Award Submission Planning: Asking the Important Questions

Posted by Poston Communications
August 1, 2023

Using what we’ve discussed previously in Choosing Your Path for your firm’s awards, you’ve decided on the most impactful opportunities for your existing and potential client base. In making the decision, you generally know the submission deadlines and potential cost of the submissions.

Now it’s time to do some digging around – not only for administrative needs around the submission but also for the requirements of the submission materials themselves. While that sounds broad and intimidating, it truly doesn’t need to be. Knowing the answers will help you fully understand the breadth and depth of your actionable items.

Ask these questions about the chosen award:

Details of making the submission: What is considered a submission? Are there multiple phases of research? Do you need to track references or referees? Supply supporting content? Do candidates need to take action by responding to a survey?

In some cases, not knowing and following submission requirements could not only lessen the likelihood of recognition but also could remove your submission from consideration entirely.

Nomination criteria: Who can serve as the nominator? How many candidates can be submitted? How many should? Will there be internal repercussions if you can only nominate one person?

Undoubtedly, there is a difference between permissible and best practices. Consider what would best position your submission against the other candidates and within your own firm, and how this submission aligns with the firm’s business and / or marketing plan.

Preparing the submission: What questions are being asked in the submission? Is firm demographic information needed? Are significant matter descriptions and / or totals requested? If so, are there confidentiality issues related to those matters that could impact the strength of the submission? Is there a word-count limit?

Try to “know before you go” when it comes to the information needed in a submission. Not only will this be helpful in completing your submission without technical errors or information gaps, but it will enable you to repurpose and reference the information for future submissions and business reporting.

The award announcement: When are the recognitions announced? Are there finalists? Or winner announcements only?

Plan a win into your time and financial budget. Whether badges or logos, profiles or attending a celebration, costs can vary widely. Even if you’re not making a purchase immediately, a win should be announced in a timely way, which takes marketing team bandwidth.

It also is important to understand the difference between a finalist announcement and a winning announcement, which will help you avoid accidentally misrepresenting awards and ensure that you know where your team can make improvements in the future.

If you can’t find the answers to these questions easily on the publication’s website, contact the outlet. You certainly won’t be the first person to wonder. Learning as much as you can upfront about the questions in the submission or nomination is crucial for a strong submission. Plus, certain data points and quantifiable information requested in submissions can be repurposed for lawyer bios, supplemental press release information or even future award considerations.

How We Can Help

Poston Content has a team of experienced writers and researchers with many years of awards experience, much of which was gained inside of publications and organizations that provide awards and rankings. We can advise on awards strategy, research opportunities and help with interviews and writing award responses. Contact us to learn more about how we can assist your firm.