Applying for an award for your business can be hard work, but the benefits are enormous, if you capitalise on the win. Kate Adam provides a step-by-step guide
So you're thinking about applying for an award - for your
business, a team or one of your people. Yes, it can be hard work,
but don't be put off: a win presents one of the best opportunities
you'll ever have to generate buzz about your firm for the year
ahead and beyond. Miss it, miss out. And you'll get the most
benefit if you begin planning now, when you apply.
The first thing you need is a clear plan for your communications
around the win.
The main objective is to generate positive brand awareness for
your company, but you need to go more granular that to get the best
possible result. Get together a group of your people from across
the appropriate parts of your business. List your stakeholders,
decide what messages and channels are appropriate to each (and what
else you want to tell them about your firm, staff, brand), and
decide on any specific business objectives for each stakeholder
group - such as building your network of strategic partners for a
particular department. Your plan also needs to include a schedule
of key events and timings for communication, and details of how you
will measure success.
But what should your plan include?
Use the award logo
Put the winner's logo for your award through all the channels
you have, as quickly as possible and wherever possible. This should
- email footer
- blog / vlog
- business stationery, particularly business cards, envelopes and
invoices (you could have nice labels printed and stuck on if you
don't want to reprint stationery)
- badges for staff
- exhibition stands
You could also have a simple poster made up for use in an A-frame outside your office, and/or framed in reception.
Send an email
Let your referral sources, clients and other professional
contacts know, through a well designed group email. Include the
award logo and your official photo, and tailor the message to thank
each audience. A personal email can be powerful for key individuals
or organisations who have been instrumental in your success.
Hold an event
You could put together a seminar, event or special offer to be
timed with your announcement.
A celebration for your staff will acknowledge the part they have
played in your success. A seminar or social event for your
professional referrers is a great way of thanking them in
Use social media
Announce your win on all your social media channels, as soon as
possible, and, without bombarding your audience, keep it in their
minds. Then, consider one or all of the following.
- Connect with other finalists to congratulate them - a great way
to build your professional network and potential referral
- Look out for other activity from the awards organisers and
sponsors, such as any video from the event, and link to it.
- Write a blog on the positive experience you and your business
have had through entering and winning the award.
- Consider making a simple, short video or vlog for your website
or YouTube channel, about the win
Produce a press release
The more interesting your story or angle is, the more likely you
will be to get press coverage. Make the subject line catchy and
compelling, and your story as interesting as possible. Describe
what unique methodology you created which made you award-winning,
and any important competitors you beat. Include any other
interesting facts about your company, sector or profession. Try to
find a 'hook' - perhaps a national event, some research or
statistics related to your sector product or service - to make the
story more newsworthy.
Now you need to get the release to the right people. If you
don't have one already, create a spreadsheet of relevant
publications and media channels, with key contact names, phone
numbers and email addresses. Keep the list current, regularly
checked and updated.
Follow up with a phone call. Ask if there are any areas of your
expertise from which their readers could benefit in future. Use
this as an opportunity to build a relationship and position
yourself as a credible authority in your field.
Assuming you have recently won an award, congratulations. If
not, perhaps this has whetted your appetite to enter!
Your next goal may be to become a multiple award-winning firm.
Alternatively, you could sponsor next year's award or volunteer to
judge it, to continue the association and increase brand
A longer version of this article will appear in the April edition of Managing for Success, the magazine of the Law Management Section, our community for partners, leaders and practice managers in legal businesses.
Find out more about the Law Management Section
View the Section's webinar on putting together a successful awards entry
The Law Society's Excellence Awards
The Excellence Awards, the landmark event in the year for
recognising achievement in the profession, are in their 11th
year. Nominations are now open, across 19 categories, closing on
Friday 26 May.