Best Practice Guidelines for Entries to the Awards for Excellence in Public Relations
These guidelines are based on feedback from the 2016 and 2015 judging panels.
- Read the Awards Brochure in its Entirety. Make sure that you are entering in the most appropriate category and that you are aware of the rules, and in particular what each section of the entry form is for.
- Ensure Entries are Well-written and Clear. While the judges will have regard to the auxiliary information submitted, as well as knowledge of the broader environment, your campaign will be primarily judged on the facts presented. In every submission-based awards system, entries that are well presented, coherent and avoid repetition, spelling mistakes and bad grammar will score better than entries that make those mistakes.
- Word Limits are Not Targets. While there are word limits for each section of the entry, those are limits not targets.
- Avoid Unnecessary and Obscure Jargon. The members of the judging panel either come from the public relations or communications community, or work closely with it. A high level of understanding and appreciation of the profession should be assumed. However, public relations and communications is a varied field and not every judge will be familiar with the jargon of your particular specialisation or your client/employers. Therefore, avoid such language to give your entry the best opportunity of impressing.
- Objectives are Crucial. Good objectives will be specific and measurable. 350 words are provided for entrants to state the objectives of the campaign. This is the most important part of the entry as all other aspects of the campaign are related back to those objectives. It is imperative to state how and why the particular objectives were identified and if multiple objectives, the priority attaching to those. Techniques/research or innovative approaches used in identifying the objectives should be articulated.
- Evaluation and Measurement. Evaluation and measurement should be clearly linked back to the objectives of the campaign. Media coverage by itself does not impress the judging panel unless it is linked back to the achievement of campaign objectives. Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs), PR Value or other monetisation techniques for public relations activity in either online or traditional media are not metrics to which judging panel attach any significance. If such measures are being used the basis on which they are calculated should be clearly stated.
- Disclosure of Media Partnerships. If a media partnership was in operation in your campaign, this should be disclosed. Similarly, there should be clear declaration of the use of sponsored content.
- Do Not Claim Credit for Matters Outside of the Entrant’s Control. Judges do not come from a vacuum and are aware of the broader environment from which entries arise; if a set of circumstances outside of your control arise during a campaign and that positively impacts on the campaign, the judges will generally be aware of that. Claiming credit for such matters, or failing to mention to them will see your entry marked down. If such circumstances arise, then mention them and highlight how they impacted on the campaign.
- Highlight the Creativity and Insight in the Campaign. While it is important to articulate the tactical implementation of the campaign clearly in your entry, the creativity and insight from the public relations adviser(s) that drove the achievement of the objectives should be clearly demonstrated as this is what the judges place greatest value on.
- Inspiration from Other Markets. There is nothing wrong with entering a campaign that was in some way adapted from another market; applying and successfully implementing an idea that worked well in a foreign country to Ireland can and frequently does result in award winning work. However, where this happens it should be clearly stated, and the challenges and adaptions required to make it work in the Irish market should be articulated.
- Confidentiality. The information submitted by all entrants is confidential to the judging panel. If an entrant wins, they will be given the opportunity to review and consent to the publication of the entry in its entirety or with elements removed. The budgetary section is never published.
- Roll-Over Campaigns. If your campaign is an iteration of one that has gone before, then that should be stated and the entrant should highlight how this campaign is different and the new insight or approach being brought to bear.