This weekend kicked off Awards Season across the country and by doing so created multiple PR and marketing opportunities for small business owners. Is your business ready to step into the spotlight inspired by this theme?
What is “Awards Season”?
Before we begin, and just so we’re all on the same page, Awards Season is that special time of year when families and friends gather around the warm glow of their television – or computer, after all it is 2018 – to watch a stream of awards shows, beginning with the Golden Globes tonight.
The weekend’s awards will be followed by the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Awards, Grammy Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards, and the Academy Awards. So you see, it’s Awards Season, friends, and even though you may have zero official connection to Hollywood in your business, you have a 100% chance of building buzz and visibility for your business in the media or on social media, if you get strategic.
Another reason you’ll want to dive into these ideas?
Do a quick scan of media outlets, from television to newspaper to online. Nearly ALL of them are talking about whatever awards show is about to air or has just aired. It will be like this for the next couple months, and neglecting covering it in your own business is neglecting potential public relations, social media, and marketing opportunities!
If you want eyeballs and potential customers gathering on your website and social feeds the way that celebrities flock to the red carpets this season, I encourage you to try out one of the strategies below in your early first quarter PR and marketing plans. It’s so important to keep your content, promotions and outreach seasonal and fun – for you and your audience – and these hit the mark. Try these and they will – and before you know it you may just find yourself pulling a Sally Field saying, “You like me, you really like me!” about current and potential customers! (Sorry, could not help myself with that one!)And the winner is: 5 Ways ANY BIZ Can Get Awards Season Buzz Click To Tweet
How to Build Buzz for Your Biz
During Awards Season
Reminder 1: As with all of these ideas, the key to making them work for your business is to pick strategies that will work best for your business, and then “make them your own” in terms of the voice, style, and offerings you include with it! Get creative, have fun, and go all in – a few behaviors that work in Hollywood and small business!
Reminder 2: These ideas can be used across the PR and marketing board – Try them with your PR, work them into your social media posts, or pull them into a blog post or newsletter. The choice is yours!
DELIVER A WINNER’S DEAL IN REAL-TIME
This is one of my favorite sales and promotions strategies during Awards Season because it’s super simple, creates excitement and anticipation, and can be adopted by any type of business – product, service, expert – you just need to have something to offer or sell to your customers.
Here’s how it works: Pick an award – this is often the most fun when it’s a highly buzzed about award – and create offerings based on the results of said award.
- For instance: If your favorite movie, The Shape of Water, wins best picture, you’ll offer customers/newsletter readers/social media followers 50% off XYZ for one day only. Or free shipping. Or buy one get one free. Or a free consultation with you. Or a free dessert with their dinner at your restaurant. You get it…
- Here’s another example: If Meryl Streep wins the award for best actress, you’ll give free shipping for the entire week on all purchases, and if Sally Hawkins wins best actress you’ll give a BOGO (buy one get one free) deal. If anyone else wins, you’ll give them another consolation prize. Again, the parameters and rules of this strategy are up to you.
In my opinion, the real key beyond what you’re offering via this strategy is that you’re creating buzz (on social, on your newsletter) and anticipation – you can even do it in real-time via live streaming social media video and tweets – counting down to who the actual winner is, and what that means for your followers.
Because not everyone will be glued to Awards Season like yours truly (I love a red carpet and an inspirational awards speech) you’ll want to pull everyone else into your promotion by alerting them to this opportunity via your newsletter, your social posts, and any other ways you communicate with them.
SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE OR PRODUCTS
WITH AN AWARD’S SPIN
One golden rule of public relations and buzz building success is to find ways to piggyback onto hot topics that the press are already spending time about by adding your own value and slant to the story that is on all of their minds. That is exactly what Awards Season allows oh-so-many business owners just like you do – if they’re able to see and run with the opportunity.
The key here is to ask yourself, “what can I contribute to the conversation and theme?” Can your expertise add new insight into the ongoing Awards Season conversation? Is your product something that can be used in some way related to Awards Season? If you need some examples to get your creative juices flowing, I’ve got you covered:
- Event and party planners can share tips on how to host your own Oscars/Golden Globes/Grammy viewing party.
- Products can be shared that allow you to mimic a red carpet.
- Wellness and health experts talk about getting a red carpet body.
- Business or Life Coaches can talk about the personal traits one needs to be a winner and success story – in Hollywood and real life.
- Get an Awards Show Look for Less – from jewelry to hair and makeup.
- Etiquette Experts can talk about how to lose and win graciously – something that even viewers at home can benefit from.
- Were Ear Cuffs all the rage on the red carpet? Do you sell ear cuffs? It’s time to talk and share – your products are having a moment!
