Awards Recognizing Younger 'Stars' Can Bring Engagement and Revenue

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"With fellow leaders like you, I can't wait to see what we'll do tomorrow," Cynthia O'Dell, project services manager for Northstar Travel Media, told her fellow Emerging Leader Award winners and an admiring audience at last year's Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS) in Fort Lauderdale.

Friday, Sept. 23, is the deadline to nominate someone in your company who is 35 or under for SIIA's 2nd Emerging Leader Awards, to be given out at BIMS, Nov. 14-16. Click here to nominate. There is no cost.

All five of last year's winners were very impressive in accepting their awards, and you could feel a positive-about-our-future vibe in the crowd. SIIA was pleased with the buzz the awards created and the young people it brought to the forefront.

An awards program like this can be successful in many niches—and can also bring in revenue. Cynopsis Media, an Access Intelligence division, won a 2016 Best Marketing for a New Product SIPAward for their Rising Star Awards. Here are seven takeaways from their program:

1. Talent retention. "Cynopsis was looking for a way to nurture relationships with up-and-comers who are important to our content and ad businesses in a meaningful, personal and relevant way, as well as provide managers with a tool to help them motivate their teams, and recognize the talent they hope to retain," wrote Jenn Ocampo, senior marketing manager for Cynopsis Media.

2. Engagement with your audience. Cynopsis spread the word through targeted e-blasts, house ads in their daily, social media messaging and editorial. Marketing emails were sent to 75,000 recipients, received a 20% open rate and 300 clicks per message. The honorees announcement email received a particularly high level of engagement with over 1,300 clicks on the results button. (We all like to see who wins.)

3. The opportunity to put on a live event. The 2nd Annual Rising Star Awards takes place this Thursday at the New York Athletic Club. The website shows photos of all 66 of the 2016 Rising Stars. Companies are encouraged to buy tickets to attend and support their colleagues. Recalling last year, Ocampo said that "Instead of speeches, honorees were asked to share the best advice they'd ever gotten, and the answers were by turns poignant and funny."

4. New speakers and panelists. The awards event provided a terrific networking opportunity for attendees, who all expressed appreciation to Cynopsis for hosting the event. "In fact, the face time with our readers led to two honorees being panelists on subsequent webinars hosted by Cynopsis," Ocampo wrote.

5. New revenue. The cost for a company to submit an entry was $350. (This year it was $399). Tickets and sponsorships were also sold for the awards event. The 2015 results: 126 award entries generating $49,000 in revenue, and 129 event attendees, for $15,823 more in revenue. The program honored 59 of the best and brightest in the media industry whose experience spanned research, sports, digital, content, marketing and more.

6. Social media presence. An initial call-for-entries press release was sent directly to readers and distributed through PRWeb, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. This was important given the audience type. This in turn created a high level of social media engagement. There were no print promotions or mailings. The messaging focused on the benefits of being named a Cynopsis Rising Star and the chance to attend a networking event with the industry's top talent. 

7. Website presence. The release linked back to the awards page, which contained the full information on the entry requirements and the registration process. According to Google Analytics, over the 7-week promotional period, the webpage received 5,641 pageviews. "Overall, the [awards] was a success not only in terms of the amount of entries and attendees we generated, but the level of engagement and overwhelming appreciation we received from the industry," Ocampo wrote.

Again, click here to nominate someone from your company for SIIA's Emerging Leader Awards.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…