PR Awards

Simple Do’s and Don’ts When Applying For Business PR Awards

Winning an award for your company feels great. But that’s not the only benefit!
One study found that companies who received an award saw a 37% sales increase afterword.

PR awards may be a great way to build trust and credibility for your company, but how do you secure an award in the first place?

We’ve got some tips that you should be sure to follow below, so keep reading!

Do: Put in Your Application as Soon as Possible

You can’t guarantee that your application will make it to the top of the stack. But by submitting your application as soon as entries open, you’ll stand a better chance of sticking out in judges’ minds.

Start your application a few days before the content calls for entries. That way, you’ll be sure yours is one of the first that judges see.

Don’t: Forget to Include Supplementary Materials

The perfect PR award application contains a healthy balance of text and images.

It’s one thing to tell judges that you had a killer year in terms of customer satisfaction or did some great humanitarian works as a team. But letting them see it for themselves cements the details and makes them more real.

Photos, charts, videos — send anything and everything you have that’s relevant to your entry.

Do: Apply To Multiple Programs

Don’t feel as though you’re limited to applying for one award. You miss 100% of the shots you never take, after all.

Though it may seem obvious, applying to multiple programs substantially increases your chances of winning an award.

So don’t be shy, go ahead and apply.

Don’t: Submit in Every Category

On the other hand, that doesn’t mean you should go crazy and apply for all categories. Only select the ones that directly apply to your company.

A blanket application of all categories will only frustrate the judges and make them feel as though you don’t value their time.

Do: Keep Your Application Brief

The shorter your application, the better. While you could likely brag about your company’s hard work for hours on end, put yourself in the judges’ shoes. They have hundreds — sometimes thousands — of applications to get through.

Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Be as direct and descriptive as you can. Let your supplementary materials do the rest.

Don’t: Forget to Proofread

We can’t stress this enough, have someone look over the application before you submit it. A silly typo might not seem like a big deal, but it can discredit you in the eyes of the judges.

Get a second, third, and even fourth set of eyes to check it out. The more input you can get from your team, the better.

Show Them What You’re Made Of: How to Win PR Awards

If your company is looking to secure some PR awards this year, make sure to follow these tips. While we can’t guarantee you’ll win, follow these tips and you’ll stand a much better chance of impressing the judges.

Want to recommend your company for an award? Get in touch and find out how!

public relations

PR Strategies: Attracting Media Publicity for Your Small Business

Get the Coverage Your Company Deserves: How to Get Media Attention.

The business world is more competitive than ever. Consumers have more choices and more access to information than ever before.

Public relations, or earned media, builds trust with your customers and potential customers. The more they trust your brand, the more likely they will be to buy from you. It also generates brand awareness which can set your business apart from your competition.

What’s the best way to generate earned media? Find out how to get media attention with these tried and true PR strategies.

1. Connect with Journalists in Your Industry

Public relations is built on relationships. You have to develop relationships with writers and journalists covering your local area and in your industry.

For example, if you’re in Central Georgia, you can pick up the Macon Telegraph and find out who covers the business beat in the area. 

Being active on social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn are also good ways to connect with journalists.

2. Give Them a Reason to Write About You

It’s not enough to reach out to a journalist and tell them about your business. You have to give them a reason to write about you.

A couple of ways to do that is to host an event or earn a small business award. You could also sponsor an event with another local company which could generate media attention.

3. Make Your Messaging Consistent

In order to gain the full impact of getting media attention, you need to make sure that your messaging is consistent with your brand.

You want to think about what the public should feel about your business, whether it’s security, happiness, or any other emotion. Make sure that that is reflected in the story and the messaging you are sending out to various media channels.

The messaging also has to be consistent. Have you ever seen a politician deliver the same speech and the same message over and over? That’s what being on message looks like.

With earned media, you don’t have full control over the message, but you do control how you present your business. Make sure that the message itself is consistent and that it is also consistent with your brand image.

4. Be Active in Looking for Opportunities

News happens every single day. Journalists are usually looking for sources to report the news. You can help fill in those gaps by positioning yourself as an expert in your field.

As you develop relationships with writers and journalists, you’ll position yourself as the go-to source for an opinion or insight to breaking news.

