An award win gives you a big opportunity to obtain press coverage.
If you’re a finalist, Robert Zarywacz suggests preparing in advance so you don’t waste your big moment.
“It’s the morning after the regional awards. What a hangover! But what a win! And, boy, did we celebrate!”
(Enough to warrant three exclamation marks.)
“Now it’s time to tell everyone about how great we are. I’ll just get another cup of coffee and sit down to write the press release.”
Make best PR use of your award win
It can be a big achievement to win an award and it’s definitely useful for obtaining media coverage, but an award win isn’t always enough on its own.
As our bleary-eyed winner sits down to compose their press release at 9.30am on the morning after, a journalist on their target publication has already been writing an article on these awards since 9.00am.
What’s more, another four businesses won awards last night, one of them winning two awards, so they are going to be the main focus of the newspaper article. The journalist has received a press release from one of the other winners and has already spoken to the winner of the two awards.
Add to this press releases sent to the newspaper from two other businesses which have each won national awards that outrank the regional awards, and our friend’s press release is an also-ran even before it’s written.
Does this really happen? Yes, this is based on my experience as a journalist when I observed award winners working to get my attention when it was too late.
Now, there are other ways of generating publicity from winning an award – in newsletters to customers, on social media and on web sites – but free coverage in the press and media is usually worth a lot. Think how much you would pay to advertise.
What can you do to improve your chances of media coverage?
Plan – write your winner’s press release before the awards event. You won’t be able to put in all the details, such as judges’ comments, although ask the awards organisers at the event when you have been named a winner. Get as much material as you can in advance.
Competitors – you will not be the only award winner. What makes you different? Will you win two awards? Will it be the third year you’ve won this award? Have you won other awards this year? What is it that will get you noticed by journalists so that your story becomes the focus of their awards articles?
Photos – usually an official photographer takes photos at awards ceremonies. Find out how the press can obtain photos of your award win. Sometimes photos can be a pain to obtain, so any help you can give journalists will make their job easier.
Move fast – contact the media as soon as you can. If the awards were announced during an evening event, do it first thing the following morning. Remember our journalist who was writing the article at 9am. You may be hungover, but the journalist will probably have a clear head and be writing to a deadline.
Respond – if a journalist calls you or emails, respond immediately. They’ll have other articles to write if they can’t get a response from you.
With a small amount of preparation you can do a lot to help your chances of getting media coverage of your awards wins. And that’s another reason to celebrate.