A strategic, six-step approach to the Silver Spike entry process

My PR team and I recently sat down to determine which clients, campaigns, projects and events we should consider entering for the PRSA Silver Spike Awards. For anyone who has submitted these before, you know they are a ton of work! So we wanted to be strategic, thoughtful, creative…much like a winning campaign. Here’s how we approach the process. Think Big. We thought about all the great projects we had completed over the last year. We thought about times that strategy and planning really paid off, times we saw incredible results and times we got crazy creative. We put all those successes and wins down on paper and raised our glasses for all the PR badassery we had accomplished. Pro-tip – brainstorming over drinks is never a bad idea. What goes where. Next, we looked at each potential entry and determined which category made the most sense. We didn’t want to enter too many submissions in the same category as we’d be essentially going up against ourselves. Get it down on paper. After we whittled down our list of possible submissions we drafted outlines for each entry. We included draft copy or bullet points for each section of the written entry (Research/Planning, Budget, Goal, Objectives, Execution and Results). We also included a list of what would be submitted as part of the supporting materials and started thinking about what needs to happen to gather it all together. Keep in mind the supporting materials should elevate your written entry. Edit. We then got back together and took a critical look at our possible entries to see if they had what...

Dissecting a winning award entry

As we approach the few short weeks before entries for the PRSA Sierra Nevada Silver Spikes are due, we know that each of you have diligently planned your campaigns throughout the year just for these awards and are practically finished with your entry. However, on the off chance this isn’t you, here are a few tips for how to receive some recognition for your hard work. From a person who has entered six Silver Spike awards and won a few as well as lost a few, I hope to share my knowledge and insights. After being familiar with the process, I now plan many of my campaigns based on the entry requirement for the Silver Spikes. However, when I was beginning my first few, I noticed that my most successful campaigns were very focused on results. I began with the results in mind, chose a category based on those results and the entire entry focused on those results. For first timers or veterans, my biggest suggestion is to keep the success top of mind throughout the entry process. But first, let’s start with the good news, the entry is only two pages long. That said, this two-page submission must address six areas: Situation/Research/Planning Budget/Resources Goal/Action Objective Execution Evaluation/Results It’s all about the results With the results in mind, the most important part of filling out an award entry is deciding which category to enter. After picking your category and before writing, keep in mind that our sister in Wisconsin will be reading and evaluating these entries. This chapter has very limited awareness of the Sierra Nevada region or the...

My loser award entry and six things I learned from it

I entered my own work for a Silver Spike last year for the first time. It was the only entry in its category, and it didn’t place. Not even an honorable mention. Thankfully, as Full House taught me, the only mistakes are the ones you don’t learn from. Here are a few things I learned from losing against no one (or myself, if I’m feeling introspective about it). Hopefully these help you, too! 1. Get close to the process Read the rules and scoring guidelines thoroughly. Our chapter has high standards (this is a good thing!) and it’s best to familiarize yourself with the judging process. I SERIOUSLY CAN’T EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH. Get comfy with the judging criteria to know what judges have been asked to look for. Another quick way to get familiar is through being on the judging committee and/or serving as a judge when we judge our reciprocal chapter’s entries in the spring (you did know our entries are judged by another PRSA chapter, right?). So, see you at the committee meeting next year? 2. Reflecting on what I can do better I got to take a look at what I would do or handle differently next time. Sometimes this thing we call a job can move so quickly, we forget to check our work. This evaluation process is so important – and not just in terms of ROI or client invoices. Evaluating helps us become better professionals. It helps us keep the goals and objectives top of mind. It helps serve the mission or our organization. 3. Reflecting on how badass I am Writing my...

Four Local Public Relations Professionals Earn Accreditation

The Sierra Nevada Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America announces its newest accredited professionals in northern Nevada: Dan Davis, APR Tiffany East, APR Jackie Shelton, APR Dean Schermerhorn, APR The Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential represents the highest standards of performance and ethical practice in the field. The APR asserts professional competence; communicates professional expertise, plus personal and professional dedication and values and reflects progressive public relations industry practices and high ethical standards. “Earning the APR demonstrates these professionals’ mastery of today’s strategic communications practice and their commitment to lifelong learning and ethical standards,” said Anne McMillin, APR, vice president of professional development for the Sierra Nevada Chapter. To earn their accreditation, these professionals, over the course of a year, prepared and presented a case study demonstrating their understanding of the public relations planning process and then took an exam to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to excel in the profession. Dan Davis, APR is the marketing manager at Bayer Properties (The Summit Mall); Tiffany East, APR is the owner of her own firm, Tiffany East PR; Jackie Shelton, APR is vice president of public relations at The Estipona Group and Dean Schermerhorn, APR owns Concise Communications. All are based in Reno/Sparks. With the addition of these four new APRs, the Sierra Nevada Chapter boasts 19 of its 88 members, or 21 percent, who have attained their...

Public Relations Tips For Bolstering Your Brand’s Reputation

This blog has been previously posted at NCET.org            Public relations(PR) is far more than just sending a press release. Communicators skate blurred lines between marketers, advertisers, digital divas, community engagers, reputation managers, publicists, brand advisers, social media strategists, and terms we haven’t created yet. Bottom line: in a fast moving entrepreneurial world, the power of PR has never been more relevant. While it takes far more than one article to delve into, here are a few solid PR tips to leverage when working to earn coverage in the same way that Reno recently has: Know Your Media. Knowing which outlet and which reporter to talk to goes a long way in helping get your story out to the public. Learn the nuances between what an editor does on a day-to-day basis versus what a beat reporter covers, distinguish which broadcast reporter might like to focus on the arts beat over another. Refining the media contact’s focus will help ensure you route the information to the right folks for the best odds of getting your story covered. Timeliness: Let’s say you’re hosting an event in April. Sending information out two days before cuts things a little close, but sending things out in the first of January may mean the outlet has no interest in helping publicize. Who Is The End User? Who’s reading the article? Listening to the radio station? Watching the news broadcast? Put yourself in their shoes and craft a compelling reason why that audience member would want to know your information. Will it save them money, or provide them information, give them an edge? Keep the outlet’s audience in mind to give yourself the best chance for coverage. As entrepreneurs,...

PRSA Judging

PRSA Sierra Nevada chapter reciprocates judging PRSA Wisconsin’s annual awards applications for the best of the best in campaigns or strategies and tactics. We judge their entries in April; they’ll judge our entries in October.   If you’ve hesitated submitting awards in the past because you don’t make a plan-you’re probably not alone. Come judge to learn what makes a great entry. Not sure if you’re qualified to judge? Join a mix of long time pros and new-to-the-industry judges for a judging jam, so you can have experienced sounding-boards. Maybe you can learn a cool tactic you can modify for your own work. Sometimes it’s affirming to see how much further along your skills really are. Long term chapter members often use this as a one of many ways to give back to the chapter and the profession. We expect 60-75 entries that require two judges, with APRs third review for ties or giant discrepancies. PRSSA Nevada is hosting the Judging Jam Night. Entries are all digital (the age-old binders are dead). Tuesday, April 19 5:30-8:30 p.m. The Reynolds School of Journalism, Room 216. There will be tunes, a baller playlist, great work from our sister chapter, and an inside look at the entry process. We’ll even feed you. Maybe we’ll go for a celebratory cocktail after party for work well done. Please RSVP to algaulden@gmail.com so we can count on your expertise and willingness to have...