Most people are aware these days about why you should be entering business awards and if you want a little reminder you can see our blog post Business Awards: why you should be entering, which also covers some basic tips for creating winning entries. However, your awards process shouldn’t stop there, we have got a few tips to help you get the maximum publicity from your entry, even if you don’t win.
Most business awards will publish ( and I know this sounds silly) very long shortlists. While most industry awards are designed to celebrate the best businesses in their sector or individual achievements, they still need to cover their costs. Award ceremonies are expensive and they need lots of tables filled on awards night and the best way to sell tickets is to lure people with the chance of winning. I’m not taking away the prestige of being shortlisted, the judges will still have strict criteria on who they choose, you still have to put in the effort completing a good entry but they may have a short lists of 10 as apposed to just inviting the potential winner and runner-up. So it’s worth entering if only to take advantage of the shortlist phase.
Make-sure you use your newsletters to let people know you have been shortlisted or nominated (even if you nominated yourself, although you might want to leave that detail out of your newsletter!). This is particularly important if your chosen award has any sort of voting associated with it. Also by announcing your success at this stage, if you go on to win, it means you have two opportunities for communication.
A cost effective communication tool, use your awards entry to give your social profiles a boost. Make sure you always use the organisers handle in your posts, find out what hashtags are being used. The organisers will pretty much always repost your updates if you mention them which can give a massive increase to your social reach and you could pick-up new followers that stay with you after the campaign. Prepare some posts for before the awards, i.e ‘so pleased to be nominated for the #WonderfulAwards18 thanks to @BusinessAwardsPeople for letting us know’, ‘Looking forward to….One week to go’ etc etc. Also name drop other shortlisted companies to wish them luck.
Get someone to take pictures and do some live posting during the event, congratulating winners as they are announced, the name-dropped companies will always respond even if its a day or two later after they have recovered from their celebrations.
Then after the event, if you won, let everyone know but even if you didn’t, post about how great the event was and thank the organisers. If you got talking to other businesses during the evening create a post name dropping them about how nice it was see them there etc.
Awards create a great opportunity for networking. The entertainment and dare I say a glass or two of something, can create a much more relaxed atmosphere than traditional networking events. Use the opportunity to get to know others on your table. Or if booking a whole at table, think strategically about who fills that table, could inclusion be a reward for a high performing team member? Do you have clients you particularly want to thank for their support? or are there prospects that you want to start building a relationship with? Using the awards for corporate hospitality can be a lot cheaper than creating your own event.
If you win make sure you make use of the logos that are often provided by the organisers, use them on your website and email signatures. It is often worth waiting for the official photographs before popping on your website, you may be able to get away with slightly fuzzy phone snaps on a tweet but you need the best quality for your website. Contact the press, both online and print, both industry and local community publications. If you are successful at getting them to publish, make sure publish your coverage through social media again name dropping the awards organisers and the publication, they won’t be able to resist re-posting and extending your reach.
If you would like help with creating your business awards entry or making the most of it, please do get in touch.