There are two ‘tiers’ of awards. The first are free to enter, have a transparent judging system and are often the ‘big hitters’ (think British Hairdressing Awards, British Hairdressing Business Awards etc). Sometimes the finalist is given a ticket to the event (though not always) and a lot of money is generated through sponsorship deals.
The second are what I call “iffy awards” as some are better than others. You can spot them because they have an extraordinary number of categories. More categories means more finalists and these guys make their money from you turning up at the finals, from your entry fee or your purchase of a certificate. It can feel like the more money you are willing to spend, the more likely you are to win.
The interesting thing for me is that, as far as your customers are concerned, IT DOESN’T MATTER which awards you enter. They love seeing that you’re striving, growing and developing. There is also a lot to be gained from the entry process – it clarifies thinking and helps you recognise what a great job you’ve been doing.
Here’s how to get a LOT of mileage out of entering awards – even if they aren’t top tier awards – and even if you don’t win.
You have THREE opportunities:
FIRST – When you’re posting your entry make a big fuss with a “wish us luck!” post. A picture of you dropping your envelope into a post box. If the award is online entry FAKE IT with a dummy envelope that you don’t actually post.
SECOND – When you place as a finalist you are usually allowed to use a special logo and you should make a big noise including a local press release. Some of the bigger awards will even give you a template or contact local press for you.
THIRD – On finals night, you can create a whole story about getting glammed up, lots of ‘wish us luck’ posts.
That’s a lot of social media real estate. Of course, if you win there is a LOT of fun to be had with posts and releases there too.
Enter ANYTHING that is free to enter – and don’t forget local awards too.
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