2018 Blacksmith Awards

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2018 Blacksmith Categories

See the full list of Blacksmtihs categories below - you can also download a PDF of the category list if you'd like to print or save for later.


CAMPAIGNS

These categories recognize public relations campaigns that successfully changed awareness, opinions, attitudes and behaviors, or strengthened community relations. Each entry summary should include these sections: Research, planning, implementation and evaluation. Entry requires a summary PDF of no more than two pages, normal margins, 11-point Calibri type.

A01. COMMUNITY RELATIONS: Campaigns that aim to improve relations with, or seek to win the support or cooperation of, people or organizations in communities in which the sponsoring organization has an interest, need or opportunity.

A02. CONTENT MARKETING: Programs that effectively demonstrate a strategic program that includes creating and distributing valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage target audience(s). Include examples and metrics.

A03. CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS: Campaigns undertaken to deal with an unplanned event that required an immediate response.

A04. EVENTS & OBSERVANCES – MORE THAN 7 DAYS: Includes programs or events, such as commemorations, observances, openings, yearlong anniversaries, celebrations or other special activities.

A05. EVENTS & OBSERVANCES – 7 DAYS OR FEWER: Includes programs or events, such as commemorations, observances, openings, yearlong anniversaries, celebrations or other special activities.

A06. FINANCIAL COMMUNICATIONS: Campaigns directed to shareowners, other investors and the investment community.

A07. GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS: Includes any type of program, such as Reputation/Brand Management, Marketing or Events and Observances, that demonstrates effective global communications implemented in more than one country.

A08. INFLUENCER MARKETING TO EXPAND AWARENESS: Program that focuses on using paid spokespeople and key leaders to increase awareness and drive your brand's message to the larger market.

A09. INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS: Any campaign that demonstrates leadership of public relations strategies and tactics in a creative and effective integrated campaign, along with other marketing or communications. The program must demonstrate the clear leadership of public relations, along with its integration with other disciplines.

A10. INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS: Campaigns targeted specifically to special publics directly allied with an organization, such as employees, members, affiliated dealers and franchisees.

A11. ISSUES MANAGEMENT: Campaigns undertaken to deal with issues that could extraordinarily affect ongoing business strategy.

A12. MARKETING: Campaigns designed to introduce new products/services, or promote existing products/services to a particular audience.

A13. MOST EFFECTIVE CAMPAIGN ON A $5,000-$10,000 BUDGET: Effective campaign delivered within parameters of a limited budget. This does not include staff time and overhead.

A14. MOST EFFECTIVE CAMPAIGN ON A $5,000 BUDGET OR LESS: Successful campaign despite constraints of a small budget. This does not include staff time and overhead.

A15. MOST EFFECTIVE CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSBILITY CAMPAIGN: Program that enhances a corporate reputation and demonstrates a business approach to initiatives that positively impact society. Campaigns to highlight the positive impact that they have had delivering economic, social and environmental benefits to stakeholders

A16. MULTICULTURAL & DIVERSITY: For any type of campaign, such as institutional, marketing and community relations, specifically targeted to a cultural group.

A17. PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Campaigns specifically designed to influence public policy and/or affect legislation, regulations, political activities or candidacies — at the local, state or federal government levels — so that the entity funding the program benefits.

A18. PUBLIC SERVICE: Campaigns that advance public understanding of societal issues, problems or concerns.

A19. REPUTATION & BRAND MANAGEMENT: Campaigns designed to enhance, promote or improve the reputation of an organization with its publics or key elements of its publics, either proactively or in response to an issue, event or market occurrence.

A20: PRSSA CAMPAIGN: Any campaign conceived and executed by a PRSSA student or team.


TACTICS

These categories take a closer look at the individual components of your public relations plans, and the tools used to successfully communicate your message. Each entry summary must include these sections: Purpose; planning & implementation, and evaluation. Entry requires a summary PDF of no more than one pages, normal margins, 11-point Calibri type.

PAID:

B01. BEST SPONSORSHIP ACTIVATION: Sponsorships represent the alignment of shared values and goals, and can be profitable marketing opportunities for building harmonious partnerships. Activation requires a deep understanding of brand synergy to support how affiliations are formed and promoted to vetted demographics. Show how the activation leveraged investment.

B02. MOST EFFECTIVE INFLUENCER PROMOTION: Influencer marketing focuses on an individual the audience sees as a trusted source of information and which can be differentiated far better than through advertising or content marketing. How did you ensure maximization of your ROI with these highly targeted consumers?

B03. BEST SEO: Were you able to improve your brands SEO with paid results on major search platforms? If your team or agency had a successful paid search campaign across one or more search-based advertising platforms that demonstrated improvement and a positive return on investment share your metrics and results.

