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Bringing Home the Trophy 
Tips on How to Enter 
the PRCA Medallion Awards Competition 
Kristina Hendrix, APR and Penny Hat...
About the PRCA Medallion 
Awards 
• Sponsored by Public Relations Council of Alabama 
• Recognizes excellence in public re...
About the PRCA Medallion 
Awards 
• Three different tiers based on the length of 
the program or project. 
– Tier One: Lon...
Why Enter the PRCA Medallion 
Awards? 
• Training/Professional Growth 
– Test the strength of your PR processes 
– Explore...
How do I get started?
To Enter or Not to Enter? 
• Review work and identify projects or campaigns that 
showcase best work and show evidence of ...
What Should I Enter? 
• Start With a Team Meeting to Evaluate 
– Establish an entry-creation process with deadlines and 
r...
What Should I Enter? 
• “Textbook” Case Study 
– Clear measurable objectives 
– Refined, detailed communications plan 
– M...
Gather the Information You Will Need 
for a Complete Entry 
Give yourself plenty of time to work on your 
entry 
Gather ne...
Gather the Information You Will Need 
for a Complete Entry 
– Formal communication plans 
– Campaign/program collateral ma...
Writing a Medallion Award Entry 
• Research 
Use all your research to provide a situation analysis, describing 
recent his...
Writing a Medallion Award Entry 
• Implementation 
Describe the project in more detail, including your strategies, tactics...
Editing & Proofreading 
• Grammatical errors or misspelled words are missed points 
that could be taken away from the judg...
Dress Up Your Collateral 
• Allow your entry to tell a story 
• Use images, quotes, graphics, photos 
in visually interest...
Judging Process 
• Entries are judged by professionals outside of our region, mostly 
Accredited in Public Relations (APR)...
Where do I enter my work?
Follow the 
• Read all instructions thoroughly before you start. Don’t 
disqualify yourself on a technicality. 
• Review a...
How to Enter: Getting Started 
• Visit www.prcamedallions.com 
• Step 1: Create/Manage Your Account 
– The person register...
How to Enter: Getting Started 
• Step 4: Upload all files in the three fields 
– The website will only allow the accepted ...
How to Enter: Getting Started 
Step 6: Payment Methods for Professionals 
EARLY BIRD RATE!!!! $40 if you pay by December 3...
How to Enter: Getting Started 
Step 6: Payment Methods for Students 
• The cost is $5 per entry. CHECKS ONLY! 
• All stude...
Is there anything else that would 
be good to know?
Just Good to Know 
• Read ALL of the categories. They have changed and 
there is now a SOCIAL MEDIA section. 
• Pay attent...
Thinking Ahead for Next Year 
• Whenever you are asked to produce a special event, brand a 
product, launch a new program,...
Planning for Future Medallion 
Entries 
• Put the PR process into action now for the future. 
• Give “project champions” r...
Important 
Information 
Website: www.prcamedallions.com 
Call for Entries: November 14 
Early Bird Deadline: December 31 
...
Bonus Material: 
Insider’s Look at the 4-Step 
Process
The Four-Step 
Communications 
Process 
• The four steps are sometimes given different 
names, but the names do not really...
Research 
• Research is the key to the first and fourth steps of the four-step 
process. 
• Pre-planning research and eval...
Types of Research: A Quick 
Refresher 
• Formal vs. informal research 
– Formal research uses the scientific method to ens...
Types of Research: A Quick 
Refresher 
Primary vs. Secondary Research 
– These terms refer to the source of the research i...
Types of Research: A Quick 
Refresher 
A brief list of research types 
– Mail or telephone survey 
– Focus groups 
– Rolep...
How Do You Know Which Method(s) and 
Strategies to Use? 
• Several factors come into play, and you have to use your 
judgm...
Evaluation 
• Media clips are a valid measurement. 
– Take them a step farther by giving your client, boss or awards 
judg...
Evaluation 
Benchmark and evaluate when you can 
– Pre- and post-testing and/or surveys 
– Compare to previous year’s resu...
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PRCA Medallions: Bringing Home the Trophy

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This presentation will help PRCA members to enter the Medallion Awards Competition. Here are some things you will learn:

· About the Medallion Competition
· Why it is important to enter
· How to decide what you should enter
· How to write your entry
· The judging process
· How to enter your entry on www.prcamedallions.com
· Other "Just Good to Know" Tips

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PRCA Medallions: Bringing Home the Trophy

  1. 1. Bringing Home the Trophy Tips on How to Enter the PRCA Medallion Awards Competition Kristina Hendrix, APR and Penny Hatcher 2015 Medallion Chair and Co-Chairperson
  2. 2. About the PRCA Medallion Awards • Sponsored by Public Relations Council of Alabama • Recognizes excellence in public relations – Best of Show, Judges’ Awards, Medallion, Award of Excellence, Award of Merit • Online entry process • Independent judges
  3. 3. About the PRCA Medallion Awards • Three different tiers based on the length of the program or project. – Tier One: Long Term Strategic Programs (7 months or Longer) – Tier Two: Short Term Strategic Plans (0-6 months) – Tier Three: Tactical Materials/Projects – Student Tier Social Media tactics are listed in Tier Three.
