EPIC Awards


EPIC Awards

2024 winners - CONGRATULATIONS!
2024 Entries closed – view your submitted entries here.

How to enter
Webinar – How to enter
View categories
View pricing
View FAQs

CAPIO’s EPIC awards program recognizes the most creative and effective efforts in the areas of communication and marketing campaigns, newsletter production, photography, special events, writing, Web site development and video production.

The EPIC Awards honor work that transcends innovation and craft - work that made a lasting impact, providing an equal chance of winning to all entrants regardless of company or agency size and project budget. If your work moved people, we want to give it a chance to take home an EPIC.

The Program

The Excellence in Public Information and Communications (EPIC) Awards are presented annually by the California Association of Public Information Officials to honor outstanding public agency information and communications programs.

The EPIC Awards honors work that rises above innovation and craft – work that made a lasting impact. Our goal is to offer an equal chance of winning to all entrants regardless of agency size and project budget. If your work moved people, we want to give it a chance to take home an EPIC.

The Hardware

CAPIO provides winners and their organizations the recognition they deserve while offering validation that their work is not only highly regarded by their peers within the industry but also making a tremendous impact in the communities served.

The EPIC Award, our highest honor, is given to those entrants whose ability to communicate positions them as the best in the field. The Award of Distinction is presented for projects that exceed industry standards in quality and achievement. EPIC winners will also be showcased in CAPIO’s Winners Gallery.

Determining the Finalists

The EPIC Awards are judged by your peers, a volunteer group consisting of experienced communicators. In order to ensure a fair and effective process, the CAPIO Awards committee work to secure judges not only from within CAPIO but from partner professional public relations associations.

Winning entries for the EPIC Awards are reviewed and selected by at least two judges per category selected, who have committed to uphold CAPIO’s commitment to fairness and merit-based achievement. This ensures each entry is afforded equal chance of winning an award, as all entries are judged to evaluate distinction in creative work. All entries are evaluated against a standard scoring criteria and judging is based purely on quality of craft, so sometimes a category may have multiple winners, or none at all.

Entries are scored on a 100 point scale by the judges. In categories that receive a large number of entries, the entries will be grouped according to service area size (small, medium and large) prior to being judged.

Finalist Notifications

Finalists will be notified by email and will also be posted on the CAPIO website. 

Award finalists are encouraged to bring a display if possible to show at the Annual conference. Displays can include marketing promotional items, a binder or folder with program collateral, an image poster (on foam core backing if possible), or other creative display form. If finalists cannot attend the conference, the display can be sent to the CAPIO office or the conference hotel for display at the conference.

Interested in ordering a duplicate of your award? You may do so by contacting our awards engraving company ACP Publications and Marketing. Contact Yadira at service@acppub.com.

EPIC Award Details

Are you ready to learn more about the EPIC Awards and submit your work that has made an impact? Read through the tabs below for deadlines, entry information and tips, scoring criteria and fees.


Deadlines and Entry Fees

Entry Deadlines

  • Entries Open: January 8, 2024
  • Early Bird Entry Deadline: February 9, 2024 - extended to Feb. 15
  • Regular Entries: February 16 - now extended to March 11 at 5 p.m.
  • Final Entry Deadline: March 11, 2024
  • Finalists Announced: April 4, 2024

Entry Fees

Early Bird, January 8 - February 9 – extended to Feb. 15

  • CAPIO Member: $115
  • Non-Member: $165

Regular, February 16 - March 11 at 5:00 pm 

  • CAPIO Member: $140
  • Non-Member:$190

Requirements & Judging

CAPIO established our annual awards program to recognize and honor outstanding professional work. This work represents standards of excellence and creativity and stand as inspiration for those in our profession. Award entries are welcome each year for work from the prior year. 

Awards Entry Webinar – Tips for Success 

Want to learn how you can best showcase your work? Listen to the “Tips for Making Your Award Entry EPIC” webinar with hints and insights on how to put your best foot forward.


Winning Entry Samples

2019 Best of Show Large Population: EngageRoseville (2019 Best of Show Large Population: EngageRoseville)

2019 Best of Show Medium Population Award Narrative (“San Marcos” Talent Attraction Campaign Narrative)

2019 Best of Show Medium Population Brochure Sample (“San Marcos” Talent Attraction Campaign Brochure)

2019 Best of Show Small Population: Bridge to Wellness Newsletter (2019 Best of Show Small Population: Bridge to Wellness Newsletter


Entry Categories

How we communicate continues to evolve in the connected world in which we live.  For example, submissions for reels or tik tok videos can be submitted in the social media categories.   For custom apps, consider submitting them in the most innovative category.

