The Blacksmith Awards, presented by the Cincinnati chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, honor the best of Greater Cincinnati’s public relations community, from talented, experienced practitioners to stellar work that has local, national and international impact.

2018 Blacksmith Awards

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It's that time of year again -- we're ready to go for the Blacksmiths!

We have a number of new categories this year -- reflecting the ever-changing practices and innovations of our profession.

Our OmniCONTEST submission platform has also been tweaked, and entering should be very simple.

Before you start assembling your entries, take a few minutes to review everything that’s new. It’s really important that you familiarize yourself with our categories, the judging criteria and award levels.

Spread the word – to PRSA members and non-members. We want everyone in the Greater Cincinnati public relations community to enter their best work into the Blacksmiths!

And of course, we are planning a great event to celebrate our award winners. Mark your calendars for Thursday, November 15, for our big awards dinner at The Summit Hotel on the Medpace campus in Madisonville.

Please read to the bottom of this post -- it includes links to important contest pages.

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Our Blacksmiths mirror the national PRSA Bronze (tactic) and Silver Anvil (campaign) awards categories and language. This year, there are a significant number of new categories, particularly in Tactics. Among them: Best SEO, Executive Communications, and separate categories for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Aligning with the national awards will make it easier to enter your award-winning Blacksmith to the Silver and Bronze Anvils.

Our professional categories are the same as in 2017.

See full category list.


We have early, regular and late deadlines for award submissions:

  • Early Deadline: 5 p.m., Friday, August 24
  • Regular Deadline: 5 p.m., Friday, August 31 
  • Late Deadline: 5 p.m., Tuesday, September 11

The contest fees reflect these deadlines. Most award types receive a $5 discount if submitted by the early deadline, or will incur a $10 penalty if received after the regular deadline, but by the late deadline. See our deadlines and fees page for full details.


We have two awards: Blacksmith and the Awards of Excellence. The Blacksmith will be awarded to the Campaign and Tactic entry that have the highest score at or above 90 points; an Award of Excellence will be given to any Campaign/Tactic entry that is at or above 80 points. 

In both Campaign and Tactics, we will allow a tie of up to 2 entries for a Blacksmith. If 3 or more entries are tied for the highest score, the entries will be returned to the judging chapter for a tie-breaking third judge to review. In the Professional categories, we will only allow a Blacksmith Award, and we will not allow a tie.

These are guidelines – each Blacksmith committee has some wiggle room – but in general we believe these guidelines will reflect the value that a Blacksmith or Award of Excellence holds.


To use OMNI – and get the PRSA price -- all PRSA chapters agreed to use a common judging criteria for Campaigns and Tactics based on PRSA practices and principles with a very specific point system. We developed our own criteria for Professional/Team categories. Print these out and keep them by you as you assemble your entries – you’ll know what the judges are judging on, and you’ll know how well you satisfied that criteria.

Campaign criteria

Tactics criteria

Professional criteria

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The Blacksmith Awards are open to all public relations professionals in the Greater Cincinnati area. If the work was conducted by an organization outside of Greater Cincinnati for an in-town client, it is also eligible. Entrants must submit original work or work they directly supervised. Entries must be for work produced/managed in the Greater Cincinnati area between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018.

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There is no limit to the number of categories into which a single campaign or tactic can be entered, provided it applies to the criteria stated within each category. Judges may reclassify any entry into a more appropriate category or disqualify it entirely if it fits no other category. Entries cannot be submitted as both a campaign and a tactic; however, part of a campaign may be submitted separately as a tactic.

Multiple Entry Discount: Entrants submitting 3 or more awards will receive a 10% discount, beginning with the third entry. Entries one and two, determined by the order in which entries are created, will not receive the discount. Note the discount will be automatically applied and is based on regular deadline pricing, no matter when the entry is submitted.

First Time Discount: If your organization is entering for the first time, OR you have not submitted an entry for the last three year -- 2017, 2016, 2015 -- you sill receive a $10 discount on your total entry. Use promo code New Entrant to receive this discount.


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Once you have read through these Blacksmith pages, please go to our entry site and register. It's very easy. Note: Even if you or your organization registered last year, you must register again for 2018.

NOTE: For organizations that have multiple people submitting awards, we suggest using a single account for the organization using a single contact point, and sharing the login with those submitting work. This will ensure your organization is able to get the largest entry discount available.

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Please direct contest-related questions to:

Kathleen Williams, APR,, 513-490-6520.

Questions about payment can go to Elliot Campbell,

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Jackie Koopman and Kathleen Williams, APR, co-chairs

Sarah Sampson
Faith Lynch
Elliot Campbell, Chapter Business Manager

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Thanks to our current 2018 Blacksmith Awards sponsors. If are interested in becoming a 2018 Blacksmith Awards sponsor, visit the Cincinnati PRSA sponsorship page or contact Barbara Grimsley, APR, for information on packages and opportunities.


Presenting Sponsor

Platinum Sponsors

Scooter Media Logo

Gold Sponsor

Vehr Logo

Design Sponsor