By Lisa Brusio Coster
I know that in 2018 you addressed a communications challenge with exemplary professional skill, creativity and resourcefulness. So, wait no longer to submit your winning work for a Best in Maryland (BIM) award.
Be an early bird and save some of your hard-earned money by submitting by August 16. If you have too much vacationing to do before then, submit by the drop-dead date of August 30.
From someone who has entered eight BIM awards since 2005, and won more than I have lost, I want to share my knowledge and insights. Now familiar with the process, I prepare the elements of a submission of what I believe will be a successful project when I start the work, not when the submission deadlines are announced. This may not work for you this month, but it is something to keep in mind for next year. So, in other words, begin with the end in mind, not only in terms of your client’s goals but also with your professional goals (winning awards!). Today, I hope it allows you to focus on a 2018 success (or two) to submit.
While it is about the results of a successful campaign or tactic, the most important part of completing an award entry is to clearly and concisely summarize your entry in TWO PAGES. This can be challenging because we are PR people who like to talk and write A LOT. Furthermore, keep in mind your audience will NOT have any background on your project, so you also need to provide context, avoid jargon and SPELL OUT acronyms. And, again this must be done in TWO PAGES or the entry could be disqualified. Furthermore, the components of that summary are different depending upon your category, for instance:
- Technical Excellence
As I was told many years ago by a WINNING colleague, make sure your results or evaluation map back to your planning. Did you make your goals or exceed them? Include numbers, percentages, demographics, psychographics. Don’t submit if you realize you didn’t meet the intended targets.
Another tip – have a trusted colleague who is not familiar with your work review your submission. You will be surprised by the questions they may have because you are too close to your work. Edit, re-structure and clarify based on their feedback.
To avoid nepotism, a panel of public relations professionals from ANOTHER CHAPTER will judge entries and select winners. Judges may only present one Best in Maryland award and up to two other entries for an Award of Excellence in each category. Judges reserve the right to not select an award in a given category. Judges also reserve the right to re-categorize materials. The decisions of the judges are final.
Once your entry is submitted, enjoy what is left of summer and be confident that you highlighted the right project or campaign to take a BIM back to the office. Finalists will be notified in October and winners announced at the BIM Gala on December 4 at the Mt. Washington Mill Dye House. Good luck!