Congratulations - you've won an award for Best Food, Best Cafe, Best Chef, Best Smiles or Best Service!
Don't waste the opportunity - a smart manager has promotional material ready before the announcement, even if you don't know the result. This makes it easy to meet media deadlines and catch the fleeting interest of the public.
How to get the most mileage from your award:
Prepare a Media Release: for the local paper, radio or TV station - they want 'local hero' stories. Supply some quotes, and let them know photos are available and who they can interview - one page is plenty. Listen to a PR expert describe how to maximise local coverage.
Use Great Photos: you always need high-quality photos of the club, the happy staff, the chef, the manager and location. If your award is for food, make sure you have pictures of staff cooking or preparing in the kitchen. Ideally, the photos will include a wide range of key staff, so there's a connection with all the people who make it happen. Try to avoid old-fashioned 'line up' shots, like a school photo - have a group of staff laughing together in a casual situation - it's more engaging. Obtain a signed Media Release Form from everyone, so you can keep using the picture even if they leave. A supply of good photos can turn a single column story into a page.
Use your Website and Social Media: update the front page of your website with details of the Award. Organisers usually supply a copy of the award logo to make it look official. Add a series of photos over the week onto Facebook, Instagram and your other social channels and remind everyone of the club's #hashtag. Maybe even a celebratory text message invitation to join us for a drink?
Spread the Word: write a short article on your blog or the news page of your website. Share the love and the stories - it's not just one chef or manager who created this, but whole team of people from the cleaners to the bar staff. Talk about the effort that was involved in achieving the award - if there were challenges that had to be overcome, this adds interest.
Get staff and customers talking about it with a sign on the wall, a news flash on the menu and a badge for service staff to wear. Plus a big message on the front window.
Tell your Suppliers: they like to be associated with success and usually want to spread the word. Sometimes they want to include you in promotions they're doing, to claim some reflected glory.
Prepare for staff celebrations. This can be a Really.Big.Deal for staff if you share the honour with them - a great boost for morale and the club's culture. Make use of this free bonus!
Winning an award is always great news, but the impact won't last long if you don't promote it strongly. Some awards are keenly fought over, and others seem to happen because you were in the right place at the right time. Whatever the reason, they create a buzz for staff, customers and proud owners - be prepared to work them as hard as you can!