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Public Affairs Awards – Crafting a winning entry

Over the decades I have judged CIPR and PRCA awards in the UK and Brussels, and also the Gold Standards Awards in Hong Kong.

Judging awards in the public affairs category is always – for me at least – the most interesting. But for those submitting entries, public affairs is often the most challenging category. The reason for this is simple: there are rarely outright wins in public affairs. A ‘win’ can often just mean you got 60% of what you wanted, whilst the other side – and there is always another side – get 40%. If you get 80% of what you wanted and they get 20%, then you have done very well indeed. If you get 100% of what you were after, then you are definitely in award-winning territory.

Here are a few thoughts as to how you can improve your chances of winning – or at least of being short-listed:

  • Get your entries in on time. That should be obvious, but you would be surprised….
  • Equally, stick to the word count and the page count. Again, should be obvious, but…
  • Make sure that you have entered in the right category – but don’t be afraid to enter more than one if appropriate
  • Don’t over-claim. If you got most, but not all, that you or your client were after, say just that
  • Acknowledge the contributions of others. If your campaign was part of a coalition or alliance, give others due credit
  • Provide as many supporting facts and figures as you can
  • Images – graphs, photographs, screenshots – can be useful, provided they are relevant and don’t take up too much of your allocated space
  • Endorsements - from clients, politicians or other third parties can be invaluable
  • Be lucky! As with general elections, often whether you win or lose is as much to down to the quality of the opposition as it is to do with your own submission

Good luck to all entrants. I can’t promise that you will win, but I do promise that the judging will be scrupulously fair. And I can definitely promise that it will be another hugely enjoyable evening!

The deadline for the PRCA Public Affairs Awards is on Wednesday, 19th September, 2018 and the party conference deadline is on Wednesday, 10th October, 2018. To find out more information about the awards, please visit our website.

The Public Affairs Awards Europe are also open for entries. The deadline to submit an entry is on Monday, 24th September, 2018. To find out more information, please visit our website