Awards season for the film industry is over, but it’s just heating up for your business. This spring and summer, you can nominate your business and employees for a variety of awards, from local to national to industry-specific.

You may think awards appear too self-promotional, but to clients, prospects and employees, awards provide substantial third-party endorsements. When a client walks into your office and sees a shelf full of awards, they will be impressed. Awards can also increase visibility, credibility, and employee morale.

Deciding which awards to enter can be challenging, so weigh the time and effort it takes to put together a nomination against why you want to enter. The following tips will help you spend the time wisely and earn a payoff for your efforts.

1. Make sure it’s a fit

Before drafting a nomination or application, review the eligibility requirements and criteria. This may sound obvious, but if you don’t do some research up front, you could be missing key components. And the last thing you want to do is put together a nomination, only to realize that your company or nominee isn’t eligible.

For example, many regional organizations host awards for exceptional businesspeople who demonstrate leadership, professional success and community service. Often, we hear from companies who want to nominate an employee they’re very proud of but who isn’t active in the community. Without the community service aspect, even if the nominee excels professionally, they won’t likely win.

A great way to evaluate an award is to look at winners from previous years. If you notice major differences between who your company and the winners are, maybe most winners have revenue over $5 million, and your company is not there yet you will want to hold off. And if you have a question about eligibility, don’t hesitate to reach out to the organization that is hosting the award.

If the award isn’t a fit because your company doesn’t meet all the criteria, it may be a sign that there are some changes you can make to be seriously considered in the future. Pursuing awards can help benchmark your company against others and serve as a catalyst for improving the organization.

2. It’s all in the details

What makes a winning nomination stand out from the rest? It’s often the amount of detail and clarity you provide. Share specific examples and measurable results to explain how your nominee stands out.

Ask yourself the following questions while drafting the nomination:

  • Why are you nominating the individual or company?
  • How did the individual or company achieve each aspect of the award criteria?
  • What were the specific, measurable results?
  • What challenges did the individual or company overcome?

For each criteria, use specific examples to explain what the nominee accomplished. The number of examples you provide is less important than how the nominee’s contributions match the criteria and what the measurable results were. Statistics demonstrating success and growth, quotes from clients or colleagues and specific anecdotes all help back up your narrative.

If you are describing a complex campaign that the company or individual worked on, avoid industry jargon and explain technical details in way that non-experts will understand. Remember that the award judges may not be in your industry.

3. Get a second opinion

If you don’t know all the answers for a nomination, ask colleagues or clients if they can provide insight into the nominee’s specific achievements or how a campaign for the company was executed. And of course, if it’s an award for an employee, set up a call with them. Many people are flattered to be nominated for an award.

This past year we nominated Abel Communications for multiple Public Relations of America Best in Maryland awards. Each award focused on a different campaign, and each campaign was handled by different Account Managers at our firm. Our awards team met with each Account Manager to ensure that we had complete information for every nomination. If you’re going through the trouble of filling out an application, you don’t want to leave out crucial details that could swing the vote in your favor.

The positive PR that comes from winning an award can help position your brand as forward-thinking and bolster new connections. Awards also validate the work your company does and enhances its ability to retain top employees.

In addition, most awards are presented at a gala event. These are great opportunities for networking and morale-boosting company outings. So dive in, get those nominations going, and enjoy awards season!

If you’re considering applying for an award, consider these tips. Or, reach me at