While it is appropriate to derive inspiration from the work of other professionals, plagiarism is unacceptable. Please only submit entries that are substantially original work from your organization. 

I. Publications (Print and Digital)

  • External Newsletter or Magazine — A regularly produced newsletter or magazine distributed to residents, businesses, or other groups of external customers (submit two different issues).
  • E-Newsletter — A regularly-produced electronic newsletter or magazine developed for digital distribution to external customers (submit three different issues).
  • Report — An official year-end summary for the governing body including, but not limited to, annual reports, water quality reports, and economic development reports.
  • Flyers, posters — A single sheet printed material.
  • Special Publication — A publication not fitting into other categories including, but not limited to, brochures, recreation catalogs, and guides.

II. Video

Please note:  A video should be entered in ONE category deemed as the best fit by the municipality using the descriptions below. The same video cannot be entered in multiple video categories, except Best Use of Humor.

  • Public Service Announcement (Educational) — A public service announcement of any length that is an original program and used to inform and/or educate viewers on a topic of public interest (Examples: budget, water conservation, flu shots).
  • Public Service Announcement (Marketing) — A public service announcement of any length that is an original program and used to market or promote an event or program (Examples: marketing campaign, beautification program, 4th of July Celebration).
  • Regular or Recurring Program — A locally produced program broadcast according to a repeating schedule.  To be considered for this category, a program must have at least four (4) episodes a year.  The entry should include two episodes.
  • Special or One-Time Program — A special or one-time and original program. (Examples: Veterans Day event, human interest story, storm recovery efforts).
  • Best Overall Use of Short-Form Video — Best use of short-form videos that are 60 seconds or less, published on an organization’s social media platform(s). To be considered for this category, the entry must include at least three (3) videos.
  • Best Use of Humor — Any video product that uses humor prominently to promote the message. (A video entered in this category also may be entered in one additional video category.)

III. Social Media

  • Best Social Media Post —A single social media post, which can include graphic, video and/or text, to communicate or engage with residents. (NOTE: A social media post entered in this category may not be included as part of a Best Social Media Campaign entry.)
  • Best Social Media Campaign (Unplanned)— The use of recognized social media platforms to communicate with or engage residents in an unplanned or emerging situation.
  • Best Social Media Campaign (Planned)— The overall strategic use of recognized social media platforms as part of a planned strategy to communicate with or engage residents, including the promotion of an event, initiative, awareness program or other strategic campaign.

IV. Websites

  • Overall City Website — The web-based program/product used by the governing body as the organization’s primary web presence.
  • Issue-Specific Website — The web-based program/product used by the governing body or a department/division for a special program or initiative, including special events, budget presentation, marketing initiatives, surveys, etc.

V. Marketing

  • Best Marketing Campaign — A coordinated campaign intended to promote a specific program, event, or other local government function.
  • Most Creative with Least Dollars — Programs and materials that generate the biggest impact with the fewest resources expended.
  • Best Use of Promotional Item — Best use of item for promotional purposes.

VI. Internal Communications

Any communication tool (printed, electronic, video, program, special event, etc.) that communicates within the organization.

VII. Special Events

  • Best One-Time Special Event — One-time event that accomplishes a set of goals established for that event.
  • Best Recurring Special Event — Recurring event that accomplishes a set of goals established for that event.

VIII. Best Media Relations

Entries should explain and demonstrate the use of creative media relations.

IX.  Best Use of Photography

Best use of photography in print or electronic communications.  This can be a single photograph or a series of photographs.

X.  Communications Planning

  • Best Strategic Plan — A communications plan for an organization with specific goals and objectives.
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) Outreach/Campaign — Plans and/or targeted marketing campaigns with an emphasis on diverse or underserved audiences that must also achieve a particular result related to the campaign goal, including increased participation in a program, understanding of an issue affecting a minority community, improving customer satisfaction ratings, etc.

XI.  Innovation Award

Any communication tool that pushes the limits of creativity or technology to reach an intended audience.

XII.  Crisis Communications Response

Includes ongoing/general preparedness or specific response and implementation of a communications strategy in response to a crisis, man-made or natural disaster.

XIII.  Best Small Shop

This category will recognize the best overall small communications shops for the outstanding work they are doing every day. Organizations with no more than two communications professionals in their main communications shop are eligible to enter and must enter projects that fit into four different categories of the six listed below:

  1.  Social Media Campaign
  2.  Video/Photography/Graphic Design
  3.  Electronic or Print Newsletter/Report/Magazine/Special Publication
  4.  Marketing Plan/Campaign
  5.  Internal Communications
  6.  Communications Planning