And the winner is…

And the winner is…

Awards – a perfect PR opportunity, or a time intensive distraction from the day job?

In the past 18 months, we’ve been involved in a number of award submissions for clients in various sectors. Depending on the scheme, the input can range from a fairly straightforward written submission supplemented by customer votes, to a comprehensive entry form which requires an in depth assessment of the project in question. Judging approaches also vary, with some schemes requiring a presentation from shortlisted projects to a judging panel as a second stage of the process.

As a result, the time spent on each award can vary – and so can the potential benefits. So is it all worth it?

In our experience, the answer is yes – but with caveats. You need to set out with clear objectives and be disciplined in your approach so that the time invested is well spent. Here are our top tips on making the most of awards:

  1. Pick your award scheme wisely. Not all awards are created equal. More obscure schemes may provide a better chance of success but will they carry the kudos required in your industry to make it worth the effort?
  2. Be realistic about the categories. Check the category criteria. Is it a natural fit? If your time is limited, focus on the areas where you have the best chance of success.
  3. Write every entry with the judging criteria in mind. While this may sound like stating the obvious, it’s very easy to get lost in the flow of your story, ending up with a perfect piece of prose but one which doesn’t spell out why your project should win.
  4. Make the most of your entry. Almost without exception, we will use the information gathered for an award entry to draft a case study, seek by-lined article opportunities or other media placement and share information with teams through our clients’ internal communications channels. After all, potentially award-winning projects usually make for good reading.
  5. Celebrate success. Winning or being shortlisted for an award is a cause for celebration, not just immediately but in referencing this external endorsement across all communications from new business bids to client newsletters to social media. Equally, awards ceremonies are ideal for networking and client entertainment.

In some industries, there are so many different awards to go for that it could easily be a full time job. But by looking at award submissions as part of your wider communications programme and being selective in what you go for, they can be a great way to boost to staff morale as well as helping you differentiate from competitors and raise your profile.

To find out how CMC can help you assess suitable award schemes or draft submissions, contact me at

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