Here are some tips from past winners to help you bring home that award.
#1: The military calls it “lessons learned.”
“Before you dive into this year’s award entries, take a moment to review previous entries – winning submissions and non-winners alike – with special attention to where the entry submissions excelled, where they may have fallen short, and how they could have been improved. Take these lessons learned from previous entries and apply them to your current submissions.”
“Entering for the first time? Tap colleagues who are willing to share entries they’ve submitted to previous Best in Maryland competitions. You’ll be able to conduct the same “lessons learned” review of the entries, and you may even pick up an idea or two that you hadn’t thought of including in your own submissions!” – Tom Williams, APR, Maryland Public Television
#2: Bookmark the entry guidelines webpage and review its contents often.
“In addition to providing specific directions for each of the four categories that are required of all entry submissions, the page provides several questions your team’s submissions must answer.”
“Once your entry is ready for submission, conduct a final check by going over each question posed on the guidelines webpage and your team’s answer to each. All done? Send in your entry – and best wishes for your success!” – Fran Minakowski, APR, Fellow PRSA, Maryland Public Television
#3: Focus on what makes your campaign unique.
“Try thinking about your campaign from beginning to end and pick out the points that make it most unique. Consider the different award categories and try to think where the unique aspect of your campaign will stand out the most. While there may be a lot of competition, using the most original and most creative aspects of your campaign as a competitive edge will make you stand out to the judges, especially in specific award categories. The BIM Early Bird deadline is fast approaching, and you don’t want to miss it! Submit by August 31.” – Claire Howachyn, Van Eperen
#4: Use resources to your advantage
“Another great source is the PRSA Silver Anvil case studies that are available online. Those case studies will give you great guidance on how to prepare your BIM award entry.” – Lisa Miles, past chapter president and awards judge
Want to see more? Click here and here for tips from past winners and judges.
Here’s a peek into News Generation, Inc.‘s winning campaign in Media Relations – Assoc/Nonprofit/Govt category: Educating and Empowering Americans with Financial Literacy.
Finances. It is a frequent, sometimes difficult, but necessary topic of conversation between spouses, parents and children, and adults and their parents. The American Bankers Association (ABA) works to make this necessary conversation and subsequent action and preparedness as seamless and easy to understand as possible. Representing banks across the United States, the ABA works to educate, inform and empower people to take control of their finances, or those of family members in their care. To leverage the newsworthy and timely resources, tools and information it offers, ABA engaged a media strategy heavily focused on earned radio outreach. ABA partnered with News Generation, a broadcast media relations firm based in Bethesda, to develop, pitch and implement an effective media relations outreach campaign.
Together they launched a cohesive campaign of six messages, and six resulting radio media tours, working toward the goal of educating the public on the role hometown banks play in helping economic growth and empowering Americans with financial literacy. Sixty radio interviews were secured, with highlights including interviews that aired nationally on NBC News Radio (formerly 24/7 News Source at the time), Bloomberg Network, Compass Media Networks, and American Urban Radio Network. As well as airings on statewide or metro-area interviews with 16 different networks, and airings on the top news and top news-talk stations in Atlanta, Detroit, San Antonio, Fargo-Valley City, and Rapid City, as ranked by Nielsen.
The radio media tours reached a total of 74,754,470 listeners, almost 25 percent above the initial goal set out by the collaborating teams. The campaign delivered an incredible cost per point (CPP) of $.00037, or less than four one-hundredths of one penny, to reach each listener. The American Bankers Association saw engagement in the areas the radio media tours focused on, largely contributing to the advancement and awareness of the association, its focus and multi-faceted expertise.
According to Nielsen, the leading company on global information and media measurement, 93 percent of people 12 years of age and older listen to the radio each week. In addition, radio interviews allow reporters to engage the spokesperson, seeking clarity from experts and steering content towards their anticipated audience needs.
News Generation compiled the most relevant and newsworthy information into the media pitch. The pitching team extensively researched the most appropriate national and statewide networks, as ranked by Nielsen, as well as media markets in which the most relevant coverage would best represent its largest news or news-talk station. News Generation personally pitched each reporter, host and producer via telephone and email to secure the most relevant interviews based on top listenership and market rank. This all earned-media strategic approach focused on securing quality interviews with highly-ranked networks and stations to maximize on-air time for ABA.
News Generation, Inc. received an Award of Excellence for its work with ABA. Click here for a list of all 2016 Best in Maryland winners.
A. Bright Idea Wins Best in Show Award
Communications excellence and the effective practice of public relations took center stage at the 2016 Best in Maryland Awards gala recently hosted by PRSA Maryland at the Belvedere Hotel. Top honors this year went to A. Bright Idea, LLC, advertising and public relations agency headquartered in Bel Air, Md., for its integrated communications program – “U.S. Army National Guard Action Events” – and, to the communications department of Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company, which won PR Team of the Year award.
Several individual public relations practitioners also received top honors: Louise Lake Hayman received the Lifetime Achievement Award; Loyola University’s Veronica Gunnerson was recognized as Educator of the Year; and, AECOM’s Lauren Michelotti was honored as PRSA Maryland’s New Professional of the Year.
The awards were presented at the 2016 Best in Maryland Awards gala, which was held at The Belvedere Hotel on Thursday, December 8, 2016. This year’s event emcee was President and CEO of Clapp Communications Barb Clapp and National Geographic Magazine Editor-in-Chief Susan Goldberg was the event’s keynote speaker.
