Winning awards

I promised I’d write about the #insidestory awards for internal communication back in my last blog post in February. It was an extremely busy month, culminating in the awards ceremony on 28th February. As a freelancer working in a range of communications it was great to be asked to work on this national project for CIPR Inside, the internal communication sectoral group of the CIPR.

Inside Story

We opened for entries at the end of October 2012. Internal communication has long been in the ‘shadow’ of more ‘glitzy’ and ‘glamourous’ communication methods such as media relations – but as an experienced communications consultant I understand that effective organisational communication and public relations is about more than media relations and external campaigns alone.

Communication does not happen in a vacuum, and so communication effort should be integrated internally and externally to complete the picture. CIPR Inside’s brand new set of awards is dedicated to the internal communication profession and recognises the value and impact of internal communication on the success and smooth running of organisations.

In the words of Richard Branson in his blog “The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers”. Views like this are becoming more common as employers realise the value that engaged employees can bring to their businesses. The Engage for Success movement is a prime example of the shift in emphasis in recent years, and the awakening of employers to the idea that empowered and engaged employees improve business.

The internal comms profession is ready to be recognised for the work it can do to help organisations achieve this engagement. Often considered as the quieter people of the communication profession, internal communicators across the country rose to the challenge, and entered our awards to get their work recognition. We received a massive 85 entries across seven categories, exceeding our aim of 70.

I managed this process, the promotion, the entries in and distribution to the judges, helping to set the judging criteria.

Once first stage judging was completed, we announced the shortlist, and then continued to second stage judging to select the winners. In the meantime, I was promoting the celebration evening, writing scripts, preparing AV content for the night, booking entertainers, preparing for the night and writing all the content for before, during and after the event. Preparation is key, so everything from social media planning including tweets in the build up and on the night to announce the winners, to event team guides, attendees lists, names and contacts of everyone involved in making the event happen and more were documented.

The night was a great success. We sold 150 tickets, 50 more than we targeted. The preparation paid off, with all the winners attending to receive their awards, everyone’s name and company name was correctly written (a simple yet important thing, especially with 85 entries, 150 delegates and an audience full of comms professionals…), the compere’s script worked and was on time, as did the AV slides. Everyone had fun.

Then, on the day after the night before, it was time to post all the ‘news’ from the event. The eflyers to members, press releases, blog posts, tweets and content for the winners and highly commended were ready to go live. Links to our feedback survey, winning logos, photos and videos taken on the night all co-ordinated to ensure everyone could get the information they wanted as quickly as possible.

My work continues with #insidestory, providing support in sharing best practice from the winning entrants, creating case studies for our website, working with workshop hosts, conference organisers and more.

I have absolutely loved working on this project. It is an amazing experience, and one I have learned a lot from, not least how to put together a great award entry. I hope to work on the next #insidestory awards and learn from our experiences, and make them even better than this year’s.

My clear communication and planning helped to make this project and event successful. We exceeded our entries target by 10% and ticket sales by 50%. Our following and interaction on twitter has doubled. We have built the foundation of a great award programme, one to be proud to win, which is robustly judged and proudly celebrated. CIPR Inside is positioned as the voice of the internal communication profession.

Good communication works.

If you are looking to enter awards, get in touch. I can prepare and write winning award entries. And if you are planning an event, I can manage that too.

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