  • Permalink The Capita team collects their CCA AwardGallery

    Using internal communications to inspire awesome award submissions

Using internal communications to inspire awesome award submissions

While the idea of entering business awards may be eminently appealing for many organisations, one of the main barriers to entry is the concern that it will be too time-consuming. Of course, there are professional awards writers on hand to help with the submission process (*waves*), but it’s also worth thinking strategically, and building award-focused activity into your internal communications to keep things moving in the right direction.

A simple shift in your strategy can really help you to collate the data and evidence required for an award entry – and once implemented, it becomes a rolling process that can enhance team morale and open up further opportunities for your business. So how do you do it?

Dedication, that’s what you need

Firstly, you need to engage your employees. Use any means at your disposal to inform and motivate them: intranet, newsletter, monthly departmental meetings – whatever works for you. Share success stories via these mediums and make sure any big contract wins or exceptional feedback is shared among the team. If you’re a large organisation, you could assign one person per department/unit to collate evidence and forward to your awards submission writer.

These morale-building exercises will encourage productivity, with everyone wanting to be part of the next win. You can highlight specific awards you’re targeting to focus your people, keep things general and find awards to fit the results, or even a bit of both. The trick is to use awards as a mechanism to encourage staff to raise the profile of your business, both internally and externally.

What kind of evidence?

Successful award submissions are all about proving high standards – so you need to look for things you can measure or compare to something else in order [...]

  • Permalink Eddie Redmayne and his Screen Actor's Guild award. Image courtesy of ReutersGallery

    It’s celebrity awards season – but how do the corporate counterparts compare?

It’s celebrity awards season – but how do the corporate counterparts compare?

It’s awards season in the film and television industry, but how do the Oscars, BAFTAs and glitz and glamour compare to corporate awards?

There’s no doubt about it, people in their droves are drawn to big name celebrity and media awards – the posh frocks, limousines and star-studded ceremonies make viewers and nominees alike flush with excitement and anticipation. It’s easy to think that these high profile awards are the ones with real value, but in reality, they’re no different to clinching a win for great customer service, or product of the year – it’s just a matter of scale.

The key difference between commercial and more widely celebrated awards, aside from the level of coverage, is that the stars benefit hugely from global exposure and the subsequent box office success that puts them directly in the spotlight. Some businesses feel almost embarrassed to put themselves forward for recognition, but while peer-nominated awards may feel more authentic, any short listing or win brings tangible benefits to your organisation.

You can build self-submission awards into your overall business strategy, giving internal teams a sense of competition and encouragement to deliver projects that might make the grade. Ultimately, as long as the criteria and judging process is transparent and honest, there’s plenty of value to be had from these types of awards – and the more you enter, the more chance you have of joining the likes of Eddie Redmayne, who is on track for an impressive stream of multiple wins this year. On the other hand, if you find yourself in pole position due to the kindness of others, make sure people know that’s how it was earned, and work it for all it’s worth!

I’d like to thank…

Okay, [...]

Making the most of being shortlisted for an award

It would be foolish to put in all of the time and effort needed to enter an awards if you don’t actually want to win. However, as we explain in this post, at Awards Writers we’re big fans of the benefits you can get from being shortlisted.

So, what can you do to maximise the benefits of being shortlisted? Here’s our quick checklist so you can be sure to make the most from your achievement, regardless of whether you walk away with the trophy.

First of all, check with the awards organisers whether there’s an embargo on announcing you’ve been shortlisted. Some give you advance notice but want to make their own announcement before you talk about the news publicly
While you’re at it, find out whether there’s an official finalist’s logo which you can use on your website, social media and in any communications about being shortlisted. Awards issue them to finalists and it will be useful in promoting your achievement
Once you can talk about the news, use it as a reason to contact clients (current, past and potential) to share your achievement with them. Maybe you could roll that news in with a special offer, but just the reminder in people’s in-boxes can be enough to remind them about you and could generate new business
Use your social media accounts to announce the news and follow others who are also shortlisted. Remember that the awards dinner is a great networking opportunity, so making “virtual” contact with others beforehand starts that relationship before you’ve even got your glad rags on. If there’s an official awards hashtag, don’t forget to use it
Thank your team. Let’s face it, you couldn’t have got there without them, so [...]

By |December 5th, 2014|Awards tips|0 Comments|

Two out of two ain’t bad

As a famous rock singer once crooned, “Two out of three ain’t bad,” Well, two out of two is better, and that’s what we’ve just achieved with our client the Capita O2 Partnership.

Last night they won the Best Outsourcing Partnership category at the CCA Global Excellence Awards, beating seven other finalists (including fellow outsourcing industry heavyweights Serco) to take to the stage.

 

Chairman of the CCA GLobal Awards judging panel Andrew Mends said: “This year’s winners should be exceptionally proud because it was the most competitive field ever with a record number of international as well as UK entrants. Our panel of 50 judges had a very difficult task in picking winners because the quality of submissions was so high. We would like to congratulate everyone who made the shortlist, because each one demonstrated a serious commitment to superior customer service.”

