5 tips on how to win competitions
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How can you increase your chances and win competitions? There are those people who seem to win lots of “stuff” and those – like you – who never do. I fell into the latter category until I won 8 travel competition prizes over a relatively short period of time. They ranged from:
- the small – a £20 Lonely Planet book.
- the medium – a weekend break in Newcastle.
- the big – a 10 day trip to California.
- the absolute bonkers!!! – a private jet for me and 49 friends to Stockholm.
So the 5 tips to win competitions
1. Play the [small] numbers game.
A competition at a closed event or conference gives you a much higher chance of winning, especially if it involves actually doing “something” rather than just dropping your business card into a goldfish bowl.
2. Take photos that will capture the judges’ imagination.
Ok – not so easy but one competition I won was based on an outside display in a square in Central London. I used the reflection in my sunglasses but made sure the company’s brand appeared as readable by mirroring the image too.
Or if it involves taking photos of a city’s landmarks take a picture from high up/low down/through something else … anything that [probably] has never been done before!
To win a weekend break in Newcastle I took a photo of the famous “winking bridge” from another bridge, but also with three other bridges in the foreground too.
3. Somehow mention/advertise the sponsor’s product
To win the private jet I had to come up with a fact about Sweden. Instead of obvious facts about ABBA, IKEA, blondes or Volvo cars my entry was simply “The @Sweden Twitter account is given to a different member of the population each month”. So nothing amazing but a fact that was possibly chosen as it helped promote another part of their social media campaign when my winning answer was announced.
4. Enter tedious competitions
Persist in entering Twitter/Instagram competitions that you get bored of after a few minutes and want to leave. If others are thinking the same and giving up then your chance of winning automatically increases.
I just entered a Twitter competition where half the instructions were cut off on my iPhone screen, and it culminated in following a long link on an Instagram post that you couldn’t actually click!! Very annoying but persevere and you enter where 10 others give up!
Recently I won a photojournalism competition that required me to do the following steps in attempt to get the maximum total of 64 points. I was the only entrant who could be bothered so I ended up winning!:
- Take photos of 14 framed photos hanging on the wall in shops in my home town
- Post each photo separately to Instagram
- Include the competition organiser’s handle, the shop’s handle plus the competition hashtag
5. Enter ones with more complicated entry requirements
For the 10 day California trip I had to create a “Round the World” travel adventure in 6 tweets or less. I needed to plan that entry quite carefully. However I later found out only 9 people bothered entering!
That said follow the “simple” rules too! A friend organised a Twitter competition for some food prizes. All the entrants had to do was RT a tweet and then follow 2 separate accounts. 100s of people entered but nobody actually ended up winning as nobody had done all 3 things!
Summary to winning competitions!
“You’ve got to be in it to win it!” but be a bit more tactical to increase your chances of winning. Ideally choose competitions at closed events where there’s some effort involved as that will reduce the number of entrants. Create a compelling photo or video as ultimately that’s what they’ll be judging. Friends Jen Lowthrop and Virginia Stuart-Taylor won DoubleTree Hilton 3 week adventures by creating short video clips … now that involves a lot of effort … something I wouldn’t bother entering … but they did … and they won! Also a lot of companies out there are still experimenting with social media to find out what works and what doesn’t and that can be to your advantage! 😉
Check out Jen Lowthrop’s thoughts on how to win competitions.