And the winner is...
Building a company’s virtual trophy case isn’t just about company ego. It can help build public trust, professional networks, brand awareness, SEO benefits, employee confidence and more. But finding the Web awards that are worth your time and effort to enter can be a challenge, and it’s not about only entering contests you think you can win. After all, what the grandiose Webby Awards are to one company, the smaller, Chicago-based Moxie Awards might be to another. The bottom line is finding the contests with the most to offer nominees and – fingers crossed – winners.
Assign & Angle
The first step is to assign a contest coordinator. This person will do their due diligence to research and then pitch what contests provide maximum exposure and also fit the company’s profile. This person should be well-adept in your company’s marketing strategies, growth, employee incentives and more – or should be comfortable and confident enough to ask someone who is. Also keep organizational skills in mind when assigning. A contest coordinator needs to keep everyone involved up to date on deadlines, contest events and more. Plus, he or she will need to answer the following questions about the award's perks and process:
- Is the list of nominees published? If so, where?
For many contests, you are considered a nominee, just for entering. Even if your company is a long shot to win, having its name next to its large competitors or other big names, is an important step toward all the good things we mentioned before – brand recognition being among them.
- How else does the sponsoring organization promote nominees and winners?
This question is imperative to contest decision making. Winning for best overall website doesn’t mean anything if the sponsoring organization doesn’t provide you with a winner’s seal, a winner’s announcement - i.e. ceremony, press releases, social media announcements, print announcement, etc. - or even a high-res logo for you to use at your discretion.
- Why can your company win?
Have the contest coordinator pitch the contest to you just as a public relations professional would to a reporter or editor. Giving one person ownership of ‘finding an angle’ will quickly improve their skills at doing so.
- How much?
Most business owners or executives would move up this question, but getting the pros and cons of each contest – before the price tag – will help you make a more informed decision.
Once the decision is made to enter a contest, another decision will need to be made about who writes the submission. The amount of content varies, extremely, with each contest. Regardless of the word count requirements, the submitter will need to have proper grammar skills and be able to write compelling copy. Then, proofread, proofread, proofread.
Don’t wait until the winners are announced to promote your nomination. If the sponsoring organization permits it, write and distribute a press release stating your case to win (check out our list of the top, free press release distribution sites). If it’s a lesser-known contest, include other companies who are also nominated, if available. Also announce the nomination on your social media networks. Even write a thank you note on their Facebook page, for good self-promotion.
Make sure your contest coordinator stays current with each phase of the awarding process. If your company is a final nominee, more information may be needed. Also, larger sponsoring organizations hold events throughout the process, which are great for networking. By the way, write press releases about final nominations and events your company attends, to reap SEO benefits.
Win or lose, everyone is a winner if they enter the right contests for them. What is the right contest? The answer is different for every company.