2017 Blacksmith Awards

Blacksmiths Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question? See our list of frequently asked questions below:


Why did you decide to use the OmniCONTEST platform?

The Blacksmiths Task Force, convened in the spring of 2017, was asked to review the contest, and look at simplifying the entry process. We found out through national PRSA that several chapters, working together, had already vetted various platforms, and decided on Omni. We discussed Omni with a few other chapter contest chairs, and had favorable feedback. We looked at the platform and decided it would work for us.


What makes this contest platform easier to use?

Omni is very intuitive. It’s easy to set up your account and set up entries. Supporting materials are easily uploaded. We went through several test entries and found the process was a smooth one.


Why did the categories change this year?

The task force decided that we would align our categories with PRSA’s national Silver (campaign) and Bronze (tactics) Awards. Aligning will allow our Blacksmith winners to easily enter these national awards. After a period of two years, these categories should be reviewed again. If there is no interest in certain categories, they can be eliminated.


What new categories were added this year?

New categories include, on the tactic side, advertorial, direct mail, word of mouth, creative tactics, satellite media tours, and smartphone/tablet applications. We have also added a PRSSA campaign and tactic entry. We also revamped our professional categories, which now include PR Educator of the Year, and PRSSA Student of the Year from each of our college chapters – Miami, Northern Kentucky, Xavier and University of Cincinnati. We also changed Young Professional of the Year to New Professional of the Year – for someone with up to three years of experience in public relations. Make sure you read through our categories page.


Why is there now a fee for professional nominations?

We instituted a small fee ($25) for professional entries. The Blacksmiths have to pay for themselves, plus bring additional revenue to the chapter, so this is one way of helping that.


How does the new scoring system work?

The scoring system for campaigns was developed by the PRSA chapters that originally contracted with Omni. It is imbedded in the Omni system. However, we did not feel that the criteria used for campaigns would be fair, or even make sense, to use with tactics and professional entries. We developed our own criteria for that.

Campaign criteria

Tactics criteria

Professional/Team criteria


As I prepare my entry, it says there are 5,500 characters available for the summary. But in the tactics and professional categories, it says to keep the summary to 3,000 characters. Please explain this.

Omni has a one-size-fits-all template. You should follow the directions for that particular entry. If it specifies up to 3,000 characters, that is what you should aim for.


For all the entries, it says to upload a minimum of five supporting materials. If I don’t have 5, will I be penalized?

Again, this is because of the standardized template. Follow the judging criteria.


My entries say complete, and I have completed all the requirements, but I don't see a button to submit. Why?

You will not be able to submit your award until you have paid online or indicated offline payment - if the payment status icon is red - the submit button will not appear. Once you have done so (and met the requirements), the submit button will appear. Please note that your award entries are not received until you have clicked the submit button.


What are our payment options?

You can pay online at the time of submission with a credit card, or offline with a check. If you are paying by check, please note the instructions for preparing the check and where to send it.


How do I know you received my payment?

For those paying online, you should receive a confirmation email shortly after paying, which can be used as your receipt. If you are mailing a check, once it has been received, we will process your payment, and you will receive a confirmation by email at that time.

In addition, no matter your payment method, when a payment has been received/processed, on your view/edit entries page, in the total paid column, the $ sign will be in a green circle (those who haven't yet paid will see a red circle if you indicated you or paying online, or an orange circle if you indicated offline payment).


I selected pay offline, but have changed my mind and want to pay online - can I?

Yes. If you prefer to pay online, you can, even if you have already indicated offline payment. To do so, simply click the pay online button, and you will be taken through the process to complete your payment.


Is my online payment secure?

Yes. When you go through the payment process, you are directed to PayPal to complete your payment. PayPal uses some of the highest online payment security available. To see more on PayPal payment security for buyers, click here.


How do I know my discounts will be properly applied, and can I see where it was applied?

Omni is set up to automatically apply a 10% discount to every entry beginning with your third entry created. You do not need do anything extra to receive the discount. Note that the discount is calculated based on the regular deadline fee (no matter when you submit), and is applied based on the order in which entries were created.

To see your discounts by entry, in your entry dashboard, you can hover over the green "+" sign next to the total entry price, and a bubble will appear showing the itemized list of charges and discounts.

If you feel the system is incorrectly charging you, please email cincyprsa@gmail.com with your concern, and you will receive a detailed response.


Who will be judging the Blacksmiths?

PRSA Colorado.


When will finalists be notified?

Late October.


Have additional questions. For questions about your award submission, please email Kathleen Williams, APR at kathleen.williams21@gmail.com. For questions about payments, please email cincyprsa@gmail.com