Congratulations! You’ve just won a business award and no doubt you’re feeling very proud.  A business award can elevate the status of your business, improve morale and demonstrate your proficiency.

However, business award recipients often become disappointed that their win, which while important to them and their staff, doesn’t get covered by the mainstream media.

In a woman’s business group recently, a woman expressed her disappointment and frustration that despite winning four awards in as many months, the local newspapers were not interested in writing a story.

The woman said she’d sent a press release each time every time they’d won a business award but received no coverage even though they support hundreds of other local businesses and charities. She asked advice about how to get the media to tell her story.

So, what went wrong and why didn’t this woman get any success with getting coverage in her local media? Simply put the media hate cheque hand-overs and award stories. While the win is important to you, news and PR is not marketing.

As a journalist, I would receive press releases daily in my inbox or calls from eager PR consultants or business leaders wanting to publicise a business or industry win. However, our editors were simply not interested in the story.

One award story which stands out to me was in 2016 when a Brisbane firm won the 2016 Good Design Award of the Year. Evolve Group had been commissioned to create a honey harvesting system that tapped into a hive and extracted the honey without having to disturb the bees. It was a great invention and win for the company. What made it so newsworthy to other journalists and myself? The company had beaten global powerhouses Tesla and Google to win the award.

The new honey harvesting system was revolutionising beekeeping making it safer, easier and more efficient to extract honey.

You see even if you’ve won one of the most prestigious prizes in the world, such as Nobel prize you have to remember the story is more about what you have done for society, how you are improving the lives of others than yourself.  Abruptly put news is not about massaging your ego.

I had lunch with two good friends and colleagues recently. Both were trained journalists with one now with her PR firm and even specialising in helping business leaders prepare and nominate for awards. The other has a successful podcast and also trains others how to podcast create a leading podcast.

I asked my podcasting friend how she chooses her guests, which is a topic warranting a whole other post in its own right.  “When they just start talking about themselves, all their achievements and awards then I know straight away, they’re not a good fit,” she told me.

“But when they tell me they’ve listened to my podcast and have a whole lot of ideas about how they could add value to my listeners then I know they’re a good fit.”

For my PR friend who enjoys helping businesses to receive recognition through awards, she told me when writing a press release or contact the media about a story for her clients she never focuses purely on their win.

5 Tips for getting a story about your award win into the news?

  1. Highlight the Spectacular: Like the new honey harvesting system, if there’s something quite spectacular about your win, it will become newsworthy and appealing to journalists. Some awards are also considered more newsworthy and important than others. The Telstra Businesswoman of the Year is an example of an award which attains considerable media coverage
  2. Pitch your origin story:  Talk about the personal story of how you started your business and it’s growth. We all, including the media, love a good hero story of overcoming obstacles and triumph. Why did you start your business? Were you filling a gap in the market? How many people have you served?
  3. Offer journalist a story appealing to their audience: You can inadvertently mention your award but don’t make it the focus of your pitch.  For example, if you’re in property or real estate what have you noticed about the local market?  What are the property trends in your area?  How are you changing your industry, like the beehive story?
  4. Keep interested in the news: read your local newspaper to see what type of stories journalist pick up. Can you offer a fresh angle or different perspective? For example, if you’re a financial advisor can you comment on any changes to the budget or economic policy, interest rates etc. Again, you can mention your award inadvertently.
  5. Be honest with yourself: Before you send any release or contact a journalist ask yourself honestly: “Would the audience care half as much as we do?” Often, the answer is an emphatic “No” so go back and brainstorm another angle.

Remember, business awards are still an excellent opportunity to gain recognition with a lot of great ones coming up in the next few months. Some of the best stories about business award win discuss trends, topics and insights into an industry. Your business award may be shiny, but by itself, it’s often not news so think of a more creative way to make it so.