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December 29, 2021

Episode 038: How to Become an Award-winning Business Owner (AKA How to Be Named to The Knot & WeddingWire’s “Best of Weddings” Lists) with Jasmine Norris

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Have you ever wondered how to become an “award-winning” business owner? I mean, you work hard. You produce great work. However, while you regularly see industry peers receiving awards, nobody is knocking on your door to give you a trophy. What gives?

Thankfully, in this episode of Priority Pursuit, award-winning and published wedding photographer Jasmine Norris of Jasmine Norris Photography is sharing exactly how you can become an award-winning business owner—including how you can be named to The Knot and WeddingWire’s “Best of Weddings” lists if you’re a wedding vendor.

Just to name a few of the awards Jasmine has earned throughout her career (You can find a more extensive list here!), Jasmine is a six-time winner of WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice Awards, a seven-time winner of The Knot’s Best of Weddings, and a four-year Stevie Awards recipient (with multiple awards earned each year).

Jasmine is an incredible photographer and business owner and is certainly deserving of these awards. However, Jasmine doesn’t simply receive awards regularly. She’s made applying for awards part of her workflow and uses her awards to leverage her business. And, in this episode of Priority Pursuit, she shares how you can and why you should be doing the same.

How can being an award-winning business owner help your business grow?

While I think it’s safe to say that Jasmine enjoys when a trophy or plaque arrives at her office or when she has the opportunity to travel to receive an award, Jasmine has more or less made receiving awards part of her marketing strategy for one reason: social proof.

According to Jasmine, “When [prospective clients] see that I’ve won awards, it’s kind of proof to them that I have a great product and provide great service to my clients. This can kind of help sway their decision to book me.”

In other words, as couples are researching potential wedding photographers, Jasmine often stands out and is the clear choice because of her awards. Wedding photography is a big investment, but when couples see the long list of awards Jasmine has received, they know investing in Jasmine is worth it.

Regardless of what you do or what industry you work in, awards can do the same for your business and help give both current and prospective clients confidence in your products and services.

How do you become an award-winning business owner?

As Jasmine shares in this episode, there have been a few times where others have nominated her for awards. However, more often than not, the awards Jasmine receives are a result of applying for them herself and setting up workflows to meet award requirements.

Side note: When you see another business (big or small) receive an award, someone who works for that business almost certainly applied for the award or nominated the business. There’s nothing wrong with this, and if you want to be an award-winning business owner, you’ll likely need to lose a bit of humility and nominate yourself. 

Jasmine receives multiple wards per year, and based on her experience and what’s worked best for her business, here’s the process she recommends if you’d like to become an award-winning business owner:

1. Research awards within your community, state, or area.

Between local newspapers, organizations, and other groups, chances are, there is some kind of award you can apply for right in your community.

For instance, your local newspaper may hold a community choice award program every year. Being able to share that you were named “the best [insert your job title] in [insert you city, county, state, etc.]” would certainly help you stand out in your area.

2. Research awards within your industry.

Regardless of what industry you work in, there are likely awards specific to your industry that you can earn.

For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, wedding planner, or you work in the wedding industry in any capacity, both The Knot and WeddingWire hold annual awards.

Research awards within your industry and find out how you can become a recipient.

3. Research general awards.

In addition to local and industry awards, Jasmine recommends researching other awards in general. For instance, Jasmine has won multiple Stevie Awards. While the Stevies are the “world’s premier business awards,” the Stevies are for businesses of all kinds.

As you explore options, Jasmine does recommend being cautious and conducting thorough research to ensure an award program isn’t a scam.

4. Set up workflows to make applying for awards simple & routine.

As you research awards, you’ll likely find that each has different requirements. As a result, you may need to set reminders on your calendar to nominate yourself or perform a certain task. However, there are things you can do and systems you can set up to make applying for awards easier. Jasmine recommends:

Creating an “Award Entry”

As you look at award requirements, chances are, you’ll submit similar information over and over again. To make the process of applying for awards easier, simply type up a few paragraphs that share pertinent information about your business.

When you take the time to create an award entry, you’ll have a rough outline and can then adjust your submission based on each award’s specifications.

Making Asking for Reviews Part of Your Workflow

Many awards are annual and review-based. In other words, many awards are given annually based on the number of and the quality of the reviews you receive on a specific platform.

For example, to be named to The Knot’s Best of Weddings List or WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice Awards, you need a minimum of five five-star, quality-written reviews.

If there’s a review-based award that you’d like to receive, Jasmine recommends simply making asking for reviews part of your workflow. For example, after Jasmine delivers a wedding gallery, she explains to couples how much reviews help her business and then asks them to leave her a review on The Knot, WeddingWire, and Google. This way, when The Knot and WeddingWire name their winners for the year, Jasmine already has ample reviews.

Wedding photographers, do you need help getting published? Do you want to hear more from Jasmine? Check out “Episode 022: How to Get Published as a Wedding Photographer with Jasmine Norris!”

How can you share your awards?

After you’ve earned an award, it’s important to share your good news! After all, if you don’t share about your awards, you can’t reap the benefits of them.

If you’re nervous or hesitant to share, take Jasmine’s advice. According to Jasmine, “It’s okay to be a little bit braggy about your award wins. Just kind of think of doctors. If you were looking to have a specific surgery done, would you be more inclined to go to a doctor who won awards based on their skill and customer satisfaction? The answer is ‘yes.’”

In other words, you don’t want to win an award and keep it to yourself. When you win an award, Jasmine recommends:

  1. Sharing about your award on social media (e.g. Jasmine will post a photo of herself holding a trophy)
  2. Adding awards badges to your website and email signature
  3. Writing a blog post about the award and honor

If you’d like to see the long list of awards Jasmine has won, you can find that list here. Through her exceptional photography work, excellent customer service, awards, and publications, Jasmine continues to meet her booking goals year after year and has established herself as a well-known wedding photographer with authority in the industry.

And, friend, regardless of what industry you work in, you can do the same.

Want to hear more from Jasmine?

If you’d like to connect with and hear more from Jasmine, be sure to check out “Episode 022: How to Get Published as a Wedding Photographer with Jasmine Norris.” You can also find Jasmine on Instagram as @jasmine.norris, on Facebook, and at

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Discover the four most common marketing mistakes small businesses make and exactly how to solve them! Download our guide.

Leverage Kelly’s marketing experience, insights, and leadership to grow your business.

As the founder and chief marketing strategist at Treefrog Marketing, a co-host of the Priority Pursuit Podcast, a StoryBrand Certified Guide, and fractional chief marketing officer, Kelly Rice has spent more than two decades helping small businesses take their companies to the next level by providing trustworthy leadership and building effective marketing strategies and systems.

She has dedicated her career to helping small businesses succeed because she knows, firsthand, how hard they work to make their communities a better place. 

Still, many people undervalue the strength and ingenuity of small businesses, but not Kelly. She believes they deserve to have a marketing partner and strategy that works as hard as they do.

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