Is There a Contest in Your Future?

I’m working with one of my favorite clients this week. We’re trying to decide the best way to engage his members.  We did some brainstorming and came up with several ideas that should help involve his members during the spring sports season. With graduation, sports championships, and prom in the near future, we want to make sure that we keep creating value for his stakeholders.

So, how do we to help him create excitement around his video blogs and leadership updates? I think creating contests for members shakes things up. Who doesn’t love a contest? Since we’re dealing with over 120 different locations, we need to create a contest to engage people no matter where they are. The contest will tie into many of the strategic themes he shares with his clients on a weekly basis. Currently the blog gets a lot of feedback, but we want to get their involvement to the next level.

First, find a topic in which everyone can participate. That means making sure the topic fits your audience’s interests. You want to generate involvement, so choose a task for the contest that they’ll want to participate in.  It could be submitting an answer to a question, making a video, or sharing a story or photo.  Whatever you choose, make it something your audience wants to do.

Second, make sure your rules are spelled out carefully.  Include start and end dates for the contest, how prizes will be awarded and what’s a valid entry.  Be sure to let them know the criteria you’ll be judging on, and don’t be afraid to disqualify contestants if they didn’t follow the rules. If you have awesome prizes, people will take the time to follow the rules, which leads to . . .

Third, have some awesome prizes lined up.  Keep in mind that awesome is in the eyes of the beholder, so if your audience is teenagers, don’t get prizes thirtysomethings would want. Get high-quality prizes appropriate for your audience.  Also, think in terms of having several prizes available.  You may get higher participation if people know there’s more than one prize.  If you have high traffic to your site, you may be able to get a sponsor to donate prizes that fit with your topic.

And last, promote your contest heavily.  Only a portion of people will participate in a contest, so even if you have a lot of loyal fans, think about promoting your contest on sites with an audience similar to yours.  The more you promote the contest, the more participation you’ll get.

Because my client’s audience is primarily teenagers, he needs to provide a safe place for members to interact with others. To meet this objective, we need to share the rules and ask people to stay positive with others contributions.  By setting the rules up at the beginning we can insure everyone has a good time contributing content on a regular basis.  We want to make this fun for everyone.  Stay tuned for other ideas to generate excitement around your blog and engage your audience.

I’d like to thank Carletta Sanders for sharing some of her ideas on how to organize a contest where everyone wins.  Carletta Sanders is a stay-at-home mom of four and editor of the website, Successful Homeschooling.  Visit today to find information and ideas for your home school journey.

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