To enter the 2017 Pinnacle Awards, the majority of the program or tools used must have been carried out between January 1, 2016, and July 31, 2017.
To put together the most effective entry, read this entire page and follow the guidelines. Remember, the judges are from out-of-state and need background information in order to effectively evaluate your entry.
Choose the most appropriate category. A complete program or campaign may be entered in any of the Public Relations Programs categories. Individual components may also be entered in the Tools and Techniques categories.
The judges will have the ability to reclassify an entry if they deem it appropriate. Pinnacle Awards Committee members will contact you before the awards ceremony to notify you of any category changes.
Prepare Your Entry the APR Way
The Pinnacle Awards uses the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) body of knowledge as a guide. Entrants are expected to be proficient with the Four Step Process (research, planning, implementation, evaluation).
Here are some downloads to help you prepare your entry:
- The Four Step Process
- Writing a PR Plan
- How to Write a Measurable Objective
- Sample Case Study
- APR Study Guide (full version)
The most important part of any entry is a two-page summary for Programs and the one-page summary for Tools and Techniques.
Each entry must have a summary and supporting materials.
Please prepare one document in PDF or Word format with no more than 25 pages of materials. Video and other large files should be placed on a service such as YouTube or DropBox. Link to large websites.
Public Relations Programs summaries (2 pages) must include a brief introduction to the project and each part of the Four Step Process:
Supporting materials should back up the statements in the summary and be arranged by the same steps. Use headers in your document.
Silver Anvil Search – PRSA members may log in to the national website and view actual summaries by category and year.
Tools and Techniques summaries (1 page) must include a brief introduction to the project and each of the following:
Supporting materials should back up the statements in the summary and be arranged by the same steps.
See Judging for more information and sample score sheets.
- Focus on the summary. Make it succinct and engaging. Due to the volume of entries and the limited time to review them, the average judge could take less than five minutes to spend going through your entry.
- Cover the criteria. Make sure all the elements are included. Did you talk about your quantitative/qualitative research from primary and/or secondary sources? Is your budget outlined? How about your timeline?
- Include at least one measurable objective. All objectives need to identify the target audience. Establish what you want them to do and how much of “it” you want them to do and by when.
- For example, a good objective for a public safety campaign would be: “To decrease deaths from the failure to use seat belts among teen drivers by 30 percent by the calendar year 20xx.”
- Include budget information. There is no such thing as “no budget.” What was the cost of producing the program or tool? Did you seek out partnerships to reduce costs? If the cost was minimal, explain why. Staff time and resources can be included. If you wish to keep costs confidential – be prepared that the judge may mark off points for no budget figures.
- Make the differences between your strategies and tactics clear. For example, educating industry association members about member benefits is a strategy while creating an e‐newsletter to share news and information is a tactic. Tactics support strategies that then, in turn, help your organization achieve its goals. Mixing these elements up will confuse your judges.
- Know the difference between goals, objectives, and tools/techniques (e.g., “Our goal is to educate the community. Our objective is to have 100 people attend a training seminar. Seminars are one of many tools and techniques we are using in this effort.”)
- Research and evaluation may not be formal, but don’t say things like:
- “Research was not needed.”
- “It’s hard to evaluate.”
- “It’s too early to evaluate.”
- Don’t worry about including every news clip. Just include the most important to telling your campaign’s story. If you have large or three‐dimensional elements to your campaign, take a picture.
- While you can submit a video, keep in mind that judges have limited time to watch them. They will trust your results summary as being accurate. The exception is if you’re preparing an entry specific to the medium (e.g., special television program, a website, etc.). If your entry has a number of web-based elements, it’s a good idea to include screen shots.
- Advertising material will be accepted if you can demonstrate the advertising supplemented the public relations program and the advertising costs accounted for no more than one-third of the total budget.
- Proceed no differently than you would for a client proposal: edit and proofread several times. Great entries crash from the top of the heap to the bottom when preparers fail to proofread and/or adhere to AP style.
Tips for Individual Entries
Recognize a co-worker, peer, or employee by nominating a public relations professional for an individual award! Your nominee may be an independent practitioner or work for an agency, corporate organization, non-profit, or government/education institution.
For best results, follow these recommendations when preparing your one- to two-page entry:
- Individual entries are prepared by a nominator; self-nominations are not permitted
- Include a summary of the nominee’s work history in the entry (do not attach a resume – any entry with more than two pages will automatically be eliminated)
- Review PRSA’s Code of Ethics and incorporate characteristics your nominee holds into your entry
- Review the entry with your nominee for accuracy and completeness