I remember wondering about submitting my first Gold Quill application. I was late to the game, the deadline looming, and not sure if what I did was worth it. Well, as someone who bit the bullet and put the effort into submitting, I have some advice for you (take it or leave it). Do it. Do your research. Do it now!
I’d say, just do it, but worry that might be trademarked. But seriously, there are so many benefits to simply going through the process of applying. Sure, winning feels great, but you’ll get a refresher into strategic planning. Going through the application process got me thinking about all my strategic plans as a Gold Quill application, which upped my quality and the value I provided my clients. You’ll refocus on your business needs, audience, and measureable outcome objectives – that you actually measure.
Do your research
Having a high quality project that achieved some amazing results isn’t enough. Each section of a Gold Quill application is marked on specific criteria and you’ll need to make sure you are writing to your audience, the judges. IABC provides a number of great resources here that walk you through each section and how they’re marked. Make sure you use those resources and prepare your application with the criteria in mind.
Do it now
If your job is anything like mine, there won’t be more time in a few weeks. Start the process now! It will take a lot longer than you might expect. Don’t be surprised if between the researching, writing, and editing the application you spend 40 hours on it. You’ll also want to build in some time for a peer (maybe someone who has won a Gold Quill before) to edit it.
Yes, it definitely takes some effort, but win or lose, you’ll get a lot of benefit by going through the process.
Gold Quill entries are due January 11, 2017. Find out more at gq.iabc.com
Calvin Seaman is the Director of Student Development for IABC/Calgary. He won a Gold Quill Excellence Award in 2014 in the Internal Communication category.