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Don’t Expect Much Out of Pitching Utility Awards and Honors

image credit: Photo 122560743 © Siarhei Dzmitryienka |

Andy Gotlieb's picture
Managing Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner Freelancer

I hold 32 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too. The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various...

  • Member since 2016
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It’s always nice when your utility or an employee (or group of employees) is honored for something,

Praise is hard to come by, so enjoy the good news when you can.

Just don’t expect the media to care. So unless the award is something huge, the chances you get meaningful coverage are slim.


It turns out there are literally thousands of awards and honors put out every year, so the value gets diluted. This is especially true when it comes to the mainstream media, although industry publications may be more receptive.

The media is interested in news that it is going to interest a wide swath of its readership/viewership/listenership. So when the local Elks lodge names your CEO its person of the year, the average person isn’t going to care, not matter how excited the executive is.

Feel free to publicize it via social media, your website and in corporate and community publications, but nothing beyond that.

In addition, note that many honors and awards are of dubious value and are really only designed to sell advertising or serve as click bait.

Things like “40 Under 40” and top workplace competitions are literally picked at random. I know: I used to be in charge of “40 Under 40” at a business journal. We had to have a mix of men and women, multiple professions and minorities, but that was about it.

There’s also a “pay for play” factor with many of these awards. If you advertise with the outlet, you’re more likely to get selected.

Oh, and this is more important than you might think: Never pitch an award presented by one media outlet to other media outlets. There’s no better way to annoy journalists who aren’t going to promote their competition. If Coca-Cola got an award, would Pepsi talk it up, or vice versa? Same principle applies here.

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Thank Andy for the Post!
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