5 tips on how to win competitions
Last Updated on 26th July 2020
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 7 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.