Going to the Evening of Excellence is always fun, but what can you actually do with the award you took home? It's great to be validated for your work, but you can actually get some mileage out of the award if you put some thought into it.
Awards offer a chance to tell others that not only do you think you're one of the best in the business, but so does a panel of experts judging your ability. The award can help land you new customers, retain great employees, attract new employees, and associate you with the elite. The one sticking point here- if nobody knows you won an award, it's not helping you do any of these things.
1.) Put out a Press Release
A well-written press release could earn you more visibility and positive brand awareness. A Contractor of the Year Award could be a welcome story for any local publication, trade media, or other news outlet if it is framed right.
Unique stories get the most interest, and some of the remodeling projects that win definitely have a narrative that can get attention. If you’re struggling with this aspect, you can always hire a PR professional to assist you in creating a narrative for your project and getting it out to the right people. EM NARI has also provided CotY winners with a press release template.
Stories that piggyback on current news trends are more likely to get picked up. PR professionals can help you identify these trends as well as make sure that the right people at the right publications see your story.
2.) Use your e-mail list
When you win the award, write a blog about the project on your website. Include a lot of visuals from the project, and put a catchy title on it. You can then use the blog as a page that people click to from an e-blast that you send to your e-mail list.
This serves a couple of different purposes: it lets people know you’ve won, it gets traffic to your website, and it gives people the opportunity to share the project with others. You can also use this URL to share on social media. If you set up the post correctly, it will make it much easier to share (have a featured image, have the meta description set up, etc.).
3.) Put it out on social media
If you wrote up the aforementioned blog, you can take that URL and share to different social media channels. This gives you an opportunity to leverage your peers.
Your clients, vendors, subs, colleagues and friends are all potential brand ambassadors. People who have a stake or played a role in the project are even more likely to share, especially if they are mentioned in the copy or tagged in the post. Tag as many people as possible!
No matter what social media outlet you choose, make your post visual. It's been proven time and time again that photos get more engagement. When creating your post, attention-grabbing headline, a clean, relevant image that piques interest, and a short, compelling description are key.
Keep your audience in mind. On Facebook, you’re going to get a lot of people you know, and potentially new clients. On LinkedIn, you’re getting a more professional crowd. On Facebook, your post may be more social and relaxed and geared towards lighter topics. On LinkedIn, your post may be more formal and geared towards positioning you and your business as an expert in your field and gaining traction with a publisher.
Pro-tip: congratulate the other winners, even if they’re your competition. It’s respectful, earns you credit with your peers, and gets you even more notice. Additionally, you’ll see that respect turned back to your company when they turn around and interact with your posts. You may even end up with a peer referral down the road for a project that another company can’t handle.
4.) Have a section on your website
Make sure that you have a log of your awards on your website. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your expertise to people who are looking at your website, which includes not only potential clients, but also people who may be interested in working for your company, or even your competitors.
5.) Showcase your awards in your office
Your office should have a designated area for awards that is visible to anyone. It’s a great conversation starter for potential clients or employees, and creates a great sense of accomplishment for any current employee viewing it.
Lastly- keep applying! The more award entries you have, the more likely you are to win. Keep the momentum going year to year.
More questions? Reach out to Kara directly at firstname.lastname@example.orgKara Wilson, CEORebel Builderskara@rebeldesignbuild.comrebeldesignbuild.com