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And the winner is… YOU!

Preparing public relations awards entries can be daunting. I remember feeling lost drafting my first two-page summary in 2015. But that year, my public affairs campaign went on to win multiple awards at the local and state levels. After that, I became a judge for local and state awards, as well as the PRSA Bronze Anvils. When I sat down to think about what advice I could give to those of you thinking of entering the PRSA Tampa Bay PRestige Awards, I thought of these five tips:

  • Know RPIE

If you studied public relations in college or have achieved your Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), you are well versed in RPIE, which stands for Research, Planning, Implementation and Evaluating. Almost every PR awards program is based on RPIE. Let’s face it; we don’t always have time to sit down and draft a detailed plan for every campaign or tactic we work on. It is why I would suggest taking a look at the APR study guide for a littler refresher in this area. It will give perspective on exactly what the judges are looking for when they score your entry.

  • Research is important

Don’t forget about research. This is often skipped or barely addressed in the situational analysis portion of entries. However, it is very important. Judges need to know how you determined your audiences, what background information did you collect to develop your key messages, how did you test to see if those key messages worked, etc. While you don’t know have to go into detail (we do only have two pages to outline our entire entry, it is important to show you know how to do the appropriate research for your campaign. A good place to look to review research methodologies is page 30 of the APR study guide.  

  • Make your objectives SMART

One of the biggest pitfalls an entrant can make is not having SMART objectives. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. Avoid objectives like “raise awareness of an issue” or “increase followers to our social media channels.” Instead drill down to specifics, an example is “increase our Facebook followers by 20% by the end of December 2018.” Having SMART objectives will give you a way to measure if you are successful. Another tip is to number each of your objectives in your two-page summary. I will explain why that is helpful in the next section.

  • Evaluate your objectives

Now that you have SMART objectives, you have a measurable way to let the judges know you met those goals and the campaign was a success. Remember how I suggested numbering your objectives? I suggest you do the same for your results in the evaluation section. Not only is this a great way to make sure you don’t miss something; it also allows the judges to easily go back and read the objective that correlates with each outcome.

  • Support should serve as a spotlight

Supporting material is important, but don’t use it as a dumping ground to show every image, brochure and item related to your campaign. Your supporting material should spotlight how you successfully achieved your objectives. If you talk about engagement on social media, show the posts and analytics to support that. Also, if you are entering in a tactics category, make sure your supporting material includes the appropriate supporting materials. For example, if you enter the calendar category, be sure you share the calendar with the judges.

I hope this advice helps you if you are considering entering this year’s PRestige Awards program. Often PR is often seen as a cost center by many companies, and though we know we provide important services integral to the success of our company or clients, sometimes it is helpful to have a reminder of a job well done. Good luck! Early entry deadline is June 29.

Author: Kim Polacek

Winner of the 2017 PRestige Awards Best of Show - Special Events: Two or More Days 
Moffitt Cancer Center’s “Moffitt 30th Anniversary”
Moffitt Cancer Center, Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC, Ann Baker and Jeremy Peplow

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