5. Have Patience

If you really want to know how to get media attention, you’ll need a bit of patience. It takes time to reach out and develop relationships with writers and journalists. They can get bombarded with requests from ‘experts’ and you have to show that you’re the real thing.

When you make a commitment to getting media attention for your business and take consistent action, you’ll eventually be rewarded.

How to Get Media Attention the Right Way

A clip in a newspaper or industry magazine could make a big difference in your brand and your business. When you learn how to get media attention, you´ll quickly learn that it takes a lot of work but has a big payoff.

You have to build connections with journalists and give them a great story to tell. The more you can do that, the more coverage you’ll get over time.

Are you ready to give people a reason to write about you? Find out how a Best in Business Award can elevate your business and generate press coverage.

business marketing middle tennessee

Six Tips to Achieve Luxury in Printing Without Blowing Your Budget

If you’re involved in the creation of the design or business marketing strategy for your company’s brand, adding a print component is worth serious consideration.

People are hard-wired to pay attention and respond to touch, and print’s tangible nature commands attention and generates feelings of authority, higher emotional engagement and pleasure. And as multiple studies from organizations like Canada Post and Temple University (for USPS) have revealed, the likelihood of brand recall is also elevated with print. All of these attributes are especially desirable if the goal is to promote your brand.

But don’t think you have to blow the budget to illustrate luxury in print. While oversized printed pieces with multiple inks and post-press techniques will certainly captivate any audience, it’s absolutely possible to achieve a sense of luxury in print for your business marketing without spending a fortune as this article first published by Lithographics of Nashville will reveal.

Keep these top six tips in mind, and your printed piece will be well on its way to delivering elevated status for your brand.

6 Tips to Achieve Luxury in Print Without Blowing Your Budget

1.  Choose a Paper that Enhances Your Story and Message

Paper is the canvas that not only brings your projects to life, but it also provides the tactile sensation that subconsciously delivers messages to the recipient. If you’re new to the world of paper,Coated vs. Uncoated Paper – When to Use Which by Jill DiNicolantinio is required reading. This blog provides a great overview to key differences between coated and uncoated papers, including aesthetic qualities and what can be expected from print results. Uncoated papers have a very warm and tactile nature that many consider luxurious. If a coated paper is your go-to, conveying a feeling of luxury might be as easy as switching to uncoated for your premier projects. And if you choose a high-quality uncoated paper (like an option from our Cougar or Lynx brands) you can also expect vivid color and crisp image.

2.  Bring on the Heavyweights

Think about your initial reaction when someone hands you their business card printed on heavyweight paper—the immediate response of most people is an undeniable WOW factor. Heavyweight paper conveys an undeniable sense of importance and status in your business marketing efforts, and the feeling is often carried over to the brand or individual that the printed piece represents.

3. Image Selection is Critical

Think about the printed pieces that come from the luxury brands you love. Now, think about the images featured within that piece. Across the board, most feature custom photography with striking detail from photo shoots that were created specifically for that brand. In many cases, the image tells the story and evokes a feeling in a printed piece more so than actual words.

Even if a photo shoot isn’t in your budget, make a point to select stock photography that showcases excellent detail, vibrant color and lifelike skin tones. While highly stylized images might look appealing on their own, they have the potential to detract from the message and the brand when placed in layout.

4. Be Strategic with Post-press Techniques

Don’t dismiss post-press techniques as being out of your budget before talking to your printer. The size of an area of a foil, for instance, is one of the main factors in the cost. Next time you want to convey luxury on a budget, work with your printer to come up with the best solution to generate the biggest impact for your buck.

5.  Size Matters

This is especially true if you’re mailing. There are countless instances where a graphic designer paid the utmost attention to the paper, printing method, etc. in order to keep costs down only to have the budget blown apart with mailing costs. Please, please, please do not wait until the end of a project before thinking about mailing! Keep mailing costs top of mind at the beginning of the project when considering size, weight, etc. and stay in contact with your mail carrier to make sure your project stays within your mailing budget. For a thorough outline of various direct mail types (and many more fascinating tips), invest in a copy of Designing For Print by Marina Joyce.