Only last week they had their glad rags on at the National Outsourcing Association Awards and won the Best Offshoring Project category.

National Outsourcing Association CEO, Kerry Hallard said: “(The) NOA Awards brought together more than 400 outsourcing professionals to celebrate the many successes in the industry. Once again we received a record number of entries with strong submissions from many of the industry’s key providers, as well as entries from an increasing number of new players. The standard of submissions showed a growing display of innovation and business transformation through outsourcing. We would like to congratulate our winners and all those that were shortlisted.”

The Capita O2 Partnership was formed in 2013 and broke the mould for the industry, being a 10 year agreement which delivers all of O2’s customer service.

We wrote two entries for them, and they have won them both, meaning that half of the shortlisted entries that we write [...]

By |November 27th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

An award for anything?

I often joke about there being an award for just about anything. Quite apart from all the awards for being great, there’s the awards for the not-so-great. Like the Razzies, celebrating “the worst Hollywood has to offer”, and the Literary Review give a prize for the worst sex scene in a book (really, I’m not making this up).

I was amused to hear on the radio this week that there’s now an award for England’s best tree. Although it sounds a bit wacky at first, it’s actually a fairly decent effort by The Woodland Trust to raise awareness of how important trees are. Apparently England’s Tree Of The Year is a bit late to the party; there’s been an award for Wales for years.

If you’re interested, you can vote here from a selection of ten English trees including the yew tree where Magna Carta is thought to have been signed, the apple tree Isaac Newton sat under and an oak tree thought to have hidden Robin Hood.

There are lots of reasons to create a set of awards. We created the Inspired Awards with Yorkshire business support organisation BiY because there were no other regional awards that showcased small and micro businesses.

And the Woodland Trust’s motives are to be applauded, as are those of professional bodies and magazines which seek to honour the most outstanding work in their field by way of a set of awards judged independently and with integrity.

There are some awards which appear to be set up only to make money out of the tickets, but as long as you’re okay with that there’s still lots of advantages to making the shortlist. You’ll still be in a room with fellow industry professionals, have been [...]

By |November 3rd, 2014|Awards|0 Comments|

The morning after the night before

Yesterday was a pretty big day for us here at Awards Writers. Instead of being at home awaiting news from awards ceremonies, our chief wordsmith Louise was giving the opening speech at a set of awards we created.

Before you ask, we didn’t write entries for anyone (that wouldn’t be ethical!) but instead teamed up with business support organisation BiY to create the BiY Inspired Awards for micro and small businesses across Yorkshire. Louise also chaired the judging panel, which included Darren Shaw, MD of BiY and Simon Hartley, of Be World Class.

 The awards were an idea we’ve had buzzing around for about two years now as research told us there were none for small businesses in Yorkshire.

We couldn’t quite believe it when we kept turning up blanks as potential clients approached us to ask what there was available for them to enter.

Sure, you could have a crack at the Yorkshire Post’s awards, but as a small or micro business you’d be in a category which included companies with turnover up to £10m. A pretty tough nut to crack, we’d argue.

So, necessity being the mother of invention, we created the BiY Inspired Awards and yesterday held an awards lunch for more than 70 people at the beautiful Met Hotel in Leeds.

Louise opened with some facts about small businesses from the Government’s latest analysis:

of the 4.5m businesses in the UK, 4.3m employ less than 10 people
those businesses account for 32% of business turnover and employ 18% of the workforce
in Yorkshire there are 354,000 businesses. A whopping 99.7% of these employ less than 249 people

That’s an amazing contribution to our economy, providing jobs and working with the larger corporations which seem to get so much coverage in [...]

Know. Like. Trust. How social media & blogging are like networking

I was at Ripon Racecourse last night as the guest of a private investment firm courtesy of my lovely accountant. To all intents and purposes it was a networking event with lovely food and drink, and the added excitement of a little flutter on the horses.

Among a group of ladies the talk turned to networking and the value that has. Interestingly it was an investment manager who was talking about the value of networking with other (employed) women in financial services as a way of creating a support system and sharing the challenges and frustrations of being a woman in that kind of role.

I have long advocated that SMEs should use social media and blogging as a way of establishing expertise, of positioning yourself and of sharing useful content with others. But there’s another, pretty compelling, reason to regularly use social media and write blogs – it helps people to know, like and trust you, even if that is in a virtual space.

Most people know the theory that using Twitter should be a way to start, or take part in, conversations, not just a broadcast mechanism. If you’ve invested in those relationships you are more likely to be able to rely on them when something goes wrong or if you need something.

It’s the same with blogging – and commenting on the blogs of others. You are creating another way for people to know, like and trust you, which might mean that you’re the one at the front of their mind the next time they need to recommend someone.

Someone who does this really well is Richard Kimber at the Customer Experience Coach. He not only blogs regularly about his area of expertise, he draws people [...]

By |August 6th, 2014|Awards tips|0 Comments|