While PR firms like collecting awards on behalf of their clients, the industry has become saturated. To use an expression suited for the time of year, the golden goose of media companies is being killed off. So what should you look out for – and how do you separate the awards worth winning from those that are there simply ‘pay-for-play’?
Only care about awards from media you care about.
If you don’t respect the underlying media organization, then why would you care about winning one of their awards? Recognition is about quality, not quantity.
Demand a list of award categories up-front; otherwise, walk.
If an awards company won’t give you the full list of awards up-front, it’s probably because they want to “create” categories to suit special situations – aka advertising or sponsorship.
Quid pro quo doesn’t cut it.
If an awards program requires you to buy a table at an event (usually at a vastly inflated price), or buy a commercial package to be considered for an award, don’t bother.
If you’re small, forget about industry polls.
Understand how the award is being made, by poll, editor selection or otherwise. If you’re a small company, most of the time it’s very hard to secure votes as legacy firms have the numbers to crush you.
Narrow down the awards that matter to you and spend time positioning yourself to be in the best place to win. At the same time, be open-minded to new and exciting awards, in areas such as business or technology.
Make sure you are the solution to a real problem.
Editors hate blind submissions from firms that outline in excruciating detail the technology releases of the year before. Make sure you’re demonstrating a solution that is addressing a true industry challenge – and substantiate your claims with facts.
Never respond to any email solicitation about awards.
If someone is emailing you directly to participate in an award, it should be an automatic red flag. Especially if you have never heard of the awards program; it’s almost certainly pay-for-play.
Publicize the heck out of the good awards – they mean something!
When we help our clients win awards – which we do many times each year – it’s important to capture the true benefits. So make sure your clients and the industry know about it!
Good awards are worth winning – and investing time and money in. But awards are big business for media companies, so make sure you understand the ground rules.
Contact us if you need assistance with your 2020 award strategy.
Tags: Advice, Awards, Branding, Business, Corporate Culture, Marketing, media, PR, Public Relations, Reputation, Strategy