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How to optimize the impact of an industry award

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My 86-year-old mother called me last night to tell me that she's been "boiling eggs wrong all my life." It seems she'd watched a cooking show and received some "best practice" advice. Now, my mom is an excellent cook so this made me realize that no matter how seasoned a veteran you are, there's no harm (and often some good) in a review of the basics. In that spirit, I am going to share some advice for a question that comes to me quite frequently:

 "What are the best practices for leveraging an industry or business award?"

First, deal with the basics:

  • Issue a press release. Include a quote from the awarding body about their judgment process and criteria. If the award is based upon a customer story, include a quote from the customer in the press release. It's ok to use the template the award giver has given you, but make sure the press release is search-engine-optimized for your keywords.
  • Get aggressive on press outreach. Focus on reporters or social influencers (bloggers, analysts) who have been diffident or unresponsive in the past. 
  • Post a link to the news on all your web and social media sites. 
  • If a customer was involved, try to convert to a ‘customer case study' press release.The barrier to this might be lower now that the customer's use of your product/service is public knowledge.

Then, leverage the award for content creation. The press release is not a content type for anything other than press outreach.

  • Develop a blog strategy. The award already commends your product, service and company. Go beyond that to position the award as validation of a vision or an architectural approach that gives you sustainable competitive advantage.
  • Create a library of tweets. Use interesting factoids and teasers, "Global financial leader replaced 40 disparate complaint-handling systems that were being used across 30 different brands. See how". Schedule your Tweets to post (and repost) for the next couple of months --not everybody is on Twitter all the time.
  • Create an Infographic. There are probably some interesting numbers:  
    • Numbers about the process:  "Competition from hundreds of entries"
    • Numbers in  the story:  "<Company> was able to replace more than 40 disparate complaint-handling systems that were being used across 30 different brands"

Now, put that content into play.

  • Create an outbound email campaign. Use the same strategy as you did with the blog. Include a strong call-to-action with links to appropriate content (e.g. blog, case study). Do not link to the press release.
  • Filter this content, as appropriate into your nurturing workflows. You've probably already devised a nurturing workflow that has a well thought-out content delivery strategy. So, take a look at that and see how this new content can augment it.
  • Socially promote all the content as well as the ‘Tweet Library'. This applies to all blogs, case studies and the infographic.
  • Encourage your sales people to share the news with their prospects. This is good ‘late funnel' content. It is validation of you as a vendor. Let your sales people share the news personally, but don't let the sales team forward the press release. Create specific communication materials.
  • Communicate to your customers. Include this call-to-action:  "Would you like to showcase your own innovation?"  Ask for their help in sharing the news (e.g. .Tweet this news… Share with a friend).

There's my "recipe" for optimizing the impact of receiving an industry award. If you've got a few other ingredients, please let us all know.

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