Winning awards for excellence is a valuable way to distinguish your company in a competitive marketplace. Here are five more tips to increase your chances of success in business award competitions along with some advice on how to use awards in your marketing strategy:

6. Strike while the iron is hot. If this is the year you blew past your goals and had phenomenal success with your business, launched a new product or spearheaded an initiative that’s truly unique, capitalize on the opportunity to gain recognition.

7. Get professional help. If you have a great copywriter on your staff, have that person write your entry. If not, hire a marketing consultant or professional writer who knows how to position your business and convey the key themes and messages that will make your entry stand out to the judges.

8. Publicize your honors. When you win awards, tell your staff and your entire marketplace about it. Feature your awards in a news release, in an email or e-newsletter to your customers, at your trade show booth, on sales materials, in advertising, in social media and on your website. If there’s an awards ceremony, ask a friend or staff member to take pictures and video. Post the video on YouTube, your website and your Facebook page. Post photos on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

9. Buy the ad. The media outlet that writes about the winners may offer you (and your accountant, lawyer, marketing agency, banker) the opportunity to buy an ad if you win. Your suppliers may or may not want to purchase a congratulatory ad, but you should buy one—not to congratulate yourself but to help readers learn more about your business while your visibility is at its highest. And if there’s an awards ceremony, buy a table and invite your top clients to attend.

10. Learn from losing. If you’re not a winner, study the winning entries to see what they had that you didn’t. Use the opportunity to prepare for the next competition. Most important, don’t give up. Some very competitive programs are so selective you’ll need to enter multiple times before you win.

Winning an award gives your company two powerful marketing advantages: visibility and credibility. If increasing visibility and differentiating your company from competitors are goals in your marketing plan, winning awards can be a relatively inexpensive way to achieve your objectives.

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Jean M. Gianfagna is a marketing strategy expert and the founder and president of Gianfagna Strategic Marketing which provides marketing strategy and creative services to leading business-to-business and consumer marketers. Read her blog for more marketing tips at http://www.gianfagnamarketing.com/blog.