By ACN Board Member Martha Mintz
To be clear, this is an article on why you should immediately lock in some time on your calendar to gather and submit entries for the annual Agricultural Communicator’s Network Communication Award contest (especially MarComm folks, see below for tons of new opportunities). Why? Because when you have a drawer full of onions, it’s nice to add a tulip or two.
Around 8th grade I got my hands on a tattered copy of “Coffee, Tea or Me,” a slightly scandalous book relating the escapades of two stewardesses from a time when air travel was glamourous. One thing that stuck out from the book was the supervisor’s file of customer letters about each stewardess. The bad ones were called “onions”, the good ones, “tulips”. At least that’s how I recall it, I can’t find the book.
In the creative world we tend to get our fair share of “onions.” For me, just one “tulip” will cancel a hundred onions. I keep my own file of tulips. It includes kind notes from sources I’ve featured, readers, editors, clients and more. Contests are great sources for tulips, too. Encouraging comments from judges or seeing your work on the screen in front of your peers at the awards ceremony can be a great boost of confidence.
If the contests seem daunting, I encourage you to at the very least enter some work for consideration for the Emerging Writer and Emerging Photographer awards. These are the perfect spot to start gathering tulips.
Tulips For All
The Awards committee works to tweak contests each year to ensure they benefit all members and represent the industry. There are awards for the up and coming and the been there, done that crowd. Awards for the new and ever-changing ways we communicate with the world. Here are some changes for 2022 you should note:
Here’s a chance to make history. Be the first to earn the title of EMERGING WRITER. If you’re new to the contest or have yet to see your name on the screen for a first, second or third place win, this is the category for you. The old guard makes for some stiff competition, but there’s plenty of upcoming talent well worth recognizing. This new category. similar to the EMERGING PHOTOGRAPHER category.
PHOTOGRAPHY: ROTATING THEME CATEGORY. The theme for 2022 is “Children in Agriculture.” Published images will include children at work or play in agricultural settings.
The MarComm committee has been very, very busy. New categories mean even more ways to shine for clients, bosses and resumes.
ACN Board Member and Award Winner Jamie Cole
COMMUNICATOR OF THE YEAR. Jamie Cole snagged the first ever Communicator of the Year award in 2021 and many talented MarComm entrants climbed a few of the six rungs on the Master of Communications ladder. Contest entries can earn merit points toward the Masters program even if they don’t place. This is an excellent way to get some much-earned credit for good, solid work.
MARKETING VIDEO. A video used at an event or online promoting an agriculture-related product.
COLLATERAL PIECE. A piece promoting a product, service or program created for an agricultural sales team.
AUDIO NEWS RELEASE. A time-sensitive audio news release regarding a product, service or program written for submission to agricultural publications or general media on an agriculture-related topic.
Get your entries ready! The new deadline is Friday, April 29th!
Martha Mintz won a total of five awards and four honorable mentions in both the writing and photography categories during the 2021 ACN Communication Awards ceremony. She is a freelance writer and photographer, and runs her own business, Corral Creek Communications.