Why go after awards?
I have been called everything from multi award-winning PR professional to a snake charmer to a gloryhound for pursuing awards. Let me explain WHY I think awards are a good thing for individual practitioners, startup companies and even established companies.
Award entries are based on the best planning in the industry. A good plan has a succinct set of goals and objectives (and you can tell which is which!), a defined audience or audiences, a budget or allocation of resources, and a set of measurements to determine whether you succeeded at what you set out to do or not. These are the exact elements awards are based on. From PRSA Silver Anvils to the Sabre Gold Quills to the Ragan awards, they ALL require good planning and a simple and focused summation of success in order to win. Even if you don't win you learn. Sometimes you notice as you start filling out the award entry that you've missed a key piece in the planning or measurement processes. It can be very enlightening.
Winning awards shows others, whether clients or employers, that you know how to do your job and you do it better than most. You've been held up to one of the fairest comparisons in the industry and come out on top.
It reminds you how to sell yourself. If you can explain, in one-to-two pages, the value of your PR campaign then you can sell yourself or your team to a client or a boss.
Over the years I've won a few awards. Right now I work for someone who doesn't believe in awards, I find this attitude disheartening. Though, when I shared a previous award entry with her she was surprised to see how much it can hone your thinking just to imagine translating your campaign to an award entry. So, maybe next year!