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! 🙂

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.

October 2015 Luncheon

Luncheon

“Moving PR Measurement Forward”
October 21 – GFW PRSA Half-Day Professional Development Program & Luncheon
Presented by: Marianne Eisenmann, inVentiv Health Public Relations Group

Join the Greater Fort Worth PRSA on Wednesday, Oct. 21, for a half-day professional development program and luncheon featuring Marianne Eisenmann, head of research and analytics at inVentiv Health Public Relations Group, who will join us from New York City to discuss “Moving PR Measurement Forward.”

Nearly everyone agrees on the value of PR measurement, but doing something about it can still be a challenge. This session will focus on identifying steps you can take to put measurement into action, including applying the Barcelona Principles and PR standards, using an integrated approach to measurement, measuring relationships and incorporating best practices for practitioners at all levels.

Click here to register!

The morning program will consist of:

  • Revisiting standards: Barcelona Principles 2.0
  • Setting measureable objectives
  • Establishing benchmarks
  • Achieving actionable measurement
    • AVEs and the AMEC Valid Metrics Framework
    • Integrated measurement
    • Measuring intangibles
  • Exploring PR measurement standards for traditional and social media

The lunch session, titled “Measurement Rules,” will include:

  • Barcelona Principles 2.0
  • Putting the Principles into action
  • Best practices in evaluating PR programs

Schedule:

  • 8 a.m. – Seminar Registration/Networking
  • 8:30-11 a.m. – Professional Development Seminar (approximately 11-11:20 a.m. Q&A followed by room changeover for luncheon)
  • 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. – Luncheon Registration/Networking
  • 12-1 p.m. – Annual Membership Meeting & Luncheon Program

Marianne Eisenmann - headshotAbout Marianne Eisenmann
Marianne Eisenmann is head of research and analytics at inVentiv Health Public Relations Group, where she leads a team that focuses on research as the foundation for the development of communications strategy and planning and commits to delivering evidenced-based public relations. She and her team work with leading global companies, such as Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim, J&J, Novo Nordisk and Pfizer.

An established thought leader in communications research and measurement and an elected member of the Institute for Public Relations Measurement Commission, Eisenmann led the development of the standards for traditional media measurement and, together with her co-authors, received the 2014 Jackson Sharpe Award for research testing their reliability. She received the Jack Felton Golden Ruler Silver Merit Award, an AMEC Communication Effectiveness Award and PR Daily’s Best PR Research Award, for her METRIC Model for measuring engagement. She was also included in PharmaVOICE’s 2012 list of the “100 Most Inspiring People” in the life sciences industry.

Eisenmann’s career in communications and public relations has had an international focus, including positions in Washington, D.C.; Beijing, China; Hong Kong; and New York. She has an MBA from George Washington University and a BA from St. Lawrence University in New York State. She is a member of the IPRA United Nations Department of Information Advisory Group and the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication.

September 2015 Luncheon

TBA-12108-EthicalDecisions-851x315-01

Ethical Decision-Making for PR…and for Life

Presented by: Samra Bufkins, APR, Public Relations Lecturer for the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas
Sponsored by: Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

FWC 2008 LogoAnybody can memorize a code of ethics, but do you really know how to make ethical decisions? Join the Greater Fort Worth PRSA on Wednesday, September 16, as Samra Bufkins, APR, presents an interactive program that will walk you through a solid framework for making sure the business decisions you make will be ethical, regardless of what code of ethics you follow.

Click here to register!
Thank you to the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce for graciously sponsoring this month’s GFW PRSA luncheon!

Samra Bufkins - photo (1)About Samra Bufkins, APR
Samra “Sam” Bufkins, APR, has more than 25 years of strategic communications experience in the healthcare, environmental, energy, petrochemical, shipping and electricity industries, encompassing public relations, crisis communications, issues management, fundraising, internal communications and governmental relations. She has worked for agencies, nonprofits, a state agency and Fortune 500 companies, and she is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America.

Bufkins is now a lecturer in strategic communications for the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas, where she teaches the capstone course in ethics required of all PR and advertising majors and the capstone public relations strategic planning course. She also supervises PR internships. Bufkins enthusiastically incorporates social media strategies and applications into her classes, and also developed (and still teaches) the first strategic social media class at UNT, bringing in nationally known speakers and technical experts. Her teaching philosophy involves combining theory with practice while mentoring and coaching students as if they were junior employees of her PR firm or corporate communications department. She is a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, and is the faculty advisor to the UNT chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America and the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity. She is social media advisor to the NT Daily and Swoop, the student-run advertising and public relations agency. She was the recipient of the 2014 Honor Professor award, a student-nominated award presented by the Student Government Association to faculty recognized for exceptional service to students.

Bufkins also served as Accreditation Chair for the Dallas PRSA chapter from 2007-2010 and as Ethics Chair for the Dallas chapter from 2010-2014. She holds a bachelor’s degree in television production, journalism and English from the University of Kentucky, and a master’s degree in public relations/marketing from the University of North Texas. She has been accredited in public relations since 1996.

 

 

The Fourth annual Worthy Awards – Entry Tips and Information

The Fourth annual Worthy Awards
Entry Tips and Information
By: Carolyn Bobo, APR, Fellow PRSA

The Worthy Awards 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 between January 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, 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?

Carefully Read the Entry Parameters
The judges (Cleveland’s PRSA 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 … anecdotal reports.

Objective/Purpose (Tactics) and Planning (Campaigns, Projects)
Why did you do what you did? Possible reasons are to increase sales, raise funds, create name recognition or influence 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 “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.”

Information below on Communicator of the Year will be available soon. Please check back.

Good luck to everyone. See you at the Nov. 5 awards presentation.

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