Award Applications Create Publicity Opportunities

Recently, Heidelberg PR had the privilege of preparing two winning applications for the Florida Hospital Association’s 2010 Celebration of Service Awards on behalf of St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Morton Plant Hospital, Clearwater, Fla. Both hospitals are part of BayCare Health System.

Congratulations to Mary Hilton Cross, age 80, a long-time volunteer at St. Anthony’s Hospital. She was named the  2010 FHA Volunteer of the Year and was featured in the St. Petersburg Times. You can read her story here: http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/article1131045.ece. I got to meet Mary this week at a groundbreaking event at St. Anthony’s Hospital, and she is truly a delightful woman. If you prefer to watch instead of read, here’s a recent TV feature: 

http://www.baynews9.com/video?clip=http://static.baynews9.com/newsvideo/bn9/web_video/HospitalHero.f4v

The other winning project is the Turley Diabetes Program at Morton Plant Hospital, which was honored for its innovation in patient care. This program provides ongoing treatment and care for diabetic patients who do not have a primary care physician, and the results have been very positive in improving their overall health.

For those considering applying for an award, we highly recommend it as a part of your public relations mix. A story like Mary’s has  wonderful spill-over effects for St. Anthony’s Hospital, and you can leverage the same type of benefit by nominating your company, its leadership or an employee, volunteer or board member for recognition.

Here are a few tips as you move forward: 

1.  Make sure you directly meet the criteria for the award, or you are wasting your time. A stretch to comply with award criteria will not hold up against applications that truly meet all of the qualifications.

2. Tell your story in depth, but do not exceed word count limitations when provided. Being too brief and telling your story without appropriate context equates to a waste of time as well. If you do not have time to do it right, wait until next time.

3. Submit your application a few days early, and call to make sure it has been received. An e-mail confirmation is even better because it provides a written chain of communication in case any concerns arise later in the process.

4. Make sure you proofread your application carefully, or ask a skilled writer to review and edit the application for you.

5. Take advantage of any and all publicity opportunities to share your recognition as a nominee, finalist or winner. Awards brings third-party endorsement to your operations and your people because objective outsiders have compared you against your peers and concluded that you stand out for some special reason. Leverage the opportunity to make the most it!

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