Work can be entered into more than one category and will be reviewed separately for each category entered. All entries entered into multiple categories will be eligible for recognition in each and will be judged accordingly. In categories that receive a large number of entries, the entries will be grouped according to service area size (small, medium, and large) prior to being judged.

Below is a complete list of the categories for the 2024 awards program.

Communication and Marketing Tools (Publications, graphic design, writing, photography, etc.)

Communications marketing tools are the tactical tools you use to implement the idea – getting information out to get the job done. They include publications, graphic design, photography, events, writing and internal communications.

Entry Categories 

  • Annual Report – (financial reports, water quality reports, or annual performance reports)
  • Graphic Design – Online (infographic, web graphic, logo, etc.)
  • Graphic Design – Print (brochure, poster, marketing materials, etc.)
  • Internal Communications
  • Marketing and Promotional (items, branding/logo, marketing event, delivery tools)
  • Media Event (Press Conferences, PR Campaign Kickoffs, etc.)
  • Newsletter or Magazine (online or printed)
  • Photography
  • Special or Community Event – One-Time
  • Special or Community Event – Recurring
  • Writing (news article, news series, blog, marketing content, etc.)

Digital Communications

Communications programs or tools used to implement the idea, make an impact and maximize reach through digital communications. This category includes podcasts, live streaming, social media, video, websites and apps.   Items marked with an * indicate a new or updated category for 2024.  Some categories may be further sub-divided by budget if the number of entries warrants it.

Entry Categories  

  • Audio/Podcasts
  • Social Media Best Use Overall
  • Social Media Campaign
  • Social Media Impromptu *
  • Video Production – Public Service Announcement – In-House *
  • Video Production – Public Service Announcement – Consultant Supported *
  • Video Production – Marketing Video - In-House *
  • Video Production – Marketing Video – Consultant Supported *
  • Video Production – PSA Series – In-House *
  • Video Production – PSA Series – Consultant Supported *
  • Video Production – Marketing Series - In-House *
  • Video Production – Marketing Series - Consultant Supported *
  • Website

Communications and Marketing Process

Processes are broad categories of strategic communications programs and activities, such as Community Visioning or Branding, Resident Participation, Communications Plans, Campaign Plans, Go Green Programs, Crisis Communications and Service Delivery.

Entry Categories
  • Brand Launch / Rebrand
  • Communications or Marketing Plans/Campaigns - Consultant-Supported
  • Communications or Marketing Plans/Campaigns – In-House
  • Community Relations/Participation
  • Crisis Communications Response
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Outreach / Campaign
  • Preparedness/Public Safety Education Campaign

Creative Marketing

This category includes two unique awards—Most Innovate Communications and Dollar Stretcher. CAPIO encourages agencies to submit their most innovative programs. Entries submitted to the Most Innovative field can include consultant-supported projects and programs.

For the Dollar Stretcher field, projects and/or tools that had a major impact using only in-house resources on a limited budget should be submitted.

Entry Categories

  • Dollar Stretcher – program/tool developed and implemented in-house
  • Most Innovative Communications


For the first time in CAPIO history, judges will be selecting from the entire entry pool, one “Best-in-Show” winner from each of the small, medium and large service areas. A separate entry is not required to be considered for a “Best-in-Show” honor.  Winners will be pulled from all subcategories.



Any public information professional representing a California city, county, school, special district or other public agency may participate. Private firms may submit awards on behalf of a public agency; however, the entry must be in the name of the public agency and the agency must be notified in advance that a firm intended to submit an entry on the agency’s behalf.

CAPIO membership is not a criteria for entry.


How to Enter

How to Enter

All entries must be submitted online. To enter, you must complete and include all of the following items for each entry:

Other entry requirements (included in the narrative tips web page):

  • All entries must be for work performed and or executed in calendar year 2023.
  • An online entry form must be completed and submitted with each PDF. All entries must complete mandatory fields on the online entry form.
  • Formatting: Each entry must include a written narrative that is no more than two pages, single spaced, in no smaller than 11 point font and a minimum of .5 margins all around.
  • Each entry should include the agency’s name, award title and award category in the top right corner.
  • Entry plus supporting materials must be loaded as a single PDF document and cannot exceed 15 pages and 15MB. (Example: 2 page narrative plus a max of 13 pages of supporting images or material).

A single work may be entered in multiple categories and an entrant may submit multiple works in each category.

Entry fees must accompany each individual entry. A separate entry fee must be paid for single works that have been submitted in multiple categories.

If you are submitting near the deadline and paying by check, please email a copy of the check and send to info@capio.org.

For payment questions or issues submitting your entry, contact the CAPIO office at info@capio.org.

Judging Criteria