The Business That Story Built podcast

67 - Why Awards Matter & How to Create Successful Entries with Mike McDougall

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Why Awards Matter & How to Create Successful Entries with Mike McDougall

PR Series

In this episode I interview Mike McDougall, CEO of McDougall Communications, winner of 22 PRSA Silver Anvil Awards among many others, and judge of a host of different awards programs. We discuss why awards should be an important area to focus on in your business. From the ways they improve your skills and take your business to the next level, internally, to the various ways they can enhance your thought leadership and reputation, externally, we dive into what makes an entry award-winning and how to get there.

Some top tips …

When applying for awards for the first time, start small. Choose two or three awards that make sense for the audiences you’re trying to reach.

Don’t approach it with the attitude that you need to win the first time you apply for an award. Look for feedback to learn about the way this award is judged. It’s a process and involves a lot of learning. Awards writing has a unique style and over the years, you’ll get the rhythm of it.

Start planning one or two years ahead, identifying the right awards that will resonate with your audience, and learn what it will take to achieve what the award requires.

For nearly any awards program, winning entries are able to tell a story that the judge can understand and enjoy, demonstrating a sacrifice that was made to make the program unique and special, risks that were taken in creating your project or product, add humanity and a personal touch to your submission showing how you were able to change someone’s life through the program - even for a moment - demonstrates a wow factor, how your program made a sustained impact that leads to brand recognition, and also including meaningful metrics to show the difference before and after.

If you decide not to follow the entry guidelines the way they’re written, your submission will immediately be removed from consideration.

Something many don’t consider is including how you could’ve done better in some areas that you can improve upon in the future. This shows your humanity and tells the judge you recognize you’re not perfect and you’re aware of your shortcomings.

This episode at glance …

>> (3:55-5:00) The different ways awards help your business

>> (5:05-6:15) How the structure of award entries can improve your business, internally

>> (6:20-8:00) How to identify the right awards for your business

>> (8:00-9:45) The best way to begin the process of awards entries

>> (9:45-12:00) Give yourself at least several weeks to write the entry

>> (13:30-14:20) Even if you don’t win, it offers other benefits to grow your reputation & offer recognition

>> (14:25-19:00) What sets apart winning entries from the rest

>> (20:50-21:40) The importance of reading and following the entry guidelines

>> (21:45-24:25) Mindsets and objectives that better position you for awards

>> (24:25-27:00) How to use awards to enhance thought leadership

>> (27:00-29:00) How to use awards to enhance your reputation

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Ways to reach Mike McDougall & Christie Bilbrey

[email protected]


Twitter: @mikemcdoug

[email protected]



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