By Dan Pritchard

I’m suspicious of awards. There can be a cost to enter, a cost to attend. But they can also be a stamp of approval for great work and results achieved, provide employees with recognition for their outstanding efforts and of course, be part of your organisation’s marketing strategy: strive for the best, win awards, then let people know you’ve won the awards.

So, if you think you and your colleagues deserve a trip down the red carpet, acceptance speech in hand, here are five key steps to consider:

  1. Don’t bother entering unless you’ve got something award-winning to shout about. Judges will see through attempts to ‘dress up’ an average year or work that is just ‘par for the course’.
  2. Pick the right awards for your brand – awards with strong credentials, recognised by your industry or business community, quality judges and categories that match the work you do.
  3. Create your entry backwards. Set down all the outcomes achieved first. If you can’t list at least five, is it really worth entering?
  4. Get your best writer on the case. I’ve done it many times and judging can be a long process. They are looking for evidence of great results but to get the judges hooked, you need an exciting story to tell. Concise and sparkling copy, use of visuals (photos, graphs, infographics, video…), emotions combined with hard facts, a mix of quotes – clients, staff, partners – all helps build a compelling picture of your brand and the great work you do.
  5. Learn. For each entry that didn’t make the shortlist, ask for feedback. For each shortlisted entry that didn’t take home the top prize, ask for feedback. You might not always get it, but insight on what you did well and where the entry was lacking, can only help.

Heeding that advice, one award scheme that we are involved with is the Chartered Institute of Public Relations PRide Awards. They set the industry standards so it is important we measure our work against our peers.

In three of the last four years we have entered and each time been shortlisted and always won either Silver or Gold.

This year, no communications agency across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset has been shortlisted for more awards than Astley Media:

  • Corporate and Business Communications Campaign of the Year for work for conveyancing firm PSG
  • Not for Profit Campaign of the Year for business programme Fast Track to Growth
  • Outstanding Small Consultancy of the Year.

Whether we win or not, being shortlisted again is deserved credit for our team and important in setting Astley Media apart based on the quality of our work.

In the UK, anyone can set up a marketing agency. But that doesn’t mean we will ever allow our standards to slip below the highest in the land. Entering chartered awards allows us to test our work against the very best.

And of course, being a marketing and PR agency, when we do win awards, we do work hard to celebrate and tell our story! We’re always here to help organisations get the recognition they deserve too – but only if you’ve definitely got something worth shouting about!