2017 Blacksmith Awards

2017 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. Summary cannot exceed 5,500 characters, or approximately two pages.

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

A03. 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.

A04. INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS: Campaigns targeted specifically to special publics directly allied with an organization, such as employees, members, affiliated dealers and franchisees.

A05. INVESTOR RELATIONS: Campaigns directed to shareowners, other investors and the investment community.

A06. ISSUES MANAGEMENT: Campaigns undertaken to deal with issues that could extraordinarily affect ongoing business strategy.

A07. MARKETING: Campaigns programs designed to introduce new products/services, or promote existing products/services to a particular audience.

A08. MULTICULTURAL & DIVERSITY: For any type of campaign, such as institutional, marketing and community relations, specifically targeted to a cultural group.

A09. PUBLIC AFFAIRS & GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS: 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.

A10. PUBLIC SERVICE: Campaigns that advance public understanding of societal issues, problems or concerns.

A11. 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.

A12. SPECIAL EVENTS: 7 DAYS OR FEWER:  Campaigns behind events, such as commemorations, observances, openings, yearlong anniversaries, celebrations or other special activities.

A13: SPECIAL EVENTS: 8 DAYS OR MORE:  Campaigns behind events, such as commemorations, observances, openings, yearlong anniversaries, celebrations or other special activities.

A14: 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. Summary should not exceed 2,750 characters, or approximately one page.

B01. ADVERTORIALS*:  Paid advertising written as editorial matter to gain support for a product, issue, program or organization. Upload text of editorial matter and documentation of publication.

B02. ANNUAL REPORTS: Yearly report to stakeholders. Upload a copy of the publication.

B03. 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.

B04. 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.

B05. BROCHURES: Digital or print. Pamphlets, booklets or other small publications designed to inform a target audience about an organization, product, service or issue. Upload a sample of one copy of the publication.

B06. 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.)

B07. DIRECT MAIL/DIRECT RESPONSE: Communications designed to solicit a specific, immediate response by the target audience. This can be a single communication or a series. Quantifiable, specific actions by the target audience recipients resulting solely from the sponsor’s communication should be detailed in the summary. Upload a sample of one copy of the publication.

B08. EDITORIALS/OP-ED COLUMNS*: Opinion articles written as editorials, guest columns or letters to the editor. Submit text of article and documentation of publication.

B09. 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.

B10. MAGAZINES – EXTERNAL AUDIENCES: 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.

B11. MAGAZINES – INTERNAL AUDIENCES: 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.

B12. MEDIA RELATIONS: Tactics, programs and events driven entirely by media relations. Submit press releases, media advisories, pitch letters, requests for coverage, etc., along with 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.

B13. 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.

B14. 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.

B15. PRESS CONFERENCES: One-time events held specifically to announce news to target media about a product, service, issue or organization. A series of events or a multi-day effort does not belong in this category. The summary should address logistics, execution and quantifiable measures that demonstrate how the press conference achieved its stated objectives.

B16. PRESS KITS/MEDIA KITS: News releases, photographs and other background information compiled for an organization, product or issue. Submit photographic and/or video representation of the press kit or media kit.

B17. PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS: Productions of one minute or less distributed as unpaid public service announcements. Single productions or a series addressing the same issue. Video, audio and print PSAs may be uploaded. For print PSAs, single ads or a series of ads addressing the same issue may be submitted but copies of the actual print PSA must be included in the entry. The summary should include documentation of results.

B18. PUBLICATIONS: Single-issue publications 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.

B19. RESEARCH/ EVALUATION: Research that provides a meaningful contribution or input to a public relations program, or an evaluation documenting the value or benefit of a public relations program or tactic. Sample of the methodology and findings of any research should be uploaded. Summary should detail how and why this method is unique and valuable.

B20. SATELLITE MEDIA TOURS: Live broadcasts offered to and aired by television stations to inform target audiences about an event, product, service or organization. Entries may consist of one or two uploads of the representative placements. The summary should include statistics or other means of quantified measurement to support stated objectives.

B21. SMARTPHONE/TABLET APPLICATIONS: Use of smartphone and/or tablet applications as part of a public relations program. Include copy and any images of key pages to support your summary. Additionally, include brief instructions on how to download the application.

B22. SOCIAL MEDIA: Use of social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, etc. as part of a public relations program. Include screen grabs or copies of key pages to support your summary. Additionally, include the website URL for external sites.

B23. SPEECHES*: Upload text of speech. Summary should include information about the audience, purpose of speech and any documented results against the stated objectives.

B24. VIDEO PROGRAMS: Video programs either directed primarily at external audiences or targeted toward internal audiences such as employees, members, etc. Entrants should upload programs as a reasonable representation. The summary should include documentation of results that support stated objectives.

B25. WEBCASTS: Media files distributed over the Internet using streaming media technology. May be live or recorded. Upload or provide YouTube/Vimeo links of the webcast, as well as the actual site URL.

B26. WEBSITES—EXTERNAL: Use of a website as part of a public relations program. Include screen grabs or copies of key pages to support summary. Additionally, include the website URL for external sites.

B27. WEBSITES— INTERNAL/INTRANET: Use of a website as part of an internal public relations program. Include screen grabs or copies of key pages to support summary.

B28. 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.

B29: PRSSA TACTIC: Any tactic conceived and executed by a PRSSA student or team.

* Entries in categories 1 – Advertorials; 8 – Editorials/Op-Ed Columns; 9 – Feature Stories; and 23 – Speeches must be written in their entirety or substantively by the entrant, and not merely “pitched.”


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.

C01. PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR: Recognizes an established practitioner for exceptional leadership and professional accomplishments between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. 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 (approximately 3,000 words)

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.

Entry:

One-page nomination (3,000 characters) made by a senior-level executive at the nominee’s firm/company

Any relevant, supporting materials

C03. INDEPENDENT PRACTITIONER OF THE YEAR: Recognizes an outstanding independent/solo practitioner for his/her accomplishments between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. 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 (3,000 characters)

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 2016-2017 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 (3,000 characters)

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 2016-2017 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 2016-2017 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 2016-2017 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 2016-2017 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 (3,000 characters) 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, 2016, and June 30, 2017. 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 (3,000 characters)

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, 2016, and June 30, 2017. 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 (3,000 characters)

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, 2016, and June 30, 2017. 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 (3,000 characters)

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, 2016, and June 30, 2017. 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 (3,000 characters)

Any relevant, supporting materials