Showcasing the best of our profession: The 2012 Gold Quill Awards are now open for submissions!

Just as Hollywood is priming itself for the upcoming awards season, communicators the world over are turning their attention to showcasing the best of their work from 2011. That’s right, IABC’s Gold Quill Awards are open for submissions. With this in mind, we thought we’d provide some further information on Gold Quill, as well as our very own regional award, the EMErald.

What is Gold Quill?

In short, it’s IABC’s annual awards of excellence for professional communication.

What’s involved?

Essentially, communicators submit their best work from the previous year into one of 27 categories (from writing to social media, from internal comms to strategic comms planning). They create a work plan that details the goal, objectives, tactics and evaluation for the project and then illustrate what they did by including a work sample. The idea is to show how using strategic communication made the difference for a particular organization in the context of the project. The Gold Quill section on iabc.com/gq has great information about the submission requirements (ignore the outdated content).

Then your entry is evaluated by a first panel of judges. In the EME region, it’s a panel of senior communicators (ABCs, previous Gold Quill winners, etc.), who evaluate all entries against IABC’s standard evaluation grid. The rating scale is 1-7 and those with an average score of 5.25 and above go forward for final judging at what’s called the Blue Ribbon panel. This is an international panel of distinguished judges, who then take a second look to determine the overall Gold Quill winners.

At both review stages, entrants are provided with feedback on why their entry received its score. There is an emphasis on learning and improvement in the feedback provided.

So, what’s the EMErald Award bit about?

The EMEralds are the regional awards within Gold Quill. Entrants from the EME region are automatically considered for the regional distinction by virtue of entering Gold Quill. Essentially, anyone who scores 5.0 to 5.24 at the first round of judging receives a regional Award of Merit; all those who go forward to Blue Ribbon panel at the international level (5.25 and above) win an EMErald.

The reason we do this is so that the best work from the region is recognized no matter what the outcome at the international level. It gives entrants added standing in their home region and is a way for us to raise the profile of communication best practice in EME. So, you really don’t have to do anything extra to enter EMErald. Your Gold Quill entry fee goes even further in EME!

Is it worth it?

There are anecdotes galore about how winning a Gold Quill Award has changed people’s careers. For sure, preparing an entry is a lot of work and requires considerable time and effort. But the value of getting professional feedback on your work, using the framework for strategic communications planning to improve your performance and, if your project makes the grade, getting official recognition from an international organization is not to be underestimated.

If you do make it all the way at the international level, you are featured in CW magazine, get recognition at World Conference and get to use the Gold Quill winner logo. There’s also a trophy that can take pride of place in your office. Winning at the regional level also comes with an array of benefits.
And even if you don’t win, you’ll receive feedback as to why your entry didn’t make it, and suggestions for how to improve it. After all, it’s a learning experience.

To sum it up?

We strongly believe that the Gold Quill framework can strengthen your approach to professional practice. It fosters better communications planning and demonstrates the strategic value of communications in your organization. Going through the Gold Quill process is an opportunity for professional growth and raises your profile at the regional and international level.

We hope that you go for it! Please keep your eye on the Gold Quill website for this year’s calendar and submission information.