EARNED:

B04. MEDIA RELATIONS: Tactics, programs and events driven entirely by media relations. Submit press releases, media advisories, pitch letters, requests for coverage, etc., along with the one-page summary that includes measurable objectives and results, such as evidence of the resulting media coverage. Upload or provide YouTube/Vimeo links to any television or radio coverage.

B05. FEATURE STORIES: Feature articles that have been written by a practitioner, and submitted and published through his/her efforts. Submit text of feature article, as well as documentation of publication and placement. The one-page summary should include target audience, measurable objectives and any documented results.

* Feature Stories must be written in their entirety or substantively by the entrant, and not merely “pitched.”  

B06. BLOGGER CAMPAIGNS: A proactive outreach to the blogger community on behalf of a product, service or organization. The one-page summary should include rationale for blogger outreach strategy, statistics or other means of quantifiable measurement to support stated objectives, as well as a copy of (a) the outgoing messages and (b) the resulting blog entries either as uploads and/or the actual site URLs.

B07. EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS: Positioning of an executive at any level across earned, owned, and share platforms. The one-page summary should include information about the executive and stated objectives, quantification of results as well as copies of significant placements, social media, posts or memos.

SHARED:

B08. BEST USE OF SOCIAL STORIES: Did you take social storytelling to another level? How did you use YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat to tell your brand's story? Share screenshots or links to your story and provide the results.

B09. TWITTER ENGAGEMENT: How did you interact with your audience in real time? Show your most interactive Twitter accounts with measurements like Retweets, likes, impressions and clicks. What impression did they leave on your audience?

B10. FACEBOOK ENGAGEMENT: How did you use Facebook to share your message and engage your audience? How did it enhance your overall marketing plan? Did it lead to increased activity and viral reach?

B11. YOUTUBE ENGAGEMENT: Did you make a popular YouTube video that persuaded your audience not only to watch but also comment and share the video? Share the videos that you created that combine storytelling and great production. In addition to the video please provide measurable objectives, such as the number of comments, shares and social reach of your video.

B12. INSTAGRAM COMMUNICATIONS: How did you use this visual platform to connect and engage with your audience? Was it used to sell products or share insights? Provide details of the results you have seen

B13. LINKEDIN: Show how you used this social media gateway to optimize the company’s business stature through announcements, engaging articles or other creative ways.

B14. PINTEREST: How did you engage followers and increase brand awareness and sales through use of beautiful graphics? Show links to your Pinterest boards along with metrics.

OWNED

B15. NEW DIGITAL PLATFORM: Did you launch a new website, newsroom, App or other digital platform? How was it launched and how much risk was involved in your marketing plan? What platforms were used? What value did the end user receive and how did it match goals? This entry can be completed by a vendor or the customer.

B16. MOBILE APP: Use of mobile applications as part of a public relations program. Include copy and any images of key pages to support your one-page summary. Additionally, include brief instructions on how to download the application.

B17. BEST USE OF DATA ANALYTICS: How did it uncover hidden patterns, correlations or other insights to help make quicker and more efficient business decisions to gain a competitive edge?

B18. WEBSITES: Use of a website as part of a communications or content marketing program. Include screen grabs or copies of key pages to support your one-page summary. Additionally, include the website URL for external sites.

B19. WORD-OF-MOUTH: Tactics that get key audiences talking or provide an avenue for conversation through the use of different techniques, such as viral marketing, sampling programs, loyalty programs, etc.

B20. CREATIVE TACTICS: Innovative, unconventional, creative tactics or approaches used as part of a public relations program. Documentation of how the tactic specifically contributed to the measurable results of the campaign should be included in the one-page summary. (Photographic and/or video representation of any physical objects should be uploaded.)

B21. ANNUAL REPORTS:  Publications that report on an organization’s annual performance. Upload a sample of one copy of the publication, along with a one-page summary.

B22. BLOGS: Web-based journals, or blogs, that communicate either a corporate, public service or industry position. The one-page summary should include rationale for blogging strategy, target audiences and statistics, or other means of quantifiable measurement to support stated objectives. Screen downloads of the blog being entered, as well as the actual site URL, must be submitted as part of the story.

B23. DIGITAL NEWSLETTERS: Publications designed, written and published periodically to provide brief and timely information to target audiences while supporting an organization’s overall objectives. Upload samples of three consecutive issues, along with a one-page summary.

B.24 DIGITAL PUBLICATIONS: Single-issue publications (newsletters/booklets/calendars) designed for a special purpose. Books and other publications not eligible for consideration in other categories should be entered here. Upload a sample of one copy of the publication along with the one-page summary.

B25. ONLINE VIDEOS: Pre-produced videos distributed online to inform target audiences of an event, product, service, issue or organization. Entries may consist of an edited video and one of any sound bites. The one-page summary should include usage statistics or other means of quantified measurement to support stated objectives.

