How to Enter the 2020 Spotlights: Entry Details, Guidelines and Cost

The time to celebrate your stellar work is here! PRSA Oregon wants to cheer the best campaigns and tactics our local firms, companies, organizations and professionals innovate, produce and measure. It’s your time to shine. Show off for your boss, give your clients a little extra love, demonstrate how you moved the meter and/or made change for good.

The PRSA Oregon Spotlight Awards recognize campaigns and tactics that exemplify excellence and leadership in public relations, digital media and integrated communications. We’ll get to celebrate YOU at the 2020 Spotlight Awards Virtual Event on Thursday, Dec. 3.

Awards of Distinction

We’ll also celebrate the leaders among us who are worthy of individual awards, called our Awards of Distinction.

The four special awards recognize PRSA members or a non-member for the William M. Marsh Lifetime Achievement Award, Olga M. Haley Mentorship Award, Ron Schmidt Community Involvement Award and New Professional Award of Excellence. There are no fees to nominate in the individual categories. Nominations for the Awards of Distinction are a separate process; click on the links above or here to learn more:

Spotlights Eligibility

You do not need to be member of PRSA Oregon to enter. You can enter a campaign or tactic (or multiples of each). The majority of the campaign or tactical work in your entry must have been executed and measured between August 2019 – August 2020.

How to Enter

All entries, supporting details and payment of fees will be done at our official Spotlight Awards Submission Portal. Entrants will need to create an account prior to the first purchase.

Basic entry information

You must select the category for your entry. In deciding which category is most appropriate, look at your program objectives and target audiences.

Each entry should include the title of the entry, name of organization/client, name of agency (if applicable) and a 100 word description of the campaign/tactic. (Please note: we’ll use this information at the awards ceremony.)

Summary and supporting documents

Tactic entries

Must include a one-page (11 point font or larger) summary PDF. The summary should include measurable objectives, target audiences, budget and any other specific information requested in the individual category. Results, qualitative and/or quantitative should provide evidence of how the stated measurable objectives were met, and how the entry impacted the success of the broader program. Judges evaluate the tactic on four key areas –

• Planning/content
• Creativity/quality
• Technical excellence

• Results.

For tactic entries, upload the supporting documents (as requested in each individual category). Please limit your total number of supporting pages up to 10 or less. For example, you can submit five supporting documents but the total number of pages for all of the documents can be no more than 10 pages total.

Upload an image representative of your program, such as a fun picture of you and your team. We will use this in the awards presentation and program. The image should be high-resolution and at least 1,000 pixels wide or high.

Campaign entries

Must include a two-page (11 point font or larger) summary PDF. Your entry should begin with a brief situational analysis for your program. In addition, each of the four criteria — research, planning, implementation and evaluation — must be addressed.

Supporting documents and images

Upload an image representative of your program. We will use this in the awards presentation and program. The image should be high-resolution and at least 1,000 pixels wide or high.

For campaign entries, upload up to 5 supporting documents referenced in the research, planning, implementation and evaluation sections of your two-page summary. The total number of pages in all of your combined documents must not exceed 10 pages.

Use the following questions to help you prepare a strong entry:


  • What type of research did you use (primary, secondary or both) to arrive at your insights/analysis?
  • How was the research relevant to shaping the planning process?


  • How were target audiences identified?
  • What was the plan, in general terms?
  • What were the specific, measurable objectives of the plan?
  • How was the budget developed and spent?


  • How was the plan executed, and what was the outcome?
  • How did the activities flow in general terms?
  • What were the key tactics?
  • Were there any difficulties encountered? If so, how were they handled?
  • Were other organizations involved?
  • Were nontraditional public relations tactics used, such as advertising?


  • What methods of evaluations were used?
  • What were your results?
  • How did the results compare to the specific, measurable objectives you identified in the planning section?

PRSA Code of Ethics compliance

By entering the PRSA Oregon Spotlights Awards, you confirm that your program and entry complies with the ethical standards of the profession, as embodied in the PRSA Code of Ethics. If at any point PRSA Oregon becomes aware of any aspect of a submission that may not be in compliance with the code, it may, at its sole discretion, take appropriate action.

Entry fees and deadlines

The call for entries opens Sept. 7, 2020 and closes Oct. 18, 2020 at Noon.

PRSA Oregon members: $60 per entry

Non-member: $75 per entry

Students: $10 per entry (must have been enrolled in a community college or university at the time the work was done)

Pro-bono: $0 per entry if the tactic or campaign was developed and executed for no professional fees, reimbursement or remuneration.

2020 Spotlight Award Categories


Includes programs that seek to win the support or cooperation of — or that aimed to improve relations with — people or organizations in communities in which the sponsoring organization has an interest, need or opportunity. “Community” in this category refers to a specific geographic location or locations.

Programs designed to enhance, promote or improve the reputation of an organization with its publics or key elements of its publics, either proactively or in response to an issue, event or market occurrence.

Events may be commemorations, observances, openings, celebrations or other special activities. You must have played a major role in organizing or publicizing the event or observance you’re entering in the awards. For instance, creating or publicizing a booth at a trade show held by another organization would not qualify you for an award.

Includes programs that advance public understanding of societal issues, problems or concerns.
(Similar programs conducted principally to enhance an organization’s standing, or to otherwise serve its interests directly, will fall in Reputation/Brand Management.)

Includes programs specifically designed to influence public policy and/or affect legislation, regulations, political activities or candidacies — at the local, state or federal government levels — so that the entity funding the program benefits.

Includes programs designed to introduce new products or services, or promote existing products or services to a consumer audience (product launches).

Includes programs designed to introduce new products, or promote existing products or services to a business or commercial audience (product launches).

