Awards SubmissionsIt used to be—before small child (BSC)—Mr. D and I would have seen nearly every film nominated for Best Picture.

This year?

A total sum of zero.

(But we have seen Finding Dory, Zootopia, Secret Life of Pets, Sing, Moana, Storks, Jungle Book, and Trolls.)

Actually, Mr. D. has seen one Best Picture nominee because he went with our nephew to a midnight showing (I prefer to sleep).

We have some catching up to do!

Because, here we are…in the midst of peak awards season.

Everywhere you look there’s another red carpet event honoring people for excellence in their field.

This is also the time when PR professionals take a look at last year’s successes.

We start to consider which of our (or our clients’) campaigns will become the best awards submissions.

Too often, the awards submissions process goes down to the wire.

When I worked at FleishmanHillard, we always waited until the last minute.

And we always tended to write the goals of the campaign to reflect the results in our awards submissions.

Not exactly the right way to do things.

But it goes to show that, as an industry, we’re not so great at the results part…and so we scramble. 

We stay late the night before the awards submissions are due, pulling everything together, and submit right under deadline.

Weeks go by and eventually the form email rejection arrives. 

Plan to Win the Awards Submissions Game

With hundreds of other applicants vying for the same award, there’s nothing you can do to guarantee your submission will be picked as a winner.

There is, however, a very simple way to make that selection a lot more likely.

Plan your campaign, from the start, with the expectation you will be submitting it for an award.

This simple change in mindset allows you to draft a campaign brief that includes the most frequently requested (and frequently waffled upon by submitters) details, specifically:

  • Objectives. What are you trying to achieve with your campaign? This is going to be a statement that contains a verb and is something you can control. Note that “go viral” is not an objective. Nope. It really isn’t.
  • Strategies. How are you going to achieve your objective(s)?
  • Tactics. What are the specific, time-bound tasks you will execute in support of your strategy?
  • Results. What did you accomplish against your objective? Note that a number of impressions or AVEs are vanity metrics, not business results, and reporting them will not help you take home the gold.

Metrics that Matter

Results that support your objectives are those that show your activities had a positive effect on your business.

The six metrics we recommend you use to measure real business results are:

  • Domain authority. This number represents how respected your website is as a source of useful information. Track this number over time and show how your activities caused it to increase.
  • Keywords. Are you ranking on page one of search results for your priority keywords? How did this campaign improve your search results rankings?
  • Website visitors. Through using UTM parameters and URL shorteners, you can track the traffic your PR campaign drives to your website.
  • Email addresses. By driving those same website visitors to a lead magnet, such as a valuable eBook, white paper, or template, or even a newsletter subscription form, they enter your sales funnel, providing yet another measure of your activities’ affect on the business.
  • Qualified leads. How many of those email addresses were from people who fit the mold of your ideal customer, or at least meet your lead scoring threshold?
  • Sales conversions. How many closed, won sales can be attributed back to your PR activities?

There’s no magic wand you can wave to ensure that your awards submission will be a winner.

By having a documented plan upfront, including real metrics for measuring your results—instead of trying to back into goals or objectives based on the results you obtained—you greatly improve your chances of executing an award-winning PR campaign.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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