Work on the PublicityShip Hidden Jewel Awards is seriously happening.
We are in the middle of judging the entries and will be choosing the national winner this week. The state winners will be finalised next week, with all the results to be announced on 16 February.
Weâ€™ve been really thrilled with the standard of entries, particularly from South Australia and Tasmania, and the large number of quality Aboriginal enterprises right across the country.
Iâ€™m really enjoying the whole judging process, although itâ€™s harder than youâ€™d think. The awards arenâ€™t just about whatâ€™s new and different. Weâ€™re also looking for who would really benefit from publicity. Often this means having the potential for more than one story angle.
Iâ€™m not the only one finding it tough. Greg Barton, a fellow judge and editor of Australian Traveller magazine, sent me an email saying, â€œSome wonderful entries in here. Choosing only a few seems unfair!â€
But the struggle is an enjoyable one, and as Iâ€™ve been poring over the entries itâ€™s reminded me what gives one small business an edge over another, what makes one more newsworthy than another.
It is about having something that sets you apart, thatâ€™s original or that fills a gap in the market. And ideally, you need have a product or service that is constantly creating new stories for you.
This is how business blogs can also work really well. Each blog post can focus on a different point of interest that keeps more life into your business.
So ask yourself: What makes you special? What are the kinds of stories that would make someone want to do experience your product or service? What are the special changing sights, tastes, smells and feelings you offer your customer?
For many people in the travel industry it is their local region that will feed them new publicity angles: e.g. seasonal migrations for animals, the wildflower season, a glut at harvest time leading to more and new products, new itineraries going to rarely-visited spots, client stories of new experiences.
All of those who entered the PublicityShip Hidden Jewel Awards have potential to create publicity, so congratulations on getting your entries together â€“ and good luck!