Four Tips for Writing Award Nominations That Win

“And the award goes to…”

This phrase has been engraved in my mind since I was a kid and first watched the Academy Awards. I dreamt about being a movie star someday, or even a singer, and receiving what I thought was the highest recognition anyone could ever receive. However, here I am, 20-some years later, working in public relations and writing this blog post about those dreams.

While I may never win an Oscar or a Grammy, I do get to help craft meaningful award submissions on behalf of my clients. In fact, I typically draft at least one award nomination each month. Crafting award submissions is a fun and creative way to break from our typical routine of media pitching and can sometimes create just as much value as a media hit. Awards help businesses or individuals build their street cred. It’s one thing to say you’re the best in XYZ, but it’s another to have an award showing that others also believe you’re the best.

Every award win is ultimately up to the judges, but below I’ve outlined some best practices when drafting submissions on behalf of clients.

Do your research.
How many times have you heard us say that before? But with award opportunities, this is insanely important. We typically begin research for the following year in the fall and continue researching opportunities throughout the next year. During this phase, you will need to think big, sometimes small, and always outside of the box.


Things to include in the calendar:

  • First, check and see if your client has already received awards in the past. Doing this first is a great starting point and can potentially help you start an initial list of new opportunities.
  • You should also research what awards their competitors have won in recent years. Seeing this list can help you realize an additional area of awards you might have never thought of applying to.
  • Additionally, use key words during the research phase. If your client is a retailer, use search terms like “retailer awards” or “best places to shop awards.”
  • Lastly, ask if there are any awards your client wants to apply to. They know their industry the best and there might be one they’ve had on their mind for a while. 


Create a calendar.
Once you’ve completed the initial researching phase, you should then move into creating a content calendar. Having a calendar can ultimately be your saving grace when it comes to organizing all upcoming opportunities. Typically, we’ll create an internal calendar for our team to reference throughout the year. We’ll put all of our initial opportunities in the calendar and then organize from there. If it’s helpful, you can always share this calendar with a client via Google sheets.

A quick glance of what that calendar can look like is below: 

Things to include in the calendar:

  • Month
  • Opportunity name
  • Cost
  • Submission deadline
  • Status
  • Other helpful columns you could include: Who’s handling (you vs. client, you vs. another team member), “about” section, link to receipt and more


Outline all details.
Now that you’ve done your research and created a content calendar, next it’s time to outline the award details for your client. Every client is different, which means there will be a different process for each one. Find out which process they prefer to establish a proper protocol moving forward. Different processes include sending all opportunities via email once a month, sending individual opportunities via email as they arise, share a Google sheet that will notify every time a new opportunity is added, and more.

Things you could include in your outline:

  • Name of opportunity (linked to website)
  • Deadline
  • Cost
  • About the award
  • Anything you might need in order to complete a submission (additional information, supporting materials, etc.)


Create a draft before submitting.
Now it’s time for the fun part – create a draft version of the entire submission! I’d recommend doing this whether you’re drafting a nomination for your client or even yourself. Most applications allow you to view all questions and criteria before submitting, which is a great practice to have when drafting a submission. Creating a draft allows you to create comments or variations of the nomination before you send it to your client for approval. This also limits the back-and-forth questions you might have while working on the nomination in real-time.

Once you have all the questions from the award included in the draft, it’s time to actually start drafting the content. Over time, submitting award nominations for a client can get easier and quicker if they have preapproved messaging. In the meantime, get creative to see what type of messaging sticks with the judges and which submissions lead you to award-wins.

After the draft has been approved, it’s easy peasy from there on out. You can take the approved messaging and paste it into the online submission and voila! Make sure to always forward on the submission and/or payment confirmation to your client as well.

We can’t promise any Oscars nominations, but we can secure some award wins for you. Think your business or organization could use help with drafting submissions? Or need help in other areas, too? Check out our services page or reach out to Lauryn Gray (lauryn@dittoepr.com) for more information!

How to Amplify Coverage on Social Media

At Dittoe PR, we often say that media relations is our “bread and butter,” but what does that really mean? Typically, we win big for our clients in securing national, local, and trade media coverage, and we’re always hungry for that next piece of media interest. While we always make sure to show the value of a piece of coverage to our clients, we can also help our clients amplify that coverage on their social media channels, as well as ours.

Why share coverage on social media? For starters, studies show that in 2019 there will be an estimated 2.27 billion social media users around the globe. Yes, that is billion with a “B.” With that many people, you’d be amiss to risk losing out on even a fraction of that audience.

So, I’m breaking down the different social media channels and how sharing coverage on each can help boost your brand.

Facebook
Ah, Facebook. Full of distant relatives and people you went to high school with, it can seem impossible to be seen through the noise on this platform. The key here is to utilize the colorful images that populate when you share the link to that great piece of coverage your stellar PR firm helped you secure.

Keep the caption short and let the headline do the talking, but be sure to tag the media outlet! You can also boost or turn a piece of coverage into an ad, which is a tactic best used with high-caliber media hits. This will help drive new audiences back to your page as well as to the piece of coverage, increasing the chances of a click-thru to your website from multiple avenues.

LinkedIn
Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn is great for sharing coverage as a status update. You can utilize the same tactics by creating a snappy caption and letting the link, photo and the headline do the talking. You can also use LinkedIn’s targeted ads to share coverage directly to your target audiences and potential customers, helping to increase your brand recognition and showcase accomplishments.

As an executive or company spokesperson, you can also share any media interviews you’ve conducted on your personal LinkedIn page under your current job description, allowing the coverage to live permanently on your profile.

