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How to Win a Silver Anvil: Tips for Assembling Entries That Win

FleishmanHillard's Mike Slatin and Logan Kearins discuss tips on how to craft an award-winning entry at the PRSA Midwest District Conference.

FleishmanHillard's Mike Slatin and Logan Kearins discuss tips on how to craft an award-winning entry at the PRSA Midwest District Conference.

For those of us who work at agencies, we often submit award entries for campaigns and programs on behalf of our clients. I know what many of you are thinking, “Ugh, award entries!” But for our clients and for us, they mean a lot. To receive an honor like a Silver Anvil is something many of us strive to achieve.

At the PRSA Midwest District Conference in June, Mike Slatin and Logan Kearins of FleishmanHillard’s St. Louis headquarters discussed tips on how to craft an award-winning entry. They used their “Best of Silver Anvil” AT&T It Can Wait entry from 2014 as the basis of their presentation.

First, for an entry to truly capture the judges’ eyes, you must deliver three things:

  1. Kick-butt results: By this, we don’t mean the number of media impressions your campaign secured. Instead, we’re talking about results that show impactful change.

  2. “You gotta be kidding me” moment: You need that point of inflection, moment of tension or counterintuitive nugget that will raise the eyebrows of the judges.

  3. Sexy research: You can have three types of research. 1) Research that identifies the issue/problem; 2) Research that informs your planning and strategy; and 3) Research that shows your results.

The most important component of the entry is the two-page summary of the program. The two-pager is the meat of your entry. It’s what the judges use to determine whether your program makes it to the next round. It needs to read like a compelling short story and it must start with a gripping opening. Below are some quick pointers to guide you when writing each section of the two-pager.

  1. Research. As outlined above, research is key. Research that defines the issue and strategy, but also shows powerful results, is unstoppable.

  1. Planning/Strategy. Make sure to include measurable objectives. Measurable objectives are specific statements expressing the expected results of the campaign. Other key components include the target audiences and budget. As for the budget, many clients may be cautious about including a number. It is crucial to say something about the budget even if you can’t communicate the exact dollar figure.

  1. Execution. This section is your time to shine. Show off to the judges all those grueling but creative tactics. Bullet-point out the tactics and organize them so it is easy for a judge to read through. Stop short of talking about the results because you’re about to do that in the next section!

  1. Evaluation/Results. Remember those measurable objectives? All results listed must align to your goals. Like above, remember to include powerful results. Media impressions are nice but those alone won’t impress the judges.

While the two-pager is by far the most important document in the awards entry process, don’t forget to submit your supporting materials. If it comes down to a tie between two submissions, the judges will pay close attention to the supporting materials.

Now it’s time to put these tips to use as the award season is about to commence!  Visit and use your MyPRSA login to view AT&T’s award-winning entry.

This post is courtesy of Logan Kearins who is an Account Supervisor at FleishmanHillard. Logan earned her Bachelor of Arts, Strategic Communications degree at Miami University. 

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