Marijane Funess November 8, 2013 | 12:08:17

Awards Equal Rewards When PR Firms Score For The Client

In an earlier post we discussed the mechanics of entering a B2B PR or consumer public relations client in an awards competition. Here is a brief case study on how we “scored” meaningful recognition for a hard-to-categorize client.

Our agency recently entered a small business specializing in deluxe packaged travel for non-profits,started by two entrepreneurs, into an awards competition sponsored by SCORE. SCORE is the largest non-profit association dedicated to helping small businesses through education and mentoring.

The organization is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and has more than 11,000+ volunteers who offer their services free as mentors. With this client’s inherently small, niched audience of charity and philanthropic organizations, finding the right award to go after was the first challenge.

SCORE’S national awards program has become the gold standard of small business honors. Their annual awards dinner attracts nearly 500 people ranging from CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to senators, congressmen and SCORE mentors from across the nation. Many of the attendees, while not directly making charity fundraiser decisions, were certainly influencers on boards and likely maintained longstanding philanthropic ties. Selecting this competition proved strategically sound for this B2B PR client’s goal of increasing exposure to nonprofit decision-makers.

Although PR agencies want to win accolades for their clients wherever they can, an award that can be leveraged into a real business result makes the win all the sweeter.

In this case, the SCORE team recognized the importance of winners leveraging the honor to help secure leads and provided collateral and other support to do so. Here is how our team was able to merchandise the SCORE win.

Direct outreach to target prospects. Our agency produces the client’s quarterly newsletter, which we chose as a perfect vehicle to inform targets, existing and lapsed clients about the honor.

Bringing the news to local market business press. The company principals live in different cities with local media always in search of “hometown” success stories.

Sharing content socially. The award organizers created winner video vignettes which showed the business owners in a different light. These were shared on the company platforms, including LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook. A Twitter campaign also preceded the voting and announced the win with many re-tweets and additional sharing.

Working the leads. This combined effort to showcase the win has resulted in a handful of meaningful leads which the client is now working to convert to customers.

With the end of the year upon us, now is a good time to start looking for some worthy awards competitions to submit your client’s work.

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