Award-Winning Advice from a Past Winner: PadillaCRT

26977142613_1e50c6c43c_zTaking the time to pause and reflect on your work can be a fulfilling experience and a healthy reminder and validation of the effort you and your organization put forth on a daily basis. One of the ways to cement that reminder is by submitting an entry into the Virginia Public Relations Awards.

As we enter the award’s 70th year, we caught up with our presenting sponsor – and longtime PRSA Richmond supporter – PadillaCRT to get some advice on the awards submission process and why the awards can be a great experience for the whole office. Jeff Wilson, APR, is a past president of PRSA Richmond, and he shared wisdom on behalf of the firm.

What recommendations do you have for people submitting entries for the first time into the Virginia PR Awards?

For individuals submitting entries for the first time, there are a few things they should consider. Do I have research to support my entry? Research can be primary research you’ve conducted yourself or commissioned, or secondary research that informs your campaign. Do you have well-defined and measurable results? Do your results coincide with your objectives? I’ve judged numerous entries over the years that have great results, but those results don’t match the objectives. I’ve also seen entries with specific objectives but no results to support the objectives.

And, demonstrate to the judges why your work is worthy of an award. What problem did you solve or challenge did you overcome? Make sure that the writing is dynamic but concise. You want to stand out from the other entries.

Has there ever been a time you or your organization struggled with submitting entries? What was the issue and how did you overcome it?

One of the biggest issues I’ve seen with award entries has been the lack of research. A lot of people think that if they haven’t done a survey or some other kind of proprietary research, then they don’t have a good entry. That’s not always the case. Secondary research also is valid. The main thing is demonstrating how the research was used to help shape your objectives and craft your campaign.

Why is it important to submit entries into the Virginia PR Awards?

Submitting entries for the Virginia PR Awards is important for multiple reasons. First, people like winning awards! Awards can be great for your team morale and brings recognition to you and your organization. Also, we like entering PRSA Awards, because in order to win, you truly have to demonstrate an understanding of the four-step planning process – research, planning, execution and measurement. It’s more than just a beauty contest. You win Virginia PR Awards because you’ve demonstrated the strategy behind the campaign or the tactic, and you’ve achieved measurable results.

So what’s the bottom line? The most important thing to remember is to have fun with your entry. The enthusiasm for your work will definitely shine through.

The early deadline for submissions is February 27, 2017. The regular deadline is March 6, 2017. For additional questions, contact Second Vice President of Awards, Casey Prentice at