Do you see where we are going here? Again, the basic concept is: If the conversation will be focused on the before, after, and during of countless awards shows until early March, and you can find a way into the conversation that adds value to it and is able to highlight your business in a way that aligns with your brand-building goals – by all means go after it! Go get that time in the spotlight, whether you do it by sharing your insight via a pitch, a blog post, or some timely social media content creation!
PIGGYBACK ON AN AWARD WINNING MOVIE OR SHOW
Though similar to the strategy above, this PR power player move asks you to use the themes, topics, and conversations born from nominated or big box office movies and television shows as a jumping off point for your media pitches, blog posts, or social media content creation. Doing this will allow you to “piggyback” onto these shows by – like we discussed above – adding your own spin/value/expertise to the conversation.
- Ladybird (which I cannot wait to see) is a topic of conversation not just in the news but in nearly every social circle I’m in – and the dialogue is sure to get louder. As the movie is about a 17-year-old girl coming of age, those who specialize in teenage development, or who create content focused on young women, therapists, family counselors, etc. – this is your time to shine!
- For instance, if Dunkirk is nominated and you have a historical or war-related expertise, you may use this time to write a blog post filled with new or not as well known information about World War II or combat in general. Perhaps you work with veterans from WWII and you can tie them into a news story.
- I, Tonya is also a big and buzzworthy this season, so if you work in any ice skating capacity – or perhaps were a competitive ice skater as a child and have stories about what this taught you/how it impacted you-you could find your way into the news cycle.
- Remember, these don’t always have to be serious. The Crown and Stranger Things have also been garnering critical and mass market acclaim, and can lend themselves to countless stories and PR “spins”. Fashion stylists can have a blast sharing Crown-inspired fashion or 80’s inspired looks (thanks to Stranger Things). Royal experts can dive into the truth behind the stories of Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Stealing from the strategy above, event and party planners can share advice on throwing a party inspired by The Crown or Stranger Things!
BRICK & MORTAR MUSTS:
AWARDS-INSPIRED IDEAS FOR LOCAL BUZZ
Do you have a brick-and-mortar space that your business can use to host an event and create local buzz? Don’t waste this opportunity! Here’s something I want you to sit with before diving into ideation: The key here – and in truth with all of these ideas – isn’t to focus on promoting your business (or expertise, or product). The key is to focus on the Awards Season slant, and the timely and on-topic value you’re adding to a conversation that is already going on.
This is especially true when you’re pitching the press about these topics, and is also a mindset you need to apply when creating your social or blog content. Focus on delivering value, and tying it authentically into the theme or topic you’re focusing on, and by doing that you’re automatically going to be showcasing your business’s value – without making an obvious commercial for it.
Need some ideas? Here you go:
- Offer in-store discounts to anyone who comes in during Awards Week in a movie/TV show inspired outfit.
- Create movie-themed products (The Crown cupcakes, Big Little Lie’s inspired martini’s, a dance class with a soundtrack to The Greatest Showman movie). Not only are these fun to promote in your store and on social media – but they’re also media magnets!
- Host an Awards Show viewing party at your brick and mortar store: String up a large screen (or DIY screen) for viewing, serve snacks (bonus points if they’re from local businesses), and offer discounts on products in the store for guests at the party.
- Let locals pick up their Awards Show voting ballots (with all of your branding on them and coupon codes on the back) at your office or store. Give exclusive discounts or promotions to those who fill out a ballot at your store and chose right!
CREATE OR TEMPORARILY RE-NAME PRODUCTS
INSPIRED BY THE AWARDS
Let’s expand on our Crown-inspired cupcakes from above and let other businesses (including online companies) join in. This strategy asks you to simply create an Awards Show twist on the products/services you already offer OR create new ones just in time for red carpet season. Your choice on which option to run with depends on the type of business you run.
For instance, the legendary Carlyle hotel in New York City once offered a menu of Oscar-inspired menu items including shows based on the movie Juno and cocktails inspired by No Country for Old Men. It was so successful that even the press themselves (while covering it) referred to it as “…a shameless (but successful, and we have to admit, brilliant) bid for free publicity.”
Can your company name a necklace for Queen Elizabeth of The Crown? Do you offer chocolates or candles that can be tied to another film or performer? Do you have a class that could be updated with a fresh twist by adding an Awards Show spin to it? Go for it! Don’t hesitate to try this strategy out. It’s low risk and highly entertaining and engaging – for your followers, customers – as well as you and your team! Just the kind of win-win that makes your publicity and marketing, well, award-worthy!
P.S. Want me to do even more story-idea-creating for your PR outreach and blog? Download my FREE 35 Steal-Worthy PR Story Angles E-Book!
OVER TO YOU…
Do you have any go-to strategies and tactics you use to tie your business into Hollywood awards shows? Share them with me and others in the comments below!