My eighty-six-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. 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: the press release.
- Issue a press release. Be sure to include a quote from the awarding body about their judgment process and criteria. If the award is based upon a customer story, work really hard to include a quote from the customer in the press release. It’s OK to use the template that the award giver has probably 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. If you can offer up an interview with the co-award-winning client, you have a very good chance of getting some coverage.
- Post the news on all your 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 already public knowledge.
After that, leverage the award as raw material for content creation. Remember, the press release is not a content type for anything other than press outreach! Typical content strategies include:
- Develop a blog strategy. Don’t just blog that you got an award. (Your press release already did that.) Have your CTO/CEO write about “what I learned from the process.” Use this to showcase some architectural design or product philosophy that gives you sustainable competitive advantage.
- Create a library of tweets. Please don’t tweet that you got an award. Use interesting factoids and teasers: “Global financial leader replaced 40 disparate complaint-handling systems that were being used across 30 different brands. See how.”
- 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.”
Then, put that content into play.
- Create an email campaign for prospects (targeted list) that are not already in a nurturing stream. 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 for MQL leads. 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 improve.
- Socially promote all the other content as well as the “tweet library.” Schedule your tweets to post (and repost) for the next couple of months – not everybody is on Twitter all the time. This includes all blogs, the case study, and the infographic.
- Create a specific email for sales people to send this news to their prospects. This is good “late funnel” content. It is validation of you as a vendor. More importantly, it showcases a customer’s success. Let your sales people share the news personally. But don’t just let the sales team forward the press release. Highlight the customer’s success as much as your own.
- Communicate to your customers. If you are regularly communicating with customers, filter this into the ongoing communications plan – including highlighting the news on any customer-only websites. Don’t just forward the press release. Create something special. 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.