So, you got selected as a finalist in your chosen awards category?

Well done. It’s popped corks and hearty slaps on the back for you.

But before you lose the day to morning champers, we have to let you know that now is not the time to sit back and bask in the glow of potential future success.

Even before you’ve had a chance to squeeze into that dinner jacket or dress for your annual black-tie roll out, there’s work to do.

Don’t make the mistake many businesses and brands make of waiting to see whether they’ve won until they start talking about the awards.

You can leverage your nomination to get valuable publicity and attention before the winner is even announced.

In many ways, a finalist nomination is almost as good as a win (we said ‘almost’…) as it has value before and after the ceremony.

But here’s the thing… you have to hurry. You’ve only a short window during which to take advantage of this opportunity.

Once the award ceremony arrives, you’re either celebrating a win (hopefully) or you’re commiserating your loss (hopefully not) slumped over, crying in the corner with only a limp party popper and a half-empty, semi-warm bottle of Prosecco to keep you company.

So, what’s the right approach?

Read on to find out how you can use your award finalist nomination to build momentum in the lead-up to the big event and beyond.

Even before the awards ceremony takes place, there is an opportunity to capitalise on your nomination and generate some valuable pre-award publicity.

By taking moment to figure out a communications strategy that puts your finalist status front and centre, you can get the attention of potential customers, partners, press, and even influencers in the lead-up to the big announcement.

Here are some of the best tactics to help you make the most of your award finalist nomination and gain maximum exposure before the big night.

1. Start by creating an official press release announcing your nomination as a finalist for the awards.

Distribute the press release across all relevant channels including social media and to any press contacts in traditional media, such as print, radio and TV.

(It’s never been easier to find the right press contacts and they’re always looking for stories and content).

Make sure you include everything you need to make the journalist’s life easier when it comes to publishing, including relevant assets such as high-quality images and a well-written press release.

2. Reach out to potential customers, partners, and influencers in your industry and let them know about your finalist status.

It’s crazy how many people forget to communicate success to existing clients and customers. People like working with successful people and an awards nomination is further validation for their choice of you as something they want to work with.

Make sure to explain why you believe you’ve been selected as finalist and include your story, the story of your business or brand and encourage them to find out more.

3. Leverage networking opportunities or other events that may be related to the awards ceremony.

Often awards organisations put on meet-and-greet events for those companies who make the finals. Use this as an opportunity to meet potential future partners and grow your network.

This is a great way to get your message out and build buzz about the upcoming event. In other words, get a ton of photos from this event.

4. Build anticipation and excitement by running a countdown to the event so your audiences and followers know exactly what’s happening and when.

Social media is perfect for building anticipation and people love following a narrative. Play up to this and use graphics, copy and video to tell the story of your journey to the awards.

Even if you don’t win the main gong (but of course you will!), you will build a strong association between awards success and you and your brand.

5. Use this as an opportunity to thank your clients and customers and tell their stories.

Depending on what you’ve been nominated for, publish and promote relevant content to support the reason for your nomination.

For example, if you are up for a customer service award, select a handful of strong case study videos to publish ahead of the awards, referring back to your nomination.

Or if you are going for an Entrepreneur of the Year award, tell the story of how you got to where you are and the milestones in between. People love seeing the journey.

6. In anticipation of your glorious victory, ensure you capture the moments leading up to the ceremony.

Think of it like a wedding photographer. They capture everything from the day from start to finish.

When you finally raise the winning trophy above your head in absolute victory, you’ll have a record of the day that you can use to tell the story in the future.

And don’t shut up about it on your social media channels in the days leading up to the event.

The great thing about a finalist nomination is that even if you don’t bag the main prize, you can continue to use the finalist position as a credibility builder with your target audience.

Take an hour or so to figure out a pre-awards strategy, plug some of the above ideas into it and really use your finalist nomination to generate valuable pre-award publicity and attention.

Don’t hang around. The window of opportunity is short – so go ahead and get started.

Oh, and good luck.

Want to discover more about how to enter awards for your business? Read more about our awards writing service here.