- Consider every project you are working on as a potential entry. In order to enter, some part of the project must take place between January 1, 2009 and mid-March 2010 (end date will depend on the deadline to be announced).
- Write your plan now. Set your goals (broad) and objectives (precise).What are you trying to accomplish? You can have qualitative and quantitative objectives, but they must be specific and measurable.
- Organize support materials. Keep a file for notes, surveys and documentation. Start saving copies of results, proof of research, before and after samples, e-mail correspondence or feedback, media clips, letters/notes, reference materials, photos, etc. If you start now, all you need to do is “put it together” later.
Most people think of the big stuff – marketing campaigns, special events, brochures, new Web sites, etc. But there are also entire categories for a poster or calendar, news release, written speech, electronic communications, presentation, or even a unique specialty item. If you
don’t have enough elements to enter Division A, you can try parsing it out. This
may give you the leading edge and make for a winning entry.
Did you know you can submit an Image Entry? Its true, students can enter a written speech, newsrelease, position paper or computer-generated communication. You can also enter any other category in the other professional divisions if they have something that doesn’t fit in the student division. As you complete your school or internship projects, you may have a gem hiding right in your portfolio. Just think how great it would be to tell future interviewers that part of your body of work won an award at the local, or even state level. That would definitely set you
apart from the crowd and really help your career “take off!”
Yes, they matter. In fact, failure to meet the guidelines may get your entry disqualified. After you have burned the midnight oil to crank out a future winning entry, you would hate to have be taken out of consideration for not following page or spacing guidelines. There is a certain way to
submit or present your entry, what should be included and how your presentation materials need to be formatted. As the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.”
What you need to know...
Put most of your work into the two-page summary, not the notebooks. Seventy percent of the scoring is based on the summary of your project that sets out the reason and need for development of the public relations program or tool, how it was implemented and the results. The judges then review the support materials for professionalism, innovation and design to score the remaining 30 percent of the entry.
Make sure you address five elements in the two-page summary - Research, Objectives, Implementation, Evaluation and Budget.
If you don’t follow the directions, your entry could be disqualified or at the very least, overlooked. The summary should include all the elements and everything important about your entry. And it should be clear, concise and factual – not just creative. So by following the specific directions – your flight plan – you won’t “veer off course” and you will be able to reach your final destination (a.k.a. AWARDS!!).