Shortlisted awards tips for accountants

How do I make the most of being shortlisted for an award?

Accountancy award shortlist

So you’ve done it! You’ve been shortlisted, and you have high hopes of actually winning the award.

Marketing-wise, what do you do? Sit around and wait to see if you’ve won, and then make a big splash?

Well you could do that. But being shortlisted has its own marketing opportunities, and it would be a shame to miss out on them.

Here are some things you can do to get a lot of mileage out of being shortlisted – whether you win or not.

1. Get the official ‘shortlisted’ icon or badge, and put it everywhere.

Here are just a few places to include the badge:

  • Website: On the home page, or in a banner that appears on every page, and/or the footer.
  • Email signatures: Not only your own, but every team member. This expands reach.
  • Cover images on social media: You can get these custom designed (see point 3) so that you have an image that is on-point in terms of your brand, and includes the badge also.
  • Within content: Have a PDF guide, or an ebook? Put the badge on the front page and the back page – or even (casually) every page, if you feel it’s relevant to the topic.
  • On video intros/outros: Many firms have an intro/outro file with your logo swooping in, some music, a few titles. You can add the badge to this.
  • Presentations: Have one of those flat screens in reception? Giving a presentation at an event (your own or someone else’s)? Include that badge everywhere.

2. Write a blog post about it (or a series of them).

Most accountants really struggle with the appearance of “boasting” that comes with winning an award, or being shortlisted. The way to avoid that is by simply talking about what it means for your clients, why you’re proud of it, key points from why you were shortlisted, what elements of your firm show why you were shortlisted.  Even talk about some of the other categories or others who were shortlisted too. That way it shows you’re not being competitive but collaborative.

Make sure your blog post is more about the topic and issues relevant to the award – for example, if you won an award about innovation and tech, write about the tech that you use and why it’s innovative, and how that helps the businesses you work with. Use it as a springboard to tell stories about your clients: they’re the true heroes.

3. Get custom graphic design done.

Custom graphic design reflective of your brand is more important than ever these days. Use something as simple as Canva, or sign up for a service like Design Pickle.

The images created can be used in the ‘everywhere’ of item 1 – your website, social, video, blog posts, etc.

4. Mention it on social media (regularly).

Social media is like whitewater rapids. People are so inundated with messages that they often miss the first, fourth, tenth, even twentieth mention. Don’t make it your only message: make sure you’re talking about things that matter to your audience and what they care about. Then sprinkle your shortlisted award in there – including the casual mention via the blog post or other content you’ve created.

Ideally you will use the custom imagery you’ve had designed in point 3 above.

Make sure to use the awards hashtag, tag the awards organisation, even tag other award winners too.

5. Explore the PR options.

If you have a PR expert, talk to them. Find out what they suggest and how they can make the most of this shortlisted award for you.

You can also look at DIY options. Here’s a great article from a PR expert I know. She and I both spoke at the CMA Content Marketing conference in Edinburgh this year.

Most smaller accountancy firms steer away from PR experts because they can be so expensive. If your marketing budget is small (or nil), spending a grand or two on PR related to an award you may or may not win can feel like a waste. This highlights the need for you to begin building relationships with great PR experts in advance: so you’re ready to call on them when the time is right and the budget is available. You don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute with an amazing opportunity and no PR firm who knows who you are and how it relates.

6. Find out if the awards organisation provides a marketing or promotional pack.

Many organisations who give out awards provide a pack for you including suggestions for how to make the most of your shortlisting and/or your final award, if you win.

This could include suggested imagery, hashtags, even scripted social posts or blog posts. Naturally you’ll want to customise everything for your brand and firm (generic doesn’t work), but it can save you a lot of hard work.

If they don’t have one, suggest it to them. It’s a big opportunity for both them and you!