Twitter
Twitter is one my personal favorite places to share coverage because you can mix it up. You can oftentimes tag not only the publication, but the reporter as well, increasing your chances of a retweet and getting your content in front of more people. If the outlet or reporter that covered you shares the story, make sure to retweet them. This helps build a great relationship with outlets and reporters and can help generate coverage in the future if they know you’ll help them boost their own engagement numbers as well.

You can also share coverage more than once, using the ICYMI (in case you missed it) tactic, as Twitter still runs off a chronological order timeline, or break down some of the top quotes from the story into a Twitter thread.

Instagram
Instagram might seem a little tricky for sharing coverage, since you can’t link out to a story in your caption. Not to worry, there are plenty of ways around this. If you monitor your social media accounts daily, you can update the link in your bio to a recent piece of coverage. Posting a photo of the article in your feed and using #linkinbio will tell your followers how to find that specific media story.

Our favorite method though, is Instagram stories. If you run a verified account (or have 10,000+ followers), you can add a link to your stories that will direct people to a piece of coverage. If not, feel free to post photos or videos of the article in your story for your users to see your company name in the spotlight. Just seeing your name in the press is enough to strengthen and increase brand awareness.

In the end, social media will never be a “one-size-fits-all” game. What works on Twitter won’t necessarily work on Facebook, and what works on Facebook may still need tweaked in order to be impactful on LinkedIn. Take time to customize each post for the audience and platform to ensure the best results.

Now that you know how to share great media coverage, perhaps you need help securing some? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to set up a consultation today!








PR Reporting 101: The Essential Measurement Tools

This time last year, I was barreling toward a quarter-life crisis by unnecessarily stressing about post-grad life. Despite rationally knowing I was prepared to work as a “real-life” PR pro and function as an active adult, I was terrified. Today, I can reflect back and say that my rationale was exactly accurate – minus my juvenile snack habits (Java flavored Monster, anyone?) – and I was much more prepared than I thought I would be.

If you’re preparing to graduate in May, you may be wondering what my biggest (or most surprising) learning curve has been in my first full-time agency role. Since my days as an intern in a small NYC agency, I’ve realized how vital measurement and reporting tools are for showcasing successful public relations efforts.

Thankfully, I was already somewhat familiar with Cision, a contact-finding tool, upon starting at Dittoe PR. However, I felt a smidge intimated when I received my onboarding schedule on my first day, which included an overview of several platforms I’d never heard of before. For whatever reason, I wasn’t taught or even familiarized with reporting tools in college and only received real-world experience during an internship with one of several important tools.

To give you a head start in your first agency gig, I’ve rounded up a few of the software VIP’s every PR pro should know.

Cision.

This online public relations tool allows professionals to tap into a massive database of journalist and blogger contact information for earned media outreach. The Cision platform gives PR pros access to intelligence, influence and insights and is commonly used to monitor news and social media sites, as well as distribute press releases.

The majority of the time, Cision is used to build or bulk up press lists. We consistently build specifically-tailored press lists for clients that include specific markets, outlets and reporters. Taking it a step further, we organize by reporters’ beats and our pitching and/or press release topic. Cision can also be used to provide circulation and ad rate numbers for digital and print publications, allowing us to track the potential reach of a secured earned media story.

Alexa.

This tool is, by far, the easiest to learn and is perfect for producing quick results. Primarily, PR professionals use Alexa to monitor the competitive analytics of a website’s traffic. Alexa has a large database that displays the historic data for the number of page views, unique monthly visitors and the estimated page views for a website of all sizes, all over the world.

Mainly, Alexa is used to track the audience impressions of a specific piece of coverage and, from there, the estimated advertising equivalency for all stories secured on behalf of a client during a specified amount of time. We track our efforts in real time, sharing this data with our client contacts as these stories are published, but we also aggregate the data in monthly and annual reports to showcase our efforts over time.

Critical Mention.

This reporting tool allows PR pros to access broadcast television and radio news clips in real-time. Critical Mention search, tracks and report clients’ significant media moments almost instantly. Additionally, Critical Mention tracks the number of viewers and estimates the advertising equivalency for the earned media.

When a client is mentioned on-air, we search Critical Mention using keywords and phrases, viewing the “word play” of the segment (this means the closed captioning) to find the broadcast coverage, pulling all mentions into a single, easy-to-view report before sharing the link with the client for internal use only.

Sprout.

This tool is a super-handy social media management platform. Sprout Social allows users to draft and post content, engage in two-way communication, conduct social listening, monitor audience demographics and track efforts through reporting.

Mainly, we use Sprout Social to manage the social media efforts for a variety of clients on our roster. Not only can we monitor post metrics, such as which posts received the most engagements or impressions, but Sprout also shares insightful audience demographics, including which time of day or days of the week were best for reaching the largest audience. At the end of each month, we use this platform to report our efforts, including the total number of impressions, engagements, link clicks and more.

TrendKite.

This platform tracks digital media mentions over a period of time. TrendKite allows users to build dashboards for clients, including top content, digital impressions, ad equivalency and more. Even further, PR pros can monitor a company’s “share of voice,” which allows you to compare competitors based on earned media coverage, mentions and overall media attention.

At Dittoe PR, we use TrendKite to build monthly reports for our clients’ digital coverage, tracking share of voice, total number of media mentions, readership, audience sentiment and more. We also digest the competitor coverage to search for new publications and writers for future outreach.

These tools are vital for tracking and reporting important metrics to prove the ROI of our efforts. Think your company could benefit from more in-depth research, tracking and management? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to schedule a consultation today!