  4. 4. Why Enter the PRCA Medallion Awards? • Training/Professional Growth – Test the strength of your PR processes – Explore weakness for continual improvement – Internal development/training opportunity for new hires and staff • Group and Individual Recognition – Well-recognized program among PR professionals in our region – Opportunity for “internal PR” in your organization – Affirmation of your contributions to your organization • Educate Your Employer About PR Profession – Overcome any stereotypes: Showcase the “management” side of PR – Demonstrate the ROI of PR
  5. 5. How do I get started?
  6. 6. To Enter or Not to Enter? • Review work and identify projects or campaigns that showcase best work and show evidence of the PR Process – Research, Planning, Implementation, Evaluation • Enter as many submissions as you want • Categories – decide which categories your work fits into • Not sure? Ask! – Judges sometimes move entries to another category if they deem appropriate You can find all categories and criteria at www.prcamedallions.com.
  7. 7. What Should I Enter? • Start With a Team Meeting to Evaluate – Establish an entry-creation process with deadlines and responsibilities – Consider time and budget • Eureka Moment! New, Different or Lasting? – Involve a new way of looking at a problem – Exceptionally creative PR approach or tactics – Results changed something – lasting or significant impact on organization
  8. 8. What Should I Enter? • “Textbook” Case Study – Clear measurable objectives – Refined, detailed communications plan – More than one type of research utilized to determine course of action – Evaluation measures clearly demonstrate accomplishment of objectives • Still Not Sure? – Give it a try! – Judges’ comments can help you learn for next time You cannot win if you don’t enter!
  9. 9. Gather the Information You Will Need for a Complete Entry Give yourself plenty of time to work on your entry Gather needed background material, such as: – Campaign/program implementation schedule – Campaign/program budget – Research documentation • Survey results/reports, samples of customer/employee communication, industry/demographic data, meeting notes – Media clips/coverage reports • News clips, video clips, e-news postings • Op-Ed coverage: letters to editors, editorial reviews, reader/viewer comments – Comments and thank you notes from management – Correspondence with client and/or media • Letters, e-mails, text messages (more)
  10. 10. Gather the Information You Will Need for a Complete Entry – Formal communication plans – Campaign/program collateral material • Project samples such as fliers, brochures, videos, letters • Posters, table tents, banners and flyers • Ads, including scaled-down versions of outdoor advertising • Brochures, newsletters • Letters and e-mail messages • Press releases, media kits, other media materials • Photos from events or photos showing signage, décor, etc. • Client speaking points/speeches • Web pages, screenshots of Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, blogs, etc. • Videos and presentations Save every item of a campaign, no matter how small.
  11. 11. Writing a Medallion Award Entry • Research Use all your research to provide a situation analysis, describing recent history, the current situation and factors that have led to a need for the public relations project or plan. – Also briefly name or introduce the project – Include your target audience(s) in this section • Planning Use the situation and the need to set goals and objectives for your project. – A goal is a desired outcome of your plan. – Objectives are specific milestones that measure progress toward achieving one of your goals. They should consist of four elements (abbreviated LBPT): • Level: Specify the expected level of accomplishment. • Behavior: Address the desired result in terms of opinion change and/or behavioral outcome. • Public: Designate the public or publics targeted. • Time: Identify the time frame in which these accomplishments are to occur. Write it in Microsoft Word so you can edit your entry.
  12. 12. Writing a Medallion Award Entry • Implementation Describe the project in more detail, including your strategies, tactics and timeline. – Explain how various tactics relate to the target audiences, goals and objectives from the previous sections – Include your budget for the project • Evaluation If you thought ahead while executing the project and while preparing your entry, this section should almost write itself. – Provide the results of your formal and informal research and report whether objectives were met. – Include anecdotal evaluation: letters/e-mails of praise, thanks from customers, kudos from management, etc. – Include media hits if appropriate. – Most important: Evaluate how your project succeeded in meeting the goals and objectives set forth in the Planning (a.k.a. Analysis) section. – Remember: If you didn’t meet every goal, be honest and use this as a learning opportunity. Write it in Microsoft Word so you can edit your entry.
