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2019 Best in Maryland Awards Gala

Save the date to join us as we celebrate the “Best in Maryland”! We are planning a very exciting and different awards gala this year in the beautiful Mt. Washington Mill Dye House. More information coming this summer!

Just announced! Event will feature WBAL TV anchor Deborah Weiner as award emcee.

Deadline for #BIM19 entries is Friday, August 30. For more information and the categories, click here.

And don’t forget to nominate your favorite colleague, educator, rising star, PR team or vendor for a 2019 Professional Award. Click here for more info. Deadline for professional nominations is September 30.

 

 

 

Still working on your #BIM19 Entries? Here’s some tips!

Design courtesy of Devaney & Associates

Still working on your 2019 Best in Maryland entries? Or have you finished but just not sure if it’s good enough?

Did you know that every year, we see entries get pushed aside not because the campaign or component wasn’t creative, effective and successful, but because the entry wasn’t? It’s not enough to show what you did – you need to show how you did it and what the outcome was.

So to help answer any nagging questions you may have, here’s some things to consider as you complete your entries:

Before Preparing Your Entry:

  • Take the time to determine if your entry is truly award-winning. Did you make an impact on the organization’s bottom-line? Was there a reason for doing the program in the first place? If you can’t come up with a good reason for doing the award entry (besides “my boss wants me to do it”), you will have a hard time putting it together.
  • Know the entry criteria. Many award entries are submitted without measurable objectives or outcomes, budget or timelines. If you leave out information that is requested in the entry form, you will lose points. If you can follow the four-step strategic planning process for program entries (click here), you are more likely to have a good entry.

Objectives:

  • Think long and hard about your objectives. They should outline what you’re trying to accomplish as a result of your entry. Remember, the objective is not the entry itself.
  • Objectives should be SMART: Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.

Research/Evaluation (these tend to be the weakest areas of entries):

  • You might have done informal research without even realizing it. Look back at your records; did you talk with personal contacts, key informants, advisory committees and boards, and field employees about the issue? That’s informal research. (But don’t push it.)
  • Your evaluation should iterate your objectives verbatim and then show how you achieved them specifically.
  • Even though qualitative data can work for evaluation purposes and explaining results, it’s always good to build in quantitative data as well.
  • Identify ways you can evaluate a program and build evaluation in at the beginning. Even if you don’t have a huge budget, you can still plan some measurement capability.

 Supporting Materials:

  • Provide back-up materials to your summary. If you talk about something in your one- or two-page summary, please include with your submission.  The judges want to see evidence of your hard work, so be sure to show it off!

Before Submitting to the Awards Committee:

  • Don’t worry if one of your sections isn’t as strong as another. As long as the section is addressed, it should be okay.
  • When in doubt, submit. Forces beyond your control – such as the number of entrants in a category, judges’ prerogatives, etc. – have a lot to do with winning. Besides, the exercise you go through in assessing your work and putting it together according to PRSA qualifications is worth the exercise, because it sets you up to evaluate your own work. You can often make use of this in making a case for continuing a program, launching a new one, or increasing the budget to do more.
  • Proof your entry carefully! If you have a typo in the summary (which we’ve seen happen!), the judges are very likely to take your entry less seriously than they would that of a well-written summary.

And of course, if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@prsamd.org or call our chapter office at 301-725-2508 and ask away.

Click here for Categories

Click here on Preparing Your Entries

#BIM19 News: From Submitting to Winning!

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:

Campaigns Require:

  • Research
  • Planning
  • Execution
  • Evaluation

Tactics Require:

  • Planning/Content
  • Creativity/Quality
  • Technical Excellence
  • Results

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!

Special Thank You to Our Volunteer Judges!

In April, we put the call out for volunteers to help judge the Agriculture Relations Council Golden ARC Awards. These volunteers not only heeded the call but went above and beyond to get it all done.

 A HUGE THANK YOU TO:

Christine Barnhart APR 

Lisa Brusio Coster, Coster Communications, LTD

Malissa Carroll, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy

Rebecca Ceraul, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy

David Curley, Sandy Hillman Communications

Jeffrey Davis APR, Van Eperen*

Laurie Farrell, Mission Street Communications

David Harrison, Harrison Communications

Shawn Herne, Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation, Inc.

Ashlene Larson, Planit*

Tia Malloy, Conteur Communications*

Allison Skipper Mayer APR, Maryland Department of Commerce

Kaitlyn McCoach, Weber Shandwick

Erika Murray     

Amanda Wolfe, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy

Phillip Yerby, Weber Shandwick*

*Special TX to Jeff Davis, Ashlene Larson, Tia Malloy, and Phill Yerby for taking on extra entries at that last minute!

What’s next? Celebrating our Best in Maryland Awards! Call for Entries is open now! Click here for more information on how to get your entries in today!

Call for Judges for Agriculture Relations Council 2019 Golden ARC Awards

The PRSA Maryland Best in Maryland Awards Committee is looking for a few (or many) PR pros to serve as judges for the Agriculture Relations Council Golden ARC Awards. Judging is expected to begin mid-May and last approximately two to three weeks (exact dates TBD).
As a judge, you will have the opportunity to review the entries and gain some insider knowledge. And, since you will be joining a team, judging provides an opportunity to connect with other Maryland Chapter members and to share ideas.

Are you an APR? You can get continuing education credits for judging.

What skills are required to be a judge? A firm understanding of effective public relations practice, and experience in the profession. Your time commitment can be as little as two to three hours to judge a complete category or more if you wish to judge additional categories.

Where does this take place? Well, there are options … You can host a group in your office. Make it a staff event, if you would like. If you prefer to meet other members, you can join another group. Trouble getting out of the office? You also can judge virtually. We will assign you a team and send you the entries electronically. Just let us know and we will do some match-making.

Sound interesting? Get more information and sign up via this short survey by Friday, May 3. If you have a team – your staff, department employees or a group of peers – just inform us via the survey and provide the key contact. If you do not have a team, we will find a partner for you.

Finally, we welcome as many judges as possible (the more judges, the less categories each team has to review) so feel free to recruit a colleague or two to be part of your team. Simply share this link and we will do the rest.

Questions? Give us a call at PRSA Maryland Chapter office at 301-725-2508 or email info@prsamd.org.

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors