Entering the Anvil Awards? Here Are 5 Tips to Help You Succeed

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The regular entry deadline for the 2023 Anvil Award entries is Feb. 10; final submissions are due on Feb. 24. PRSA will present the Anvil Awards on June 8 at the historic Edison Ballroom in the heart of New York City’s Theater District. You can learn more about spotlighting your organization in the Anvils at this link.

For more than 75 years, the Anvils have served as the icon of the profession and the benchmark of high performance in public relations. Silver Anvil Awards celebrate the best strategic PR campaigns of the year, while Bronze Anvil Awards recognize outstanding PR tactics that contribute to the success of overall programs or campaigns.

Michael Gross, APR, president of AKCG — Public Relations Counselors, is the PRSA Honors & Awards Committee chair. He offers these five tips to help you put that award-worthy effort into an Anvil-earning entry:

  1. Tell a compelling story. The one- or two-page summary of an entry is the most important and influential component of a submission. In this summary, you want to tell a compelling, concise and straightforward story, outlining the most critical points for the judge. Just so you know, the summary does not need to include every detail of your campaign or tactic, but the entry should be neat and complete. In other words, don’t leave any plot holes that you don’t explain in your entry. And as a bonus tip, avoid local references, as the Anvils are judged by individuals from around the country who may not pick up on geographic mentions.
  2. Research packs a punch. The programs that stand out in a category often have used research to inform messages, strategies and activities. Include details if you’ve done either primary or secondary research. Demonstrating how we leverage research to inform our efforts is critical to what makes a campaign award-worthy.
  3. Use the judging criteria as a guide. Read the judging criteria readily available to all submitters to get a sense of where judges will put emphasis and how they’ll score a given entry. You’ll find the scoring valuations and important reminders of what to include and not include in your submission. PRSA makes the answer key available, and it’s a matter of matching your content to what the judges will be grading.
  4. Illustrate with supporting materials. Too often, we see great entries submitted with only a few supporting materials. Think of those separate uploads as visual aids to your entry summary. If you reference a plan, a piece of research, a media hit or a metrics report in your summary, then it’s valuable to include it in the supporting materials. Organize those materials to align with the section headers, so a judge can easily navigate to your “proof points” and validate your claims in the summary.
  5. Make your entry judge friendly. Your submission should be easy to read and pleasant to the eye. Where you can, organize thick content with bullets and subheads. Take the time to bold critical lines and phrases and break up the copy so it’s digestible for a judge. Taking a few moments to make the entry compelling — both narratively and visually — can help you stand out in a crowd.

If you haven’t entered an Anvil submission in a while or ever before, then check out the resources available to you so that you may, too, earn the recognition you deserve for the excellent work you do.

Download the 2023 Anvils entry kit for inspiration and guidance here.

[Photo credit: albert chau]

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Michael Gross, APR

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