  13. 13. Editing & Proofreading • Grammatical errors or misspelled words are missed points that could be taken away from the judges. • After you finish writing your entry, set it aside. Come back to it with fresh eyes. • Add anything you might have left out the first time • Copyedit and proofread for spelling, grammar, etc. • Perform a word count on each section and start trimming as needed. • Cut out unnecessary words and phrases “In order to effectively portray” vs. “To portray” • Abbreviate your company name when you can • Use active verbs instead of passive ones • Ask someone else to edit and proofread your almost-final draft. Write it in Microsoft Word so you can edit your entry.
  14. 14. Dress Up Your Collateral • Allow your entry to tell a story • Use images, quotes, graphics, photos in visually interesting ways • Work with a graphic designer if you can • In media clips, highlight your name so the judges do not have to read the entire clip to find you
  15. 15. Judging Process • Entries are judged by professionals outside of our region, mostly Accredited in Public Relations (APR) practitioners • Each entry is judged on its own merit (not in comparison with other entries) • Points are assigned in each category to determine the winners • Judges award a Best of Show and up to two Judges’ Awards for each competition • Not every category has a Medallion winner; Some may have more than one Judges are instructed to look for evidence of the four-step PR process - Research, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation.
  16. 16. Where do I enter my work?
  17. 17. Follow the • Read all instructions thoroughly before you start. Don’t disqualify yourself on a technicality. • Review any judges’ notes from the previous year to freshen your memory on how to write your entry. • Write a first draft, following the instructions closely. – A well-written summary will catch the eye of the judges very quickly. Rules You can find all categories and criteria at www.prcamedallions.com.
  18. 18. How to Enter: Getting Started • Visit www.prcamedallions.com • Step 1: Create/Manage Your Account – The person registering must be member of PRCA (A member of one of the six chapters that has paid their dues and in good standing). You can enter any work on behalf of your organization or clients, even if the PRCA member didn’t handle that project personally. – Select a username and password that you can remember. – Select your chapter and if you are a student, regardless of chapter, SELECT STUDENT! • Step 2: Click on New Entry • Step 3: Complete online submission – Copy and paste your narrative into the blanks – Can come back and edit before final submission – Pay attention to the word count limits for the narrative
  19. 19. How to Enter: Getting Started • Step 4: Upload all files in the three fields – The website will only allow the accepted file formats and file sizes. – We suggest you put your collateral in a PDF. – No BINDERS will be accepted as in years past. This is a strictly online-only competition. – Include all supporting documents but not excessive work papers. – For web-related categories, entries should include the live URL. Do NOT upload a video! The website will not accept videos because of the size restrictions. • Step 5: Type the award label fields – This is what you want engraved on your trophy – Example: • Line 1: ABC Open House • Line 2: Creative Solutions Team • Line 3: Wing and Prayer PR Group
  20. 20. How to Enter: Getting Started Step 6: Payment Methods for Professionals EARLY BIRD RATE!!!! $40 if you pay by December 31, 2014 and upload all of your documents. • Starting January 1, 2015, the cost is $50 per entry. • If you submit 3 or more at one time, you will get the discounted rate of $45 per entry. • You can pay online via PayPal or send a check to the PRCA Association Manager. ATTN: Hugh Rushing PRCA PO Box 531335 Mountain Brook, AL 35253 PRCA will check your membership status upon payment of the Medallion entry.
  21. 21. How to Enter: Getting Started Step 6: Payment Methods for Students • The cost is $5 per entry. CHECKS ONLY! • All student fees should be mailed to the VP of Students, postmarked by the deadline of the Medallions entries. The deadline will not be extended, and late payment will result in disqualification. Note on the checks the name of the entrant(s) and the category number(s). You may pay for multiple entries with one check. • Mail your checks to the following address: Dr. Suzanne Horsley, PRCA VP of Students Department of Advertising and Public Relations The University of Alabama Box 870172 Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0172 PRCA will check your membership status upon payment of the Medallion entry.
  22. 22. Is there anything else that would be good to know?
  23. 23. Just Good to Know • Read ALL of the categories. They have changed and there is now a SOCIAL MEDIA section. • Pay attention to all of the deadlines. • Each Chapter has a Medallion Mentor to answer questions: – Birmingham: Myra Hunter – East Alabama: Katie Jackson – Mobile: Penny Hatcher – Montgomery: TBD – North Alabama: Kristina Hendrix, APR – West Alabama: Deidre Stalnaker
  24. 24. Thinking Ahead for Next Year • Whenever you are asked to produce a special event, brand a product, launch a new program, etc.—write a basic communications plan. • Going through this process helps make sure all bases are covered. • If you enter the project in an awards program later, include the written plan — Medallion Award judges in particular like to see one. • If you plan your work with this in mind throughout the year, most of the hard work will be DONE by the time Call for Entries goes out. The plan BECOMES your Medallion entry (with supporting documentation, of course).