B26. BEST USE OF BRANDED CONTENT: Use of content generation to promote a particular brand which funds the content's production.

B27: WEBCASTS: Media files distributed over the Internet using streaming media technology. May be live or recorded. Submit the one-page summary and upload or provide YouTube/Vimeo links of the webcast, as well as the actual site URL.

B28: INNOVATION IN CUSTOMER SERVICE: Customers are wielding more power and demanding more from customer service. How did you demonstrate transformative innovation by introducing something new which revolved around the customer’s needs and had a big impact on the company’s service performance? Provide metrics.

B29: PODCASTS: How did you tell your story – was the purpose to teach or share? Was it intended for internal or external audiences and was there engagement on multiple platforms? Provide listener feedback.

B30: MAGAZINES: Publications designed to provide in-depth information about an organization or topic on a regular basis. Magazines typically differentiate from newsletters by the number of pages and length of articles. Upload samples of three consecutive issues along with the one-page summary.

B31: PRSSA TACTIC: Any tactic mentioned above conceived and executed by a PRSSA student or team.


PROFESSIONAL & TEAM RECOGNITION

The Professional Recognition Summary should provide evidence of traits demonstrating the best in his/her/their field, such as communication skills, public relations expertise, creativity and integrity. See individual categories for specific summary instructions. Additional work samples or documentation such as clips, presentations, etc. may be included. Some categories also must include letters of recommendation. 

These entries require a one-page summary, normal margins, 11-point Calibri type.

C01. PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR: Recognizes an established practitioner for exceptional leadership and professional accomplishments between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018. Individuals may nominate themselves or be nominated by others. Past Blacksmith winners are not eligible.

Criteria:

Leader – Demonstrate how the nominee has provided leadership within the organization and for specific projects; how does the nominee go above and beyond for projects.

Strategic Practitioner – Evidence of success and creativity in executing campaigns and tactics that are part of an overall PR strategy; demonstrate commitment to ongoing learning and personal development.

Contributor – Demonstrate how the nominee has given back to community, the PR field, the employer(s)/agency.

Entry:

One-page summary 

Any relevant, supporting materials

C02. NEW PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR: Recognizes a relative newcomer to public relations for demonstrating exceptional leadership and professional achievements during his/her initial years in the profession. All PR professionals who have been in full-time practice for less than three years are eligible. (This period excludes internships and part-time employment while working on a degree.) 

Criteria:

Leader – Demonstrate how the nominee has contributed to leadership within the organization or managed specific projects; how does the nominee go above and beyond for projects.

Strategic Practitioner – Evidence of success and creativity in supporting campaigns or working on programs or tactics that are part of an overall PR strategy; demonstrate commitment to ongoing learning and personal development.

Contributor – Demonstrate how the nominee has given back to community, the PR field, the employer(s)/agency.

C03. INDEPENDENT PRACTITIONER OF THE YEAR: Recognizes an outstanding independent/solo practitioner for his/her accomplishments between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018. Individuals may nominate themselves or be nominated by others. Past Blacksmith winners are not eligible.  

Criteria:

Leader – Demonstrate how the nominee has provided leadership for client projects; how does the nominee go above and beyond for projects.

Strategic Practitioner – Evidence of success and creativity in executing campaigns and tactics that are part of an overall PR strategy; demonstrate commitment to ongoing learning and personal development.

Contributor – Demonstrate how the nominee has given back to community and the PR profession.

Entry:

One-page nomination 

Any relevant, supporting materials

C04. PR EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR: Recognizes an outstanding educator for accomplishments and contributions to academia and the larger PR field during the 2017-2018 school year. May be nominated by students or professionals who have knowledge of the educator’s classroom practices and development of future PR professionals. Past Blacksmith winners are not eligible.

Criteria:

Leader – Demonstrate how the educator has provided leadership in PR education and/or for the university/collegiate department. Possibilities include service to the department, student support, curriculum development, alumni outreach, etc.

Strategic Practitioner – Demonstrates a solid understanding of strategic PR planning and focuses on developing those skills within students. Provides opportunities for students to apply and practice these processes, providing guidance and direction. May be in class or through support of PRSSA chapters.

Contributor – Demonstrate how nominee has given back to the community, the PR profession, or the university community. This may also include contributions to larger body of communications research.

Entry:

One-page nomination

Any relevant, supporting materials

C05. PRSSA STUDENT OF THE YEAR -- Miami University
Recognizes an outstanding Public Relations Student Society of America member at Miami for his/her accomplishments during the 2017-2018 year. Teachers and PRSSA advisors may nominate a student whom they believe has demonstrated great leadership and skills in public relations. Past Blacksmith winners are not eligible. 

