8 Tips to Writing a Winning Worthy Award Entry

BClaire Armstrong 2 (1)y Claire Bloxom Armstrong
Public Relations Director, PAVLOV

From the pride it brings to your team/agency, third-party credibility and validity it gives to your work and services, and recruitment opportunities it provides for both new business and star employees, it’s difficult to overstate the value of winning a Worthy Award.

Be sure to take some time before you start the entry process to maximize the quality of your submissions and ensure your entry stands out. Here are 8 tips to help you do this:

  1. Plan Ahead.
    Draft an outline of what you want to get across before you start writing. The entry system now takes place entirely online, and the allowed copy length for both Programs and Tactics is 1,500 words (1,600 if you include the optional 100-word synopsis).
  2. Tell A Story.
    Judges like a clear narrative, so borrow some techniques from PR Writing 101 and emphasize the 5 Ws: Who, What, Why, Where, and When – and throw in a little “How” if you have time and space.
  3. No Jargon!
    Did you “utilize and leverage existing resources to achieve your goals and exceed KPIs?” Well, cut it out. Jargon like that takes up precious space and words, and conveys nothing about what you actually did. How about this instead: “We transformed the streets of downtown Fort Worth into an outdoor art gallery and performing arts venue.” Much better! Skip the big, flowery words, and cut to the chase.
  4. Don’t Ignore The Fine Print.
    Check the category descriptions and entry guidelines to ensure you are covering all of the criteria for the categories you are entering. Keep to the maximum word count (300 per section) and upload only the maximum number of supporting materials (5 per section). Otherwise, you risk annoying the judges at best; at worst — being excluded from the category.
  5. Choose Supporting Materials Carefully.
    There is so much temptation to upload everything, but don’t do it. Choose the best and most impressionable media clips, videos, images, and testimonials to support your case.
  6. Explain Your Results.
    When you reach the last section of your entry, it’s tempting to make a series of bullets — ad equivalency values, impressions, followers, engagement rates, etc. But the storytelling shouldn’t stop here. Put those numbers in context. What do they mean for your client? How do they contribute to overall business goals? How did the organization and target audiences benefit? Share results beyond numbers — comments, stories, or changes in business practices, for example.
  7. Think Like A Judge.
    The judges might be reading/judging 10-20 submissions. Think about that and put yourself in their shoes before submitting a final draft and make it as easy as possible for them – they will appreciate it and look at your entry in a more favorable light. Make it an easy read with clear objectives. Consider having an internal judging panel assess the entries before they are submitted – if you can’t convince your own colleagues, you won’t convince the judges.
  8. Connect All The Dots.
    Most importantly, don’t expect the judges to draw conclusions for themselves. What seems obvious to you as an expert in your category and someone immersed in your client’s world for a year or more will not be obvious to the judges. Educate them about the challenges you faced, the uniqueness of your strategy, and the significance of your results. Because the truth is, great work and great results are just the first step. Great entries win Worthy Awards! 🙂

June 2016 Member Spotlight: Margaret Ritsch, APR

June 2016 Member Spotlight: Margaret Ritsch, APR

SONY DSCName: Margaret Ritsch, APR

Job Title/Company: Director, Roxo, and instructor at TCU

College/Degree/Graduation Date: University of Wisconsin-Madison, M.A. Journalism 1987. College of William and Mary, B.A. English, 1980

Hometown: Greenville, S.C.

Position within GFW PRSA (i/a): Member

Childhood ambition (what did you want to be when you grew up?): An actress, believe it or not!

Current livelihood (what you’re actually doing as a grown-up): I oversee a student advertising/public relations agency at TCU called Roxo. I also teach courses such as Strategic Communication Campaigns and Diversity and provide academic advising to a few dozen students.

First PR job: Straight out of college I got a job as an assistant advertising manager at a rapidly growing video-electronics company, Erols, in Northern Virginia. I established its first employee publication, which grew quickly in popularity and won the CEO’s direct involvement. I’d like to consider this my first PR job!

What you know now that you wish you’d known then: I was unaware that internal communications is an important subset of the public relations profession. I had majored in English at a liberal arts college, which offered no coursework in professional fields like public relations.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received: Trust your gut.

Greatest professional or personal accomplishment: Building a wildly successful student advertising/public relations firm at TCU.

