So you've won an award and it's time to issue a press release. Why should people care? What can you do for it to get really noticed?
Industry awards are much sought after. Winning an award, often against your closest competitors, can be a great endorsement of your brand and your efforts. Yet the mere fact that you have won isn’t what makes it news - or why people might be interested in your story.
Take this all-to-common, bog-standard headline and synopsis:
My company wins industry award
My company is delighted to announce that it has won a prestigious ACME industry award.
OK, it tells us that the company has won. But even if it's a Pulitzer, let alone a smaller industry award, the announcement is too inward-looking: it doesn't connect with readers. A potentially great endorsement has been turned into self congratulation. If your headline simply says 'My Company wins ACME award', it's unlikely to make good publicity for you.
(And, people tend to care more about what affects them and not whether you happen to be delighted.)
Tip 1. The headline should be why you won (not just that you have won).
Think about what it was that made you win the award, e.g. a campaign or program, an innovation, a unique method, a particular strategy, an investment in people, technology or skills, XYZ.
- ACME award shows support for XYZ
- My Company's investment in XYZ secures ACME award
- XYZ helps My Company win ACME award
These headlines explain why an award was won, not just that it was won.
(An award-winning solution often solved a problem or delivered a meaningful benefit - or perhaps broke new ground. That should ideally be in the headline.)
Tip 2. Connect the win with your values and your market.
Publicity needs stand out from other similar announcements and cut through to the intended readers. Let's take one of those headlines and add a synopsis that builds on My Company’s unique values and identifies its market:
ACME award shows support for XYZ
Rocket scientists have recognised the potential for XYZ technology by awarding My Company an ACME award.
Other rocket scientists are likely to be interested in this and will get to read about My Company’s ‘XYZ technology’.
Tip 3. Explain what it means.
Why you won, what you do and who for aren't actually enough on their own to make a story into valuable publicity. Your customers may not know about learning-industry awards and are unlikely care about your involvement unless they feel affected or see how they could benefit.
ACME award shows support for XYZ
My Company has received an ACME award from the Association of Rocket Scientists for its investment in XYZ technology which enables people to travel through time.
Other rocket scientists can now see the wider benefit of XYZ technology and what winning this award was for and how they might benefit.
(Care is required here, as turning this into a sales pitch, or regurgitating My Company’s brand positioning manual, could kill the story and actually damage credibility.)
The press release is no longer inward-looking or self-congratulatory. It has meaning and purpose: it’s interesting and means something to My Company’s market. The author has made good use of the award's endorsement.
As with any press release, the headline and synopsis should identify the heart of the announcement. This means explaining why the award was won and what the win means for others, not just that it ‘was’ won and what your company thinks about it.
Bear in mind that industry awards press releases are likely to appear alongside similar announcements from others, (perhaps many of them) so the author has to be specific and unique, up front, for it to stand out from the crowd.
Often the hard work in creating a good announcement about an award will already have been done during the submission and presentation: many ideas should already exist - they will be what won you the award in the first place. If they impressed the judges, then they'll likely impress the media.
There are other things PR professionals can do to help get their awards press releases noticed:
- Include a short video of the awards company explaining why you won. Or if that’s not possible, one of your own team talking about what they did.
- Include a news photograph of the winning team, preferably in action at work or, if that’s not possible, at the awards presentation.
- Include a link in your announcement to the full case study
- Include a quote from a customer and or an industry analyst: both create independent context.
Authors can apply these basic principles to other kinds of endorsement-based announcements too, such as market analyst's reports and lists.