1. Review the resources available on the Gold Quill Award website—especially the How-To Guide to IABC Awards – The Midas Touch, which explain how each section of the work plan is scored, including which attributes would cause judges to mark your entry higher or lower.

2. On the work plan, make sure your objectives are SMART:

  • Specific: Describes a desired outcome
  • Measurable: Quantified as an output, outtake or outcome
  • Achievable: Challenging, but within the range of influence
  • Relevant: Contributes to business goals in a meaningful way
  • Time-framed: Includes a completion date, if appropriate

3. Include both output-based and outcome-based objectives. Output-based objectives measure volume or increases against media vehicles and communication channels like website visits, articles distributed, ads produced, meetings held, content analysis, blog posts, tweets, or downloads.

Outcome-based objectives measure what the audience will gain by way of awareness, understanding, recall, different perceptions, and quantifiable change in attitudes, opinions and behaviors.

4. For the measurement section of the work plan, tie your results back to your objectives.

5. Include research completed both in the work plan and as part of the work sample.

6. Choose work samples that highlight the strength of the entry and give a representative sample of the work. Refer to your work samples within the work plan.

7. Write the work plan and organize the work sample in a way that both explains the project to someone with no prior knowledge of the work and celebrates your success.

8. If you combine project elements into one PDF for the work sample, make sure to label items so the judges understand what they are looking at.

9. Carefully review the categories to determine which fit your entry best. You may enter multiple categories, but you should customize each entry for that category.

10. Follow the rules outlined on the website and in the How-To Guide to IABC Awards – The Midas Touch. Don’t risk your entry being disqualified.