6 Tips for Creating a Contest Winning Entry
Creating a winning entry isn’t hard. As a promotional agency, Marden-Kane has helped our clients judge and moderate hundreds of thousands of contest entries over the last 57 years. We have seen great entries. And we have seen terrible ones.
Be one of the great ones!
Just follow these simple tips:
- Don’t use, mention or show any copyrighted materials!
Thousands of entries are disqualified every year for not following this one simple: don’t use any copyrighted material in your entry.
This means that if you can see the Nike logo on your shirt in your entry photo you will automatically be out of the running.
If you can hear Taylor Swift playing on the radio in the background in your video you will be automatically out of the running.
If you talk about how Lilo from Lilo & Stitch inspired you to be the person you are today you will be automatically out of the running.
All of those things – Nike, Taylor and Lilo – are copyrighted materials and they cannot be mentioned or used or seen in an entry of they will not even get past moderation.
Before you submit your entry look