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5 Tips for Making Mainstream Media Award Lists
How to land your company on big mainstream media award lists
Have you ever wondered how companies get on big mainstream media award lists like Entrepreneur Magazine or Forbes or “insert your dream outlet” accolade? Today I’m going to pull back the curtain on what it takes to actually get on these lists and share a few tips on what you can do to increase your chances of “winning”.
1. Download Editorial Calendars
All mainstream media outlets typically list key dates – such as submission openings, deadlines, and publishing dates – surrounding their award lists on their editorial calendars. To access an outlet’s editorial calendar, simply go to the outlet online, search for their editorial calendar (check the advertising department or footer) and “Save the Date”. Bear in mind that the same outlet will likely have two slightly different editorial calendars for print and digital publication.
Once you have their calendar, mark important dates on YOUR calendar. I advise keeping track of submission open date, submission deadline, announcement dates (if available) and publishing date.
2. You Must Apply
In order to “win”, you must first apply. That’s right, in order to be on one of these mainstream media award lists, you must yourself proactively apply. For example, Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000. Honorees must submit a thorough application to even be considered for the list. Be prepared that these applications can be lengthy and in order to qualify, you’ll likely have to part with some pretty sensitive information. For Inc. 5000, for example, you’ll have to provide verifiable financial information for your last three years in business.
3. Be prepared to pay, and budget accordingly.
Mainstream media award lists are a huge revenue stream for outlets. A large part of that revenue comes up top from application fees. So, be prepared to pay – with no guarantee of winning or placement – and budget accordingly. How much does it cost? It varies. Most outlets have an early bird discount that is some percentage off the regular application fee (another good date to mark on your calendar) but I’ve seen lists range anywhere from $99 – $1000+. Inc. 5000’s application fee, for example, is currently listed at $245. Do ALL lists require a fee? No – but most do, especially for big media. Smaller local publications – such as business journals – will often NOT require a fee, the industry is continuously changing however (quick reminder, media outlets are businesses too!)
4. Read eligibility requirements.
This one’s simple enough. Before submitting or paying for an application, make sure you’re technically eligible. For example, a mainstream media award list might only be accepting applications from businesses who have been established for more than 3 years; if you’re only in year 2, don’t apply.
5. Like Charman Ultra, Less is more.
Keeping it simple is a huge part of standing out in your application. Based on testimonials from mainstream media award list judges, being concise in your presentation is key. Make your answers concise, clear and easy to retain. They will be sifting through thousands of applications, so don’t make their life harder by being overly wordy or content heavy (unless prompted.)
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Making a mainstream media award list can be a significant credibility builder for your business. Therefore, if you qualify, go for it! If you’re feeling like the entire process is a bit shady after learning that you have to pay and apply, consider this – applicants still have to be thoroughly vetted. Thus, if you win placement on a big-time list, it’s for a good (and credible) reason!
Small outlet award lists are a whole other ball game – and can be a bit more “smoke and mirrors” – but I’ll save that for another article.
As always, if you would like help in your pursuit of being on these lists (or deciding if they are worthy or not for your time and capital) I invite you to book a discovery call with yours truly.