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Maximizing Award PR

Grant Corbett

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How would you maximize the marketing/PR potential of an award you had received? Many of us receive acknowledgments of our work in one form or another. How can you maximize such recognition for speaking and consulting?

-- Roberta Guise

Tooting your horn about an award is tough, because if that's all you do in a promotion piece, you're essentially screaming, "Me! Me! Me!"

I advise my clients to look for the value their award brings to their clients, and to send out a promotion piece that focuses on this added value. Example: my architect client won a number of design awards for home remodeling projects. The awards added to the value of the home on top of the value that the remodels brought.

You can promote the award as a straight self-promotion to your alumnae magazine. But rather than sending a short blurb for the alumnae news column, pitch a story idea to the editor around the events that led to the award, and ask to be profiled.

Does the project tie-in to a current event or trend? If yes, you may be able to pitch a story idea to the media (local or national) that focuses on that bigger "story," and mention the award as one aspect of your content.

Finally, send a brief announcement to close friends and family, and remind them to think of whom they know who would like to potentially have an award-winning project in their portfolio, and to whom they would refer you.

P.S. I won 5 awards for an 82 minute instructional/fitness video on strength conditioning. During the roll-out campaign, I quickly learned that the five awards were useless for driving sales. Apparently, nothing compared to the critical acclaim the video would receive from about 25 national video product reviewers. Only the reviews made the cash register ring.

-- Leslie Charles

Next week I'm receiving an award from the Michigan Society of Association Executives. So far, I plan to:

  • Send a press release to local newspapers, tabloids, and a monthly magazine.
  • Include the award in my client newsletter. I could send out a special announcement to my clients but would rather wait till I do my newsletter.
  • Make some business cards that include the award.
  • Put it on my Web sites (probably with a photo for proof).
  • Add the award to the (3-up) note card I make on a standard sheet of card stock (I use this card to write thank you notes to clients and pals).
  • Include it in all my intros over the next year (especially Michigan speeches).
  • Send a mailing to MSAE clients who sorta know me in hope they'll hire me.

-- Gail Sideman

I would pitch a story about the individual and his/her unique services to business publications. In that pitch, include the availability of people who have heard and used the advice learned from that individual. A fellow speaker's words would be valuable as well. A simpler version of that information may be provided to business section transaction writers. If that speaker is niched, there's no question that any media that services that area should be approached.

-- Sheryl Roush

Create and send out your own press releases on the award. Include your photo -- black-and-white, whenever possible. Leverage it to your clients, bureaus, and potential clients! Send the press release back to the organization that presented it as well! Most groups presenting awards have NO idea on how to write-up a great recap or press release on their own award! Or even think about it! Quote YOURSELF in the press release. Indicate what you are best known for (speaking titles, books, topics). What other, related, somewhat-related awards have you received along the same line? Name those. However, keep the message to more of a just-the-facts, ma'am style of journalism.

-- Kathleen Gage

In 2004 I was awarded a state-wide award. I received lots of press from this award recognition. I made copies of the best article and sent it with a personal note to my clients thanking them for being a part of my success. I also posted a link to a picture of a billboard that announced the award. Often, when I write articles I will add the award designation into the byline at the end of the article.

-- JoAnn Hines

How do you utilize the award and promote yourself in your marketing plan?

Announce your award to the media, clients, prospects and employees. Write a press release both before and after the competition. For example, I received a full page promotion in a local magazine mailed to executives in Atlanta when I was a nominee for an award last year.

Second, don't set the award on the shelf. Use it to continually reinforce your success. Incorporate the award into your promotional material. You can add your award just like a certification to your business card and stationery too.

Third, use the competition's format as a means for evaluation. Entering a competition can give you valuable independent feedback on your performance. Having an external judge review your efforts and provide feedback is worth the entry fee alone. Winning an award is an opportunity to prove to your customers and suppliers just how successful/creative you are.

Finally, celebrate! Have a party to celebrate the accomplishment. You can use an award as a reason to hold a company event celebrating the accomplishment. Don't forget to invite customers and potential customers.

-- Cheryl McPhilimy

Send a communication (ideally a good old-fashioned letter, but email or postcard works) to your past and current clients acknowledging them. Thank them for their role in your career success. Your gratitude makes them feel appreciated and allows you to tell them about your award without coming across as arrogant.

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions