And the Winner is…Tips for a Phoenix Award-Worthy Entry

Who doesn’t love to win PR awards? Whether you or your organization leverage awards to solidify expertise or boost business, no matter the motivation, there are steps you can take to increase your winning chances.

PRSA Georgia’s award season kicks off on June 7 with a call for entries for the Phoenix Awards, the Southeast’s preeminent peer-reviewed PR recognition program. Award submissions will be accepted through July 16. All Georgia-based PR practitioners are encouraged to submit programs and projects produced between June 1, 2020 – May 31, 2021.

InterContinental Hotels Group Director of Corporate Communications Jacob Hawkins, APR, is a seasoned Phoenix Award winner after leading several communications teams to victory.

“Winning an award is universal and whether or not other groups actually understand the communications role, they understand recognition of excellence. When you can stack your work, regardless of the size of your company, against world class and marquee brands, you have to be doing something right!”

This year’s awards feature more than 50 categories — including five new ones! With such a wide variety of categories, the Phoenix Awards give entrants even more reasons to nominate their best work from the past year.

Here are five steps to prepare a solid entry:

1. Do Your Homework: If you want a competitive advantage, study PRSA National’s Anvil Award winning entries and Phoenix Award winning profiles. Pay attention to the categories, submission format, type of content, wording and level of detail required.

The Phoenix Awards include 24 Program and 30 Project Categories. These categories have different requirements. Here are the most notable ones:

Program Categories

  • Include a two-page summary
  • Address research, planning, execution and evaluation

Project Categories

  • Include a one-page summary
  • Address four key areas — planning/content, creativity/quality, technical excellence and results.

To review all the entry requirements for each category, visit our Phoenix Awards Web page.

2. Showcase Your Best Work: What makes a winning entry are projects and programs with substance. You need to be able to detail how research supported planning, how the planning informed the execution strategy or technical excellence and how the execution strategy was evaluated, along with the results. If you have these elements, you’ll satisfy the requirements and avoid falling short on judges scores.

3. Think Like a Judge: Anticipate the questions a judge would have when reviewing your entry. Did you address the category criteria and follow the prescribed format while telling an engaging story? How did your team anticipate and overcome obstacles to deliver results? Keep the entry straightforward and authentic, free of spelling and grammar errors. Use supplementary materials to enhance and validate your summary. Avoid content fluff that doesn’t add value. Think it through to ensure you didn’t leave an important detail out.

4. Tell a Story: Craft a narrative using the three Cs for a compelling, cohesive and clear story. Bring your business challenge and smart solutions to life by making your written summary compelling. Be succinct and easy to understand with cohesive language and be clear in your writing without industry jargon since the judges may not work in your industry.

5. Illustrate Impact: Give a big picture overview of how PR moved the needle by providing quantitative figures, qualitative anecdotes and the methods used to measure objectives. Make sure to backup your outcomes. Empower judges with the facts to substantiate your success!

There are numerous resources to assist with creating an award-winning entry by the July 16 deadline. Check out our Phoenix Awards Web page for a complete listing of program and project categories, entry pricing, deadlines, webinars, award-winning profiles and submission tips.