Small businesses that pursue industry award and recognition programs are able to leverage a valuable public relations marketing tool for added company exposure and credibility
A feature story or company spotlight in a leading industry publication is golden for any business. And one of the best ways to get prime coverage in an industry publication is by winning an industry recognition award. The additional exposure of an industry award from a third party puts an instant spotlight on a company and can even help to add credibility to relatively unknown businesses.
In addition to the positive public relations exposure, industry award programs can be added to a company’s credentials portfolio and positively impact future sales, investments and partnerships.
Identifying Industry Award Programs with Public Relations Potential
The first step in determining a strategy for industry awards is identifying what relevant publications or associations offer award recognition programs that may be suitable for your business. If the award program is too much of a stretch (in terms of industry focus or other criteria), then it is generally a waste of company resources to pursue it. Companies should seek to pursue award programs that appear to offer the best public relations potential.
Possible award programs with PR potential may include:
- Annual award programs with high visibility
- Award programs run by top industry association and/or publications
- Programs based on industry credentials or achievements
- Programs that typically get additional media coverage
Developing a Company Strategy for Industry Award Recognition Programs
Companies that are serious about being selected for awards programs need to develop a proactive strategy for seeking out award and recognition opportunities.
Clearly defining a company’s assets – in terms of company accomplishments or individual accomplishments – will help identify which types of awards and recognition programs may be attainable. Make sure that accomplishments are also differentiated within your industry so that your company stands out from the competition.
Once accomplishments are differentiated and clearly defined, it will be easier to align awards categories with specific areas of accomplishments – and the application process will be more straightforward.
Here are some strategies to consider for award entries:
- Submit multiple entries for award nominations Request support of key customers, partners or industry leaders for nominations
- Support the award program by also supporting the presenting organization (through sponsorships, event participation or other means)
- Consider company award entries as well as individual entries for key executives or individuals in the company
Post-Award PR Efforts to Optimize Award Publicity
Typically the industry association or publication will promote the award winners through editorial coverage in publications, website overviews, industry events or press releases. However, once an industry award or recognition is achieved, companies should also take full advantage of the award exposure with their own PR efforts that increase publicity for the award.
Ideas to promote company awards through additional PR efforts include:
- Press release announcing the award
- Promotion of award in social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn)
- Inclusion of award in a website press room (under an “awards & recognition” category)
- Website badge from industry association or publication as credential on home page of website
- Reprints of award editorial coverage for use as sales collateral
- Mention of award in sales presentations and website company overview information
- Media outreach to solicit follow-up feature editorials or articles with relevant industry publications
Although many award and recognition programs require some investment in terms of application fees or association memberships, winning an award for your company or representative within your company can be an inexpensive public relations marketing tool that you can leverage for long-term PR benefits.
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