  25. 25. Planning for Future Medallion Entries • Put the PR process into action now for the future. • Give “project champions” record-keeping responsibilities. • Create computer and hard copy folders to archive all pieces immediately during the process – Communications plans – Copies of research results or online articles, background – Electronic files of news coverage, web videos, screen shots • A planning tip on research: Some things you just “know.” The bank of knowledge about your industry … plus your own intellectual equity. Keep a file to archive research tidbits you run into during the course of your day. You can call upon them when you need show research to “back it up.”
  26. 26. Important Information Website: www.prcamedallions.com Call for Entries: November 14 Early Bird Deadline: December 31 Early Bird Cost per entry is $40. Student Cost: $5 Deadline for Entries: February 6 Cost Per Entry: $50 Starting January 1, if you submit 3 or more at one time, you will get the discounted rate of $45 per entry. The 2015 PRCA Annual Conference will be April 1-3 at the Renaissance Montgomery Marriott Hotel and Spa. (There will NOT be an extended deadline.) Register online at www.prcaonline.com!
  27. 27. Bonus Material: Insider’s Look at the 4-Step Process
  28. 28. The Four-Step Communications Process • The four steps are sometimes given different names, but the names do not really matter. • The most common acronym is RPIE: – Research — Investigate and describe the situation and the need for communications. – Planning — Determine the target audience, goals and objectives and communications strategies and tactics. – Implementation — Implement the tactics. – Evaluation — Determine your level of success in achieving the plan’s goals and objectives. Follow the 4-step process.
  29. 29. Research • Research is the key to the first and fourth steps of the four-step process. • Pre-planning research and evaluation should be tied together from the beginning of your campaign planning. • Research and evaluation are usually given less time, money and effort than goal-setting and the actual communications tactics. • Many communicators mistakenly believe that research is inherently too expensive and difficult for small organizations, nonprofits, etc. • Many communicators equate “research” with doing a scientific survey. • In fact, there is a wide range of valid research techniques available to us — many of which are “free” (except for the time investment). Research is the first step!
  30. 30. Types of Research: A Quick Refresher • Formal vs. informal research – Formal research uses the scientific method to ensure that the results can be extrapolated to a larger population — for example, a scientifically designed telephone survey. • Objective and systematic data – “hard” data • Generally uses random sampling • Highly structured • Can be repeated reliably • Can be used to confirm informal research – Informal research means that the results cannot be used to draw scientifically based conclusions. • Soft data • Open-ended, unstructured • Can use to begin the research process • Exploratory, probing research • Use to identify what formal research needs to take place It’s important to note that “informal” does not mean “unreliable” or “invalid”!
  31. 31. Types of Research: A Quick Refresher Primary vs. Secondary Research – These terms refer to the source of the research information. – Primary research means that you and your coworkers conduct the research or examine the evidence personally, firsthand. • New or original data • You design and carry out research that’s specific to your current needs – Secondary research means that you investigate secondhand evidence — e.g., the results of someone else’s studies or the report of someone else’s primary research. • Secondhand, sometimes older data • Uses what’s already available – Again, both types are perfectly valid.
  32. 32. Types of Research: A Quick Refresher A brief list of research types – Mail or telephone survey – Focus groups – Roleplaying – Communications audit – Website survey – Public relations audit – Man-on-the-street polls – Advisory panels – Readership study – Database search
  33. 33. How Do You Know Which Method(s) and Strategies to Use? • Several factors come into play, and you have to use your judgment. • How much time and money do you have? • How important is this project to your organization in terms of: – Potential impact on sales, finances, people – Number of people it could affect – The company’s financial investment – Who’s in charge of the project (who you will answer to) Here is where your plan comes into place and how you implement it.
  34. 34. Evaluation • Media clips are a valid measurement. – Take them a step farther by giving your client, boss or awards judges a context: i.e., “positive half-page article appeared on the front page of the business section of the top local daily newspaper.” • Anecdotal evidence can be valuable. – Letters and e-mails from customers, attendees, management – “Testimony” from sales force, account managers, etc., that a program is gaining acceptance or helping to drive sales – Other awards won for the same project Context is important!
  35. 35. Evaluation Benchmark and evaluate when you can – Pre- and post-testing and/or surveys – Compare to previous year’s results/attendance/sales – Compare to industry standards Tell judges what you learned – Don’t be afraid to admit it when not all the news is good – You can learn from parts of a campaign that missed the mark – Adjust goals for next year/next program – Use any negative feedback to improve future efforts

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