Entry tips for the 5th Annual Worthy Awards!

By Carolyn Bobo, APR, Fellow PRSA

The Worthy Awards are back! The annual contest, like those held by other chapters, gives area communications, marketing and public relations professionals an opportunity to honor and celebrate creativity, strategic thinking and professional ability.

Worthy entries will be judged by professionals like you who understand the challenges of time, budget, staff and other factors that go into efforts to support our organizations or clients. Don’t be shy; identify your best efforts and enter them. But be sure to allow plenty of time to think about your work from beginning to end and prepare a strong narrative to showcase your project.

Terminology and tactics have changed over the years, but the fundamentals of our profession remain the foundation for contests: research, planning, execution and measurement. Read the entry form closely and be sure to explain:

  • What was done?
  • Why did it matter?
  • How was it measured?

Some tips for entrants:

Explain any type of research. A textbook campaign includes qualitative and/or quantitative research, but that isn’t always feasible or necessary. Judges know this, but they expect your entry narrative to show your knowledge of options and professional literacy. The judges want to know that you observed the public or market, and then thought about how to reach it. Use textbook terminology. For example, best practices review, media audit, literature search, anecdotal reports or even a brainstorming session may be described as secondary, informal research.

Explain the strategic purpose of your entry. Was your intent to create name recognition, influence behavior, increase sales, raise funds? Describe any factors about the program or tactic that will help judges understand your decisions. Judges are not likely to be familiar with our market and geographic area, so be sure to include details about population, annual sales, number of employees, consumers, etc., that help them understand the scope of your efforts.

Explain which tactics were chosen and why.

Remember that the judges won’t know that your tactic was spot-on unless you tell them. If your work required extraordinary skills or a budget challenge, be sure to say so. If media relations are part of your entry, be sure to note that we work in the fifth largest media market in the country (Nielsen) and that there is fierce competition for mass media attention.

Describe how the target responded and how you learned about its response. Program evaluation and measurement may be a replication of preliminary research or of other activities. For example, measures can be election results, a sales increase, ROI, donor or donation increase, or the number of participants/responses that exceeded expectations. Include as much measurable and anecdotal response as possible; describe future plans.

If comprehensive research was not needed, say so. For example, “More than 5,000 people in our target public responded to the activity. We expected only 3,000, so we did not repeat our preliminary research to measure interest.” 

Or, if the goal was “to generate five media stories,” the result must show five (or more) media reports. If the purpose is “to raise awareness,” the results must show a measurable increase in awareness.

Remember that evaluation results must must must match your stated goal or purpose, i.e., “Why our work mattered.”

Good luck!

(Carolyn has been a member of Fort Worth PRSA since 1999 and was previously a member of contest-hosting chapters in New Mexico and South Carolina.)

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.

 

June 2016 Luncheon

PRSA_June Luncheon“What’s Trending Now?”
June 8 – GFW PRSA June Luncheon
Presented by: Michael Pranikoff, PR Newswire Global Director of Emerging Media

Are you still telling your story the same way as you were five years ago? Companies and organizations are creating content at a furious pace today, but now we need to think differently in order to connect that content with how consumption behaviors are changing. It’s not enough to just create content, we have to evolve how we reach those audiences and adapt our stories to reach them effectively.

Register today!

Join the Greater Fort Worth chapter of PRSA on June 8 at 11:30 a.m. at the City Club in downtown Fort Worth. Our discussion will be led by PR Newswire Global Director of Emerging Media, Michael Pranikoff who speaks at events and consults with companies all over the world on his perspective about how we need to think differently about content we are creating and the channels that we use to syndicate to reach & engage our targeted audiences.

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.