This week I received a surprising alert from LinkedIn. In fact it was a series of “congratulations on your anniversary” messages from my connections. 5 years apparently. It took me a few seconds to realise – they were congratulating me on my 5 years at Spartan PR.
How time has flown!
During this time we have worked with some brilliant companies and met some incredible people along the way. Thank you to everyone who has supported Spartan PR during the last 5 years.
Here’s to hitting that 10 year anniversary! I wonder if we’ll all be getting around in flying cars by then. Here’s hoping.
We've spent this week updating the website with a range of new fixed-price services. Most PR agencies - ourselves included - tend to work with clients on a retained basis and rarely, if ever, publish their prices online. By offering a range of fixed price services for items such as case studies or press release distribution, we are entering unknown territories. It will be interesting to see whether clients take us up on it.
I should first explain why we decided to do this. Primarily it is to offer choice and to address what we believe is a gap in the market.
PR is a long-term commitment. To deliver real value it requires an organisation to commit a lot of time and budget over a sustained period of time. As a result, making the leap from one agency to another is a big risk (hence why PR agency pitches can be very long affairs). At the same time, making the leap to use any agency is a big step too if you've never used one before. We've therefore introduced these services as a way for clients to work with us without having to make that big commitment up front.
Also, sometimes an organisation may just need a case study written but is not yet at the point in its growth to benefit from the services of a PR agency. These services bridge that gap too.
You've put your prices online?????????
Most agencies don't publish their prices online. We're also trying this out to see how clients react to a healthy dose of transparency.
Are we mad? Time will tell.
We are very proud to have written the winning award entry for our client Software Optimisation Services (SOS). But what makes it a winner?
While I am sure you would like to read the winning award entry itself, unfortunately due to customer confidentiality we are unable to do so. The nature of the projects that SOS undertakes means that most customers are unable to publicise the details of the work carried out. So while Microsoft’s judging panel were able to read all the juicy details, unfortunately the wider public cannot.
So with that little caveat out of the way, here’s why we think this particular award entry brought home the GOLD for SOS in the SAM Partner of the Year category at this year’s Worldwide Partner Conference.
1.Write a story, not an essay
As with any good piece of writing, at the crux of it should be a compelling story. Don’t just put facts on the page. Give it some drama and a natural flow from start to finish. The standard case study format – problem, solution, benefits – can work here to create some drama and to get the brain thinking, but don’t just write a case study. Mix it up a little. Keep in interesting.
2.Keep it fun and original
Good writing is fun and enjoyable to read. Remember this when writing the award. Remember the judging panel will be reading a lot of these so make sure yours stands out. If it’s just another dry case study you’ll soon be forgotton.
3.Develop a theme
Staying with the fun and original requirement, embedding a theme throughout the award can really make it stand out. SOS likes to be positioned as the SWAT team of Software Asset Management, they’re the elites you bring in to solve exceptional challenges. It’s a great theme which lends itself really well to creating drama and intrigue in the case study. We worked the SWAT theme throughout the award entry, peppering it with military terms like Mission Objectives, Into the Fray, Mission Creep etc. and closing it all out with this killer quote from the client:
“SOS are not just compliance experts, they’re a highly specialised unit designed to deliver results in exceptional situations. They’re the compliance SWAT team.”
4.Use facts and figures
Making it fun is all well and good, but without facts and figures to back it up your award entry will just be fluff. Spartan PR doesn’t do fluff. In this case we were able to quote many facts to back up the claims, such as the total financial savings achieved by the project, the number of users found to be out of compliance, number of databases outside of support etc. It was packed with data.
You can’t submit an award entry without including quotes from the customer(s). If you don’t have any quotes you need to get them. Quotes bring colour to the award and lend additional credibility. They prove the client agrees with your view of events and shows you’re not just embellishing the story for your own benefit. Quotes are a must.
So there’s our top 5 tips for writing an award entry. There are many other important factors – least of all having a good project to write about in the first place – but these are the ones that stood out most to me when looking back. But what do you think? What would you add?