Inside the Bell Ringer’s Studio

By Derek Lyons (@dwlyons)

After much encouragement from my esteemed colleague Catherine Allen (@catherineallen) I had the opportunity to take part in this year’s judging for the Bell Ringer awards.  For the uninitiated, the Bell Ringers are organized by the Publicity Club of New England and since 1969 has been geared to “recognize and honor excellence and achievement in the communications and public relations professions.”

The categories are as numerous as the opportunities robust for recognition amongst your peers.  I served as a judge for the national broadcast category and the graphics category, and came away impressed with the results.  I wish everyone luck as the winners are announced on June 7th at the Westin Hotel in Watch City, USA (aka Waltham.)

Here’s my take-aways when considering submitting for either the Bell Ringers or any other awards, lessons I humbly submit will also help in your everyday PR lives as well:

  • Keep your writing simple – Reading through multiple submissions (think multiple pitches, speaking ops, etc.), the ones that stood avoided having the best nuggets lost in a fog of “classic” marketing/PR language.
  • Use relevant details – Pertinent details made the best pieces come to life.  Be careful not to overload your submissions with meaningless statistics that will take away from the story you’re trying to tell.  Speaking of which…
  • Tell a story – The outstanding submissions I read were actually on the shorter side, but told a very compelling story that cleanly progressed from situation to challenge to results.  They didn’t attempt to recreate the wheel, rather excelled at painting a clear picture.

Anyone have other tips they’d like to share when pulling together award submissions?  We’d love to hear them!

2 Responses to “Inside the Bell Ringer’s Studio”

  1. 1 Michael Durwin May 9, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    I remember my first (and only) Bell Ringer fondly.
    I would suggest sending a DVD or YouTube link with a video from your client talking about how much your campaign moved the needle or how well it solved your business problem. You can toot your own horn pretty easily if you’re a marketer or PR professional, it would be refreshing to hear it from your clients.

  2. 2 Catherine Allen May 11, 2011 at 10:49 am

    @Dwlyons I find it fascinating to read entries each year. I’m glad you did too.

    @Michael – I agree that kudos from a client for an agency entry (or kudos from the big boss for a corp entry) is key – it shows that you helped them to achieve the set goals.

    @all PR Managers If you submit awards on behalf of your clients – consider submitting an award for your own work. You’ll be amazed at how your staff looks at the challenge with a different lense and then makes tweaks to their future submission processes.

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