Contest ideas and simple tips to bring you contesting success
“30 Contest Ideas in 30 Minutes” is one of our favorite webinars of the year. Certainly one of the biggest takeaways from the webinar is to seriously consider running at least one these top categories when building out your contest calendar for the year.
Let’s review a few more top takeaways that will make your contesting strategy a success.
- Create a contest committee. Form a committee including someone from your digital sales, promotions or marketing, web (content and webmaster), and editorial. Your contest committee should discuss possible contest themes, advertisers to target, parameters of the contest and how your editorial team can get behind the contest to promote it.
- Plan ahead. Most seasonal and holiday contests can be planned in advance. Our partners who plan ahead generate the most revenue and have the most overall success.
- Time your contests right. When a contest has great sponsorship potential, take full advantage of that by timing your contest right. If you are running a fishing and hunting contest time it right before the season starts, advertisers will be jazzed because your users will have them top of mind when gearing up for the season.
- Cater to sponsors’ needs. If one of your sponsors is interested in driving foot traffic as an objective of the promotion, consider a drawing contest. Have users download a coloring template or create a drawing on their own and require them to drop off the entry at your sponsors’ location. Either you or your sponsor scans the images and uploads the entries. Sponsors will benefit from the increased foot traffic and you can charge accordingly.
- Find advertisers that need to reach your audience. Whether it’s a kitchen makeover or a salon style makeover, your advertisers are trying to reach a niche audience, so use your promotional powers to do help. As part of the sponsorship package include an opt-in box on the registration page to get deals and messages from your sponsor. Your sponsor will love you for helping them build their email database and potentially grow their customer base.
- Resonate with a younger audience. Reach a younger audience base by running a contest high schoolers will want to take part in. Themes like prom, graduation, school spirit, or anything that rallies around high school sporting events are great at hitting a homerun with a younger demographic.
- Allow room for spontaneity. As I mentioned above, leaving time for planning your contest is ideal, but if a great contest opportunity presents itself – jump on it. For example, you never know when your town will see severe weather, but people enjoy seeing their extreme weather photo published on your website. Take time to plan for the unexpected contest you might run and have possible sponsors on stand-by. For a photo contest centered around a recent hail storm, possible sponsors include roofers and auto body shops.
- Encourage users to share. You can’t force a contest to go viral, but there are tactics that can help it along, like offering big prizes, allowing users to vote, branding the contest well, and enabling “social boost” so those who share the contest with others will get more votes. By hosting the contest on multiple platforms, your contest will be more accessible to a much wider audience.
- Creative contests can work. Creative and talent contests are great because they allow your users show off their unique skills and talents, and people love to share these types of contests. Be careful when designing the contest to keep the submission process simple – if the process is too complicated participation will be limited.