Blog Awards: You Won’t Get My Vote

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There are things in life you notice with constant surprise, that you don’t understand all the fuss about. To me all competitions and awards in the realm of marketing, advertising and PR are such things.

Doesn’t people see that the emperor has nothing on…?

It is Insideblogging’s 2005 Business Blogging Awards that got me thinking about this. Again, I might add. I’ve never liked awards in communications – they’re meaningless at best, counterproductive at worst.

I think Bruce Mau Design Inc’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth sums it up pretty well: “Don’t enter awards competitions. Just don’t. It’s not good for you.”

Award contests are meaningless for several reasons. One is that there often are too many, as with blogs right now. But for me it wouldn’t help if there was only one. And that’s because I’ve never seen an award that actually measures the thing that counts: Results.

If we’re talking about business communications, as I am, all efforts are designed to fulfil a purpose. With a blog it can be to make a certain brand more known. It can also be to establish the CEO as a industry expert in the eyes of maybe 100 key clients. Or it can be to get some input in the product development process. These can’t be compared – even if we theoretically could measure each one of them, it’s impossible to compare the results. But in an award contest they all could fit a “Best Tech Blog” category.

So who will win then? Well, generally in competitions like this we see the power of …

  1. The lowest common denominator (a contestant that irritates as few as possible, which makes them an easy choice).
  2. The establishment (long publishing history equals many readers equals many votes, even if size of readership doesn’t necessarily relate to results at all).

This is where communication competitions becomes potentially counterproductive. If the awards are seen as important the winners will influence others. People will be inspired by – or even try to imitate – them. But what are they inspired by in that case? Not results, anyway.

Now, what I have said is only relevant if we take competitions/awards seriously. If we don’t, there’s no problem. And I can surely relate to why many people think it would be funny to be awarded. If you’re one of them – good luck!

Fredrik Wacka is the author and founder of the popular CorporateBlogging.Info blog which is a guide to business and corporate blogging.

Visit Fredrik Wacka’s blog: CorporateBlogging.Info.

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