Includes programs undertaken to deal with an unplanned event or occurrence, requiring immediate response.

Includes programs targeted specifically to special publics directly allied with an organization (e.g. employees, members, affiliated dealers or franchisees).

Includes programs directed toward shareowners, other investors and the investment community.

Includes any type of program (e.g., institutional, marketing, community relations) specifically targeted to a cultural group and/or campaigns that used specific tactics comprising diversity, equity and inclusion goals.

Campaigns that demonstrate leadership of public relations strategies and tactics executed in an online or digital format.

Includes any program that demonstrates leadership of public relations strategies and tactics in a creative and effective campaign that doesn’t fit into any other category. The program must demonstrate clear leadership of public relations.


**Entries within these categories must be written in their entirety or substantively by the entrant and not merely “pitched.”

Tactics, programs and events driven entirely by media/blogger relations for a product, service, organization or government agency. Submit press releases, media advisories, pitch letters, requests for coverage, etc., along with the one-page summary that includes measurable objectives, results and resulting media coverage.


Feature articles that have been written by a practitioner, and submitted and published through his or her efforts. Submit text of feature article as well as documentation of publication and placement. The one-page summary should include target audience, measurable objectives and any documented results.

Opinion articles written as an editorial, guest column or letter-to-the-editor. Submit text of article and documentation of publication. The one-page summary should outline measurable objectives, audience, results and budget.


Media files distributed over the Internet using streaming media technology. May be live or recorded. What was the purpose of the podcast? Who was the intended audience? Submit the one-page summary and an audio or video file or URL.

Use of a website as part of a public relations program. Include screen grabs or copies of key pages to support your one-page summary. In addition, include the website URL for external sites.

Unconventional, creative tactic or approach used as part of a public relations program. Documentation of how the tactic specifically contributed to the measurable results of the campaign should be included in the one-page summary. Visual evidence is requested such as photography or video.

Press release to announce news to target traditional or new media about a product, service, issue, event or organization. Include objective, target audience and results in one-page summary.

T-8. PSA
Video productions of one minute or less distributed free to television stations, or audio productions of one minute or less distributed free to radio stations, or ads distributed to newspapers and/or magazines as non-paid Public Service Announcements. Single productions or a series addressing the same issue may be submitted. The one-page summary should include documentation of results. Scripts and actual video or audio can be included or a URL can be cited. Summary must include objective, target audience and evidence of placement.

Video programs targeted toward internal audiences such as employees, members, etc. or targeted toward external audiences. Entrants should submit programs in a digital format as a reasonable representation or in a URL. The one-page summary should include usage statistics or other means of quantified measurement to support stated objectives.

Did you take social storytelling to another level? How did you use YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, etc. to tell your organization’s story. Include screen grabs or links to your story. Summary should include objectives, target audience and results.

Use of mobile applications as part of a public relations program. Include copy and any images of key pages to support your one-page summary. In addition, include brief instructions on how to download the application.

Creative tactics used to create buzz within a target audience. Tactics that get key audiences talking or provide an avenue for conversation through use of different techniques, such as viral marketing, sampling programs, loyalty programs, etc.

Publications designed, written and published periodically to provide brief and timely information to target audiences while supporting an organization’s overall objectives. Submit three consecutive issues along with the one-page summary. For online or electronic versions, submit in a digital format or include the URLs.

Magazine, brochure or single-issue publication designed for a special purpose, to provide in-depth information about an organization or topic on a regular basis, or to inform a target audience about an organization, product, service or issue. Submit one copy electronically of the publication along with the summary.

How did it uncover hidden patterns, correlations or other insights to help make quicker and more efficient business decisions to gain a competitive edge?


PRSA Oregon has arranged for its Spotlight entries to be judged by a chapter of similar size, elsewhere in the U.S. PRSA Oregon prefers judges to be nationally accredited in public relations and asks the judging chapter to ensure as each entry will have multiple judges.

Your entry will not be judged against other entries, rather it will be considered against objective measurement in the below-mentioned elements. Entries scoring between 53-60 points will earn a Spotlight award; those scoring between 45-52 points may be awarded a Merit award.

Judges will review your summary document(s) and supporting documents. Well-written, brief materials are preferred.


Judges evaluate the tactic on four key areas, each area is worth 15 points –

  • Planning/content
  • Creativity/quality
  • Technical excellence
  • Results


Judges evaluate the four criteria in your summary and supporting documents. Each criteria is worth 15 points –


  • The type of research used and whether it was relevant to shaping the planning process


  • Was the target audience identified?
  • Did the plan include measurable objectives (SMART)?
  • Was the budget detailed and appropriate for the campaign?


  • Was the plan executed well, and what was the outcome?
  • Were the appropriate strategies and tactics used?
  • Were there any innovative strategies and tactics used?


  • Were the methods of evaluation appropriate for the campaign? Impressions are not considered a relevant measure of success.
  • What were the results?
  • How did the results compare to the specific, measurable objectives you identified in the planning section?

Entry Checklist

  1. Gather all of your materials. Make sure they are brief, clear, and free of errors.
  2. Review the entry instructions and decide what category you’d like to enter. Submit a separate entry for each campaign or tactic.
  1. Review the entry and judging criteria for the category you are interested in. Make sure your summary and supporting documents address all of the criteria. Make sure your summary and supporting documents use a font size of 11 points or larger.
  2. Login to the entry submission portal and create an account.
  3. Answer all of the questions.
  4. Upload your entry summary and supporting documents.
  5. Review your entry and make any needed edits.
  6. Pay the fee.
  7. You can print a copy for your records.
  8. Good luck.