6. Don’t Discount Digital

Still thinking of digital printing only as an option if you want a low quantity job printed inexpensively for your business marketing needs? If so, you are way behind the times! While digital printing is still a great option for small quantities, more and more creatives using it as an option for exclusive and high-profile projects. A great example is featured in the video below and in a recent Gallery Spotlight: The Sterling Collection VML’s 25thAnniversary Book. With a front cover that showcases a brilliant silver foil and interior pages printed on 65 LB. Cougar (featuring the vivid color and crystal-clear reproduction that any creative would expect from this elite brand of paper), this piece is definitely a show-stopper. And considering that this piece was digitally printed on an HP Indigo 7600, it’s a true testament to how far digital printing has come.

In conclusion, print products clearly have an important place in your brand’s marketing strategy. For more insights about how to use printing to elevate your brand, contact Lithographics of Nashville.  As a Middle Tennessee Best in Business award winner, we are certain they can help you achieve your goals!

quality service companies

How do you select a high quality service company for your home?

Finding good quality service companies is a common challenge that many home owners face. It seems like there are so many specialists that sometimes a new home-owner feels the need for a small team of experts to keep their investment in good shape. Home owners often wonder who they can trust that will do a good job for a fair price. With all the advertising out there, it’s hard to know which companies to trust. Here’s a short outline to help make it easier to spot good quality companies.

Use On-line Business Directories to find Quality Service Companies

What is ironic is that there are more ways than ever before to find good quality companies. The first on-line source most often checked is the Better Business Bureau.  And while the BBB certainly is one source to look at, it is not always the most reliable.  The reason for this is that many clients may get frustrated, but not enough customers will file a complaint with the BBB. As long as no complaints are made, the company retains their positive rating.  And contrary to popular belief, reputable companies also can also get bashed on the BBB website despite taking serious steps to resolve a complaint. This happens when the consumer refuses to be satisfied with the company’s resolution efforts.

Look for On-line Reviews from Real Customers to find Quality Service Companies

So, what is the next place most often checked when trying to find good quality companies? On-line reviews on third party platforms like Yelp, Google, and Yahoo.  These type of on-line directory (or search) services are always worth looking into.  However, there are still issues to be had in this category of research as well.  First, Yelp is notorious for blocking legitimate reviews due to ‘grammar, punctation, etc.”  And in today’s text-friendly world, reviewers are often not grammatically correct.  Google is also often considered an excellent source for 3rd party verification of a company’s reliability & credibility. Unfortunately, Google reviews need to be taken with a grain of salt as well.  With fierce competition in many industries, many business owners will admit they have been plagued by false negative reviews (with little recourse).  What is the solution?  Ultimately, it involves reading through enough reviews on these platforms to get a sense for the overall theme.

What kind of themes are you looking for in the reviews posted? Here are a few questions to ask:

  1. Is the overall sentiment positive?
  2. Do the negative reviews cite specific issues that the company is trying (or has tried) to address?
  3. Do the reviews seem genuinely written by actual customers? (too many that are all the same or 80% similar content could indicate false reviews)

Look for Award-Winning Companies

Another way to you can check out a business is to see what types of awards and recognition it’s recently received.  In North Alabama, there are several recognition programs that try to use objective criteria, in addition to the Best in Business Award.  As an award program that is designed to recognize excellence, the Best in Business Award Program uses several metrics to determine which local companies should become recipients each year.

In addition to the Best in Business Award Program (which serves Alabama, Middle Tennessee, and Georgia), the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama (CCAA) and the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) also recognizes “Small Business of the Year Awards” and those companies are announced at the CCAA/BCA Partnership Annual Meeting/Luncheon in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition to associations and organizations, local chambers of commerce will often provide recognition to local companies for their outstanding contributions or services.

The answer to the question that started this blog is the same as it has been for the past 20 years: Research your service providers as thoroughly as possible. The twist is that now all that info is on-line, and the consumer is tasked with integrating information from several sources:

Cross Reference Multiple Sources to Find High Quality Service Companies

  1. Recommendations from friends and neighbors
  2. On-line reviews
  3. Third party recognition programs (like Best in Business Award, Chamber of Commerce Associations, etc.)
  4. Personal interactions/interviews

There are really many excellent service providers out there that are willing and able to do good quality work- don’t let a few bad news stories cause excess worry! With all of the on-line tools available, finding good quality services that are reliable can be as easy as drinking a cup of coffee in front of your computer!