Who doesn’t like winning awards?
There are a number of reasons why you may want to enter an awards ceremony, aside wanting some recognition for putting heart and soul into your business.
Being shortlisted for – or winning – an award can help to improve PR opportunities, improving brand awareness and raising the profile of your company in the eyes of both employees and customers.
It can also help your employees to feel that their hard work is being recognised, improving employee engagement. It may even motivate them to step up to the next level by introducing a competitive element to their day-to-day work.
But have you ever thought about running your own awards instead of competing in other awards ceremonies?
Giving awards to other people – even companies – isn’t such a far-fetched idea…
Why you should host an awards ceremony
Hosting events in a designated space offers three main benefits: the opportunity to network face-to-face, free press coverage, and the chance to build your brand reputation in a local area.
The most important of these is the opportunity to network with other like-minded individuals. Even though the world is becoming ever-more connected in the digital sphere, vis-à-vis networking is still king and can help your business to flourish over the long term through gained meaningful connections.
Meeting people face to face offers a much more personal experience and is far more memorable than a 140-character tweet, impersonal email or generic sales call (and we have more advice here on how you can make networking work for you).
Secondly, an event which celebrates the strengths and successes of a local business will naturally attract local media attention, generating free press coverage and helping to get your business noticed by other entrepreneurs as well as potential customers and collaborators.
This leads into the third tangible benefit of hosting a traditional awards ceremony: it will help you to build a strong brand reputation in the local area. Getting mentioned by the local media and networking with other local businesses will help you to establish a strong reputation as a business and industry leader in an area.
For an example: if you are a recruitment agency, it looks good to show that you are supporting local businesses in your region – companies who haven’t heard of you will pick up on your regional presence, which helps to build your brand narrative. In reaching out to potential applicants and at a ceremony, you can make connections and potentially create leads for new business. Then there are multiple opportunities to get coverage in local press – in the lead up to the awards, in announcing the shortlists and finally, the big finale itself. On top of all this, it generates a positive atmosphere – rewarding fellow business owners for doing well (after all, people don’t remember what you say, but how you make them feel).
Why you should host digital awards
Digital awards offer an easier and less costly way of hosting an event, and in terms of online marketing, they can offer unique opportunities for PR outreach.
You can leverage your position to get increased exposure across other business websites through branded awards logos. You can also use these branded awards as a click-through link to your own website, generating increased traffic.
As you communicate with the entrants, use the opportunity to network; when the awards are handed out, speak to the winners about offering them space for free content on your website.
There’s an element of quid pro quo involved, but you can also use that as an opportunity to offer free content to the award winners, further increasing your visibility online by improving your link-building.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of online awards is their lower cost compared to traditional awards. Overheads are virtually non-existent – instead, you can focus all of your efforts and your entire budget on building bridges and connecting with other businesses.
Which one is best for you?
It’s clear that both offline and online awards are a great way of reaching out to other businesses and building your brand, but your choice will depend on which approach you feel is best suited for the growth of your business.
Hosting a traditional awards ceremony is beneficial for face-to-face networking with other local business leaders, which will help you to establish a …
Hosting a digital awards ceremony will instead help you to network across a wider area and a wider choice of businesses, exposing you to a more diverse range of businesses.
There are, of course, some limits to what you can do and what you can achieve. As well as budget and resources, you need to think practically about your reach, scope and reputation. While some national award ceremonies can charge hundreds for entry fees and cover logistical costs that way, a small business is unlikely to attract fellow SMEs with this method. Similarly, if you’re a medium business in the growing stages, you’re unlikely to attract big business to your awards until you’ve built a reputation and credibility in your field.
While there is no one size fits all approach, if done well you can establish a network of like-minded entrepreneurs, building up your contact book while also getting your brand and business recognised in the local area and the local media.