If you weren’t in PR, you’d be: A creative director at Droga5 in New York!

Desired legacy: To inspire young people to pursue not only a career in public relations, but also a way that they can contribute to the social good.

Why did you originally join PRSA: I had landed a job as the director of communications for a small company in Delaware, and realized I knew nothing about corporate communications! I owe my entire education in public relations to PRSA workshops, conferences and seminars.

Finally, tell us about your hometown and what makes it cool: I don’t really have a hometown. I was born in Greenville, S.C. but have no memories and we moved frequently during my childhood. I have lived longest in the Washington, D.C. area (11 years) and in Fort Worth (12 years). Fort Worth is much cooler than D.C.! To me, D.C. means traffic, a high-pressure work culture and too many people who believe they are very, very important. I absolutely love Fort Worth’s big sky, slower pace, lack of pretension, friendly people. This is now my hometown.

 

May 2016 Member Spotlight: Tracy Greene

May 2016 Member Spotlight: Tracy Greene

Tracy Greene, Public Information Officer, Amon Carter Museum of American ArtName: Tracy Greene

Job Title/Company: Public Information Officer, Amon Carter Museum of American Art

College/Degree/Graduation Date: TCU, Bachelor of Science in Advertising/Public Relations, 1999

Hometown: Dayton, Texas

Position within GFW PRSA (i/a): Hospitality Chair

Childhood ambition (what did you want to be when you grew up?): Broadcast journalist

Current livelihood (what you’re actually doing as a grown-up): Nonprofit public relations

First PR job: Communications coordinator at the Fort Worth Zoo

What you know now that you wish you’d known then: So many things!

  • The traditional media landscape will dramatically evolve in your career, so it’s best to get on board sooner rather than later. (When I started in PR, most people still read the newspaper, and a tweet was a bird call!)
  • It’s called media relations for a reason–the relationship is critical, even more so than a perfectly written news release.
  • You’ll do your best work on a small budget! Creativity goes a long way.

BestTracy Greene (2) piece of advice you’ve ever received: Two things come to mind. Trust your gut; your instincts are almost always right. Always have someone proof your work.

Greatest professional or personal accomplishment:

  • Planning and promoting a baby shower for an elephant, which generated international awareness for the Fort Worth Zoo’s elephant conservation program (professional)
  • Running a half-marathon after a leg injury delayed my first attempt (personal)
  • Raising kind and compassionate children (personal–and a work in progress)

If you weren’t in PR, you would be a: professional resume writer.

Desired legacy: I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference to my family, friends, coworkers and community.

Why did you originally join PRSA: To learn more about the profession and meet novice and seasoned colleagues

Finally, tell us about your hometown and what makes it cool: My hometown is very small–only about 7,000. There were more people at TCU (even in the mid-90s) than in my hometown!

May 2016 Luncheon

PRSA_Maygraphic
“Making Research Work for You”
May 11 – GFW PRSA May Luncheon
Presented by: Angela Rogers, LimeTree Marketing
Sponsored by: Tarleton State University

 

Research is important to driving strategy. It can seem like a daunting and expensive task, but it can be done on a smaller scale and still provide valuable insight. Angela Rogers, brand marketer and entrepreneur, serves in an advisory role in strategy and research for LimeTree Marketing. She has tips and tricks for how to obtain research data on any budget and how to apply that to your company’s strategy.

 

TarletonClick here to register!
Thank you to Tarleton State University for graciously sponsoring this month’s luncheon.

 

Join the Greater Fort Worth chapter of PRSA on Wednesday, May 11, at 11:30 a.m. at the City Club of Fort Worth in downtown. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to learn how to get the data you need to effectively drive the change you seek in your organization.

April 2016 Luncheon

April 2016 Luncheon

APR: Everything You Want to Know and More

Join us on Wednesday, April 13, at the City Club of Fort Worth, as we play a game of Jeopardy to learn all about the APR process.

Register today!

The APR process remains a mystery and can be intimidating. Let our chapter APRs unveil the mystery for you in an entertaining way. Three contestants will be chosen to play and winners will receive some special prep work from our chapter APRs to prepare them for the process.

We will also honor our new and existing APRs with a pinning ceremony. Join us as we celebrate this distinguished honor.