Everyone loves a top industry award and a bit of professional recognition. Question is, are you telling the right story to pick up that gong? Rather than talking about our five latest wins at MemCom – including Agency of the Year and Best Print Membership Magazine – we thought we’d share our tips for topping the communications charts.
- Awards should be an investment not an afterthought
- You can learn so much from the process if you start it early enough
- An entry is a story, not a business plan
Awards deadlines have a habit of creeping up on the teams writing the entries. We’ve all been there – frantically emailing round for evidence and extending the submission date. But, if you invest more in the awards process and build evidence gathering into your daily workflow, you might just find you need to get a new trophy cabinet installed…and fast.
- Start your entry a year before – not the night before: easier said than done, yes, but if you imagine what the entry could say before you start on a project and look for data and effectiveness from day one, it won’t be just your awards entries that improve. We can all learn something from the process.
- Get senior buy-in: entering awards takes time and money. It’s a business decision, so decide what awards will add value to your organisation and then give each entry the time it deserves.
- Tell a good story: I’ve judged so many awards and the entries I remember are those that recognise there’s a human at the other end who will appreciate a good story. No one wants to read your business plan. They want to get to know you.
- Find your hook: business as usual does not an award win. All good stories need an angle, so make it memorable.
- Think outcomes, not outputs: what you do is only relevant if you set it within the context of why you’re doing it. Solve problems, overcome challenges – and then write about them.
- Measure, measure and measure some more: data is everything, but it’s worth remembering that success is only success if it is based on what you defined as success in the first place.
- Enjoy the process: whether it’s announcing that you’re nominating projects or thanking people for their contributions, if you bring the rest of the organisation along for the ride, they’ll be more likely to support you when the next request for information comes along.
- Never underestimate the weight of a quote from your CEO: great for morale and judges like it when the whole organisation gets behind an entry.
- Ditch the jargon: big ideas, not big words, will get you noticed. Judges probably won’t know as much as you about a subject.
- Never be afraid to talk about the bits that failed: if all your projects go to plan, then please tell us your secrets! Every failure is a chance to demonstrate valuable learnings.
- Ignore feedback at your peril: speak to your audience segments and tell their stories. But, don’t confuse satisfaction with effectiveness. Judges like happy members, but they don’t tell the whole story.
And don’t forget to celebrate. Celebrate the entry. Celebrate the shortlist. And hopefully, you should soon be celebrating that win.
Congratulations to our clients CIPR, AAT and BACP for their wins at the recent MemCom Awards 2017. We’re so proud of the work we do for you.
And, we're also proud to take home the Agency of the Year award for our work with membership organisations in 2016. As the judges said: "Think certainly helped organisations to find their voice in 2016. Organisations like CIPR, ICAS and AAT have all benefited from Think's expertise in the membership sector, and clients speak highly of the overall quality of the work Think provides."
If you’re interested in the list of our latest accolades, head to our About Think page to find out more.
Share this story
Take part in our 2017 Re:member survey
To benchmark your professional membership organisation against others in the industry and find out all about the latest trends in membership publishing, register your interest for our Re:member survey below. Fill it out and you will receive a free copy of the final report in the autumn.
Our latest research
Thirty minutes is all you need to take part in our 2017 Re:member survey. Get in touch today and we’ll send you a free copy of the report in the autumn.
Missed a post?
From influencing your influencers to monetising the latest communications channels, it’s all in the archives, so search away. Click on the arrow to search by category.
Membership magazines sometimes get pigeonholed as earnest and safe but, as the team is proving again and again with Influence and other Think titles, they
We’ve all squirmed in our seats willing an event speaker to stop talking. But, how do you ensure your next booking is memorable for all
Great news for membership professionals. You don’t have to provide an ‘always-on’ service to communicate effectively with your members. You can’t be everywhere, so here