Worthy Award Filing Tips

By Carolyn Bobo, APR, Fellow

The Worthy Awards – a first for our chapter are designed to provide area communications, marketing and public relations professionals with an opportunity to celebrate creativity, strategic thinking and professional ability.

Don’t be hesitant about entering. Think about your activities since 2010 (as a first-time contest, we have a broad entry time frame) and go for it. Here are some tips for preparing your entry.

A solid entry will address these points:

· What was done?

· Why did it matter?

· How was it measured?

Here’s how to prepare your entry.

Carefully read the entry parameters.

The judges (Central Michigan chapter) will look at each required area and base their scoring on how well the four entry areas are explained. Entrants should address each required point, and thoughtfully explain their good work so that it is excruciatingly clear to judges not familiar with our area.

Rationale (Tactics) and Research (Campaigns, Projects)

Explain any type of research, and why it was used. A textbook campaign would include formal, original research, but that isn’t always feasible or necessary. Judges know this, so entrants should clearly describe what was done. For example, a brainstorming session, a review of media clips or discussions with clients may be described as secondary, qualitative research … literature review … content analysis … anectodal reports.

Objective/Purpose (Tactics) and Planning (Campaigns, Projects)

Why did you do this? Possible reasons are to increase sales, raise funds, create name recognition, affect public behavior. Describe any factors about the project/tactic that will help judges understand the purpose and the market. Note that the purpose must – absolutely must – match the outcome. Read on to the Evaluation section.

Execution (Campaigns, Projects)

Explain which tactics were chosen and why. When there are several tactical options, the entrant should state, for example, that “these tactics were selected to expand the reach of our message,” identify and justify each tactic. Remember that the judges won’t know that your decisions and efforts were special unless you tell them.

If your entry states that “TV station XYZ sponsored the event,” you must explain that “TV station XYZ rarely supports activities in Fort Worth.” Or, “TV station XYZ sponsors only three events per year and we convinced the station to choose ours.”

Another hypothetical example: If your target market/public prefers electronic media over print, your entry should state, “Secondary research found that our target demographic prefers to receive electronic communications.” Such data may be obvious to you, but your entry narrative also must make your decision obvious to the judges.

Execution (Tactics)

Here’s where to explain who wrote the copy, designed a magazine, edited content, provided photos, approved the budget and negotiated with a vendor. The tactics section of The Worthy Awards is an explanation of who did what. If an unusual price or component was negotiated, say so, so the judges will understand your extra effort.

Results (Tactics)

Tactics are created to meet a specific need, and are skillfully and professionally prepared. An evaluation of effectiveness and impact, based upon defined objectives, can be simply stated. However, the results must – absolutely must – match the purpose. If the purpose 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.

Evaluation (Campaigns, Projects)

Explain how the targeted market, public or audience responded and how you learned about its response. This is the time to include quantitative data and analysis. Such measures may be a replication of preliminary research or measures 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, and 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 in the topic. However, we will analyze the experience of these respondents to plan future campaigns related to this issue.”

Good luck to everyone. See you at the May 31 awards presentation.

(Don’t forget to submit nominations for Communicator of the Year. There is no fee.)

Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or would like more information:

The Worthy Awards Committee

Michelle Clark<mailto:clarkm@trinityra.org>, Trinity River Authority of Texas

Margaret Ritsch<mailto:m.c.ritsch@tcu.edu>, APR, TCU

Carolyn Bobo<mailto:cgbobo6311@att.net>, APR, Fellow PRSA, University Relations, UNT

Allyson Cross<mailto:cross@gcgadvertising.com>, president, Greater Fort Worth PRSA

Liz Heck<mailto:liz@jodesign.com>, JO Design, Marketing, Public Relations

Megan Murphey<mailto:murphey@gcgmarketing.com>, GCG Marketing

Rita Parson<mailto:rita.parson@tccd.edu>, Tarrant County College District

Are You Worthy?

By Michelle Clark

The Greater Fort Worth Chapter of PRSA is thrilled to embark on its inaugural Worthy Awards competition – designed to recognize the highest level of professional performance in our industry and our region. The awards committee – co-chaired by Margaret Ritsch, APR, Carolyn Bobo, APR, Fellow PRSA, and me, and with the tremendous support of Allyson Cross, Liz Heck, Megan Murphey and Rita Parson – has worked incredibly hard over the past year to research the best ways to introduce a rigorous yet attractive competition to our area.

Worthy Awards will be given in three separate categories – first, a strategic communications programs and campaigns category that includes integrated communications efforts; a tactics category that evaluates specific campaign components as stand-alone items; and a separate category for academic contributions to the public relations profession. We’re very proud of that last category – all indications are that the Worthy Awards will be the only regional competition in the nation that includes an academic category. Our chapter has a long history of academic support from our local universities, and we want to make sure to celebrate the work they do to prepare future members of our profession. Awards in this category will recognize everything from textbook chapters to published academic articles and formal presentations.

We’re also throwing in a dash of the unexpected: a Communicator of the Year selected from outside the public relations field. One of our key roles as public relations professionals is mentoring the leadership teams of our organizations in the art of open, effective communications with various publics. This award seeks to recognize that kind of commitment to public discourse, and nominees are sought from across all avenues of public life – clergy, elected officials, business leaders, educators and more.

We’ll celebrate our winners May 31 at a dinner ceremony at the Marquis on Magnolia – a fittingly elegant setting in which to recognize our region’s highest professional achievements. Star-Telegram Columnist Bob Ray Sanders will serve as master of ceremonies for the evening.

Early entries are due by March 19, and the final entry deadline is April 6. All entries will be judged by an out-of-state PRSA chapter. Our most recent chapter luncheon addressed the importance of the Research, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation model for developing award entries. If you weren’t able to attend and are curious to know more, I hope you’ll reach out to the awards committee for help with crafting effective entries.

You can find everything you need for your entries at the Worthy Awards website – worthyawards.com. The site offers a detailed explanation of each category, and you can fill out entry forms and submit nominations for Communicator of the Year. You can also find the contact information for awards committee members if you need someone to address a specific question.

This is our time to showcase the outstanding work we all deliver every day as members of GFWPRSA and the public relations profession. I, along with my colleagues on the awards committee, encourage each of you to enter – and to invite others to do so, regardless of whether they are PRSA members. Let’s make our inaugural competition a tough act to follow.