Update: With the growing popularity on Twitter and Pinterest, we've added links to their guidelines on contests for your reference.
Whether you're looking to crowdsource ideas, run a photo or video contest, a talent competition or an award show, or do some product testing, keep this checklist close by to make sure you've got the right premise, prizes and promotional tactics in place for your next online contest.
Drawing from our experience working with international agencies and in-house marketers, we've assembled a checklist of crucial steps to take in the planning stages of a promotion that involves user submitted content.
Working your way through this checklist will get you going in the right direction in terms of engagement. But don't forget about the finer details:
Follow the rules
As the contest organizer, you're responsible to make sure that your promotion is compliant with all applicable laws and platform rules on running contests:
- Pinterest offers general etiquette on how to post, but no specific rules around contests.
- Twitter has fairly simple guidelines on running contests.
- Facebook has a particular set of rules that are enforced quite diligently.
Set an agenda
For how long will your contest run? Will your contest coincide with another event? How will contest rounds, milestones and other announcements be communicated? Make sure that all expectations and procedures are clear to the participant.
Establish your budget
One of the biggest expenses with contests is legal documentation. Our DIY contests come with a set of boilerplate rules that covers your launch almost globally and which may be customized as needed. Another sizeable expense is advertising. If you are on a smaller budget, exhaust your existing social networks and relationships, and continue to expand your reach. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth!
Create a theme and design
Often a flawless user experience equals a positive user experience. Our platform ensures easy-to-use and smooth mechanics. Our CSS style kit lets you match your existing branding and website.
Choose a structure
The most common contest configuration is submission and voting rounds together, followed by a judging round. Each possible configuration has its pros and cons - ask us if you're unsure about which one you should choose.
Add sponsors and judges
Including sponsors and judges may be a good idea. Tap into sponsors for prizes, offer a sponsor spot on the site as an add-value, or sell a sponsor spot on the site to offset costs. Invite relevant personalities to act as judges to add credibility and excitement!
Our contest dashboard tracks site traffic, activity and social metrics but you can go further with a third party service such as Google Analytics and capture unique and repeat visitors, etc. Beyond these standard metrics, you'll also want to dig deeper with social metrics as per your goals to really measure the success of your promotion. For example:
- Data collection and consumer insight: include a survey as part of the entry process, then download the data and content from your contest dashboard.
- Increase awareness: track the number of shares, tweets and retweets, posts on other websites, feeds, threads and blogs.
- Relationship building: monitor overall sentiment (via comments, Facebook, Twitter, contest hashtag or forum posts), number of followers and likes, recommendations and engagement.
Strutta's Contest app walks you through every detail you need to cover in order to run a successful contest - from uploading a background image to managing content - it's all laid out for you.
Our aim at Strutta is to help anyone with a great idea run an even better promotion. Letting us take care of the pesky back-end details means you can focus on fun stuff like crafting the creative and engaging your audience! Contact us to chat about how we can help you bring your ideas to life. Keep in mind that our top-notch team is also available to deliver on creative and development work as needed.