C06. PRSSA STUDENT OF THE YEAR -- Northern Kentucky University
Recognizes an outstanding Public Relations Student Society of America member at NKU for his/her accomplishments during the 2017-2018 year. Teachers and PRSSA advisors may nominate a student whom they believe has demonstrated great leadership and skills in public relations. Past Blacksmith winners are not eligible. 

C07. PRSSA STUDENT OF THE YEAR -- University of Cincinnati
Recognizes an outstanding Public Relations Student Society of America member at UC for his/her accomplishments during the 2017-2018 year. Teachers and PRSSA advisors may nominate a student whom they believe has demonstrated great leadership and skills in public relations. Past Blacksmith winners are not eligible. 

C08. PRSSA STUDENT OF THE YEAR -- Xavier University
Recognizes an outstanding Public Relations Student Society of America member at Xavier for his/her accomplishments during the 2017-2018 year. Teachers and PRSSA advisors may nominate a student whom they believe has demonstrated great leadership and skills in public relations. Past Blacksmith winners are not eligible. 

Criteria:

Leader – Demonstrate how the nominee has taken on leadership roles or contributed to the success of his/her PRSSA chapter (must be a PRSSA member); influence in working with other PRSSA members.

Strategic Practitioner – Demonstrate a solid understanding and development of knowledge regarding PR strategy and tactics; enthusiasm for putting classroom learning to work.

Contributor – Demonstrate how nominee is involved in the broader university community and uses talents beyond the classroom.

Entry:

One-page nomination made by a teacher or PRSSA advisor

Any relevant, supporting materials

C09. CEO COMMUNICATOR OF THE YEAR

The CEO Communicator of the Year Award honors the outstanding performance of Cincinnati-area chief executive officers in their roles as chief communicator. The role of the CEO has evolved. Not only do CEOs encourage and adapt to changing business models, but frequently the CEO must also take the lead in communicating with employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to achieve success for his/her organization. PRSA will recognize a CEO who has shown outstanding communications leadership within his/her own company or perhaps in an industry. Nominees must be chief executive officers or hold equivalent positions. Nominations should be based on accomplishments between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018. Past Blacksmith winners are not eligible.

Criteria:

Leader – Demonstrate how the nominee has taken the lead in communicating with various stakeholders and how nominee regularly champions or supports the communications function.

Strategic Practitioner – Effective use of PR techniques to communicate whether in a crisis or in day-to-day operations. May include CEO’s appearance in the media, before industry groups or community groups, etc.

Contributor – Demonstrate how nominee has given back to broader community through civic, religious or business organizations.

Entry:

One-page nomination

Any relevant, supporting materials

C10. COMMUNICATIONS TEAM OF THE YEAR

Recognizes an outstanding communications working group in a company setting (not an agency) for exceptional professional accomplishments between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018. Individuals may nominate their own team or the team may be nominated by others.

Criteria:

Work Product - Demonstrates exceptional achievement and creativity in creation of PR campaigns and tactics that further the organization’s objectives.

Atmosphere - Demonstrates a commitment to ongoing education and growth opportunities for team members; exceptional team leadership.

Citizenship - Makes contributions to the community and the PR profession.

Entry:

One-page nomination 

Any relevant, supporting materials


C11. SMALL/MID-SIZE AGENCY OF THE YEAR: Recognizes PR agencies that have one to 12 full-time employees. The award will honor an established greater Cincinnati PR agency for its professional accomplishments between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018. The award is open to agencies that began operating before Jan. 1, 2015. Agencies must be operated in the Greater Cincinnati area and demonstrate successful PR campaigns and tactics.

Criteria:

Work Product - Demonstrates exceptional achievement and creativity in creation of PR campaigns and tactics that further the client’s objectives; provides excellent, strategic counsel to clients.

Atmosphere - Demonstrates a commitment to ongoing education and growth opportunities for team members; exceptional team leadership.

Citizenship - Makes contributions to the community and the PR profession.

Entry:

One-page nomination

Any relevant, supporting materials

C12. LARGE AGENCY OF THE YEAR: The Large Agency of the Year award recognizes PR agencies that have 13+ full-time employees. The award will honor an established Greater Cincinnati PR agency for its professional accomplishments in between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018. The award is open to agencies that began operating before Jan. 1, 2015. Agencies must be operated in the greater Cincinnati area and demonstrate successful PR campaigns and tactics.

Criteria:

Work Product - Demonstrates exceptional achievement and creativity in creation of PR campaigns and tactics that further the client’s objectives; provides excellent, strategic counsel to clients.

Atmosphere - Demonstrates a commitment to ongoing education and growth opportunities for team members; exceptional team leadership.

Citizenship - Makes contributions to the community and the PR profession.

Entry:

One-page nomination 

Any relevant, supporting materials