In addition to presenting awards across multiple categories for communications and public relations excellence to more than two dozen area businesses, nonprofits, associations, and government agencies, PRSA Maryland also recognized outgoing President Dan Dunne, APR, of Erickson Living, and welcomed incoming President Claudia Ciolfi, manager of public relations and strategic communications at Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company.
A complete list of honorees and award recipients can be found by clicking here.
A. Bright Idea wins Best in Show
Photo caption: Pictured left to right are: (A. Bright Idea representatives Leanne Eck, interactive designer, and Kevin Hess, communications events specialist, accept the Best in Show award from PRSA Maryland Chapter President Daniel Dunne, APR, Director of Communications, Erickson Living, at the association’s awards gala in Baltimore.
Photo courtesy of Harry Bosk PR & Photography
It’s hard to believe that after months of planning and some finger-crossing on behalf of the entrants/nominees, the Best in Maryland program came to a close last week … and what a close it was! Coupled with high quality entries and tough competition on the awards side, and a top-notch venue, an outstanding keynote, and some exciting surprises on the Gala side, this year’s awards program was a resounding success. A great finish to the Chapter’s 55th year. (Check out Jeff Davis’ recap of the Gala.)
Of course, none of this can happen without the support of our sponsors and volunteers so we would like to take a few minutes to once again thank you all:
To our #BIM16 sponsors, because none of this can happen without your contribution and support …
for helping us put on this great event
Premier sponsor and VIP
for your continuing support of the Chapter
for creating our #BIM16 design
Harry Bosk PR & Photography
for giving us your time and expertise
(pictures coming soon!)
PCA | An RR Donnelley Company
for providing all our printing needs with a smile
(even those last-minute items)
Flowers & Fancies
for providing our wonderful centerpieces
for sponsoring the keynote Susan Goldberg
(she was amazing!).
We also want to thank our VIPs – your support helped us afford those few extras that made the evening sparkle … A. Bright Idea, LLC, BGE, Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company, Crosby Marketing, Erickson Living, Planit, and Lifetime Achievement Honoree Louise Lake Hayman, APR, Fellow PRSA.
To our #BIM16 volunteers for finding a way to balance our needs with your day jobs …
- Dana Cohen, Clapp Communications
- Lauren Moyer, Clapp Communications
- Sarah Tuccitto, Clapp Communications
- Timmy Ruppersberger, Clapp Communications
- Daniel Dunne, APR, Erickson Living
- Claudia Ciolfi, Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company
- Amanda Nolan, The Associated
- Nancy Sherman, The Caroline Center
- Dani Baldassare, Erickson Living
- Lisa Coster, Coster Communications, LTD
- Blaine Dunford
See you all next year!
by Jeff Davis
Originally appeared in Capitol Communicator (updated 12/12/2016)
A. Bright Idea wins Best in Show
A recruitment program for the Army National Guard by A. Bright Idea took top honors as “Best in Show” at the Public Relations Society of America’s Maryland Chapter “Best in Maryland” gala while Crosby Marketing Communications won the most awards – seven – at the Dec. 8 event in Baltimore.
A. Bright Idea, headquartered in Bel Air with offices on both coasts and headed by CEO Anita Brightman, APR, Fellow PRSA, executed the national Action Events program through school-based event management, media relations, social media execution, creative development and promotional items. This initiative included BMX stunt performances across the country, placing recruiters in front of high school students to share messaging about core values. The campaign doubled the quality level of leads for the client.
At the event held at the Belvedere in Baltimore marking the chapter’s 55th anniversary, more than 150 turned out to acknowledge tactical and program entries from across the state.
Crosby Marketing Communications, a Capitol Communicator sponsor, walked away with seven awards, while other agencies collecting multiple trophies included Abel Communications (six), Planit (five) and Clapp Communications (four).
Others that were recognized with awards included:
ASPR; Baltimore Gas & Electric; Bonnie Heneson Communications, Inc.; Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company; Comcast; Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; and Devaney & Associates, Inc.; Erickson Living; Golin; Irvine Nature Center; Johns Hopkins University Press; and LifeBridge Health.
Also, Lutheran World Relief; Maryland Lottery and Gaming; Maryland Port Administration; and News Generation, Inc.; The Baltimore Life Companies; University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and Vitamin. See the PRSA Maryland website for the full list.
The Professional honorees were Lifetime Achievement – Louise Lake Hayman, APR, Fellow PRSA; Veronica Gunnerson of Loyola University Maryland as Educator of the Year; and Lauren Michelotti of AECOM, New Professional of the Year.
Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company was acknowledged as PR Team of the Year, including members Donna Wilson, SVP communications and strategic planning; Jim Taylor, communications director; Claudia Ciolfi, manager of PR and strategic communications; Carolyn Gutermuth, manager of community relations; Dianna Fornaro, communications specialist; Archie Johnson, communications specialist; and Meaghan Yurek, communications associate and graphic designer.
A highlight of the evening was the keynote address by Susan Goldberg, editor of National Geographic.
Sponsors included Clapp Communications; Vitamin; Van Eperen; Harry Bosk PR and Photography; PCA – An RR Donnelley Company; Flowers & Fancies and Erickson Living.
In the photo, left to right, are: Leanne Eck, interactive designer, A. Bright Idea; Kevin Hess, communications events specialist, A. Bright Idea; and Daniel Dunne, APR, PRSA President and Director of Communications, Erickson Living.
Photo Credit: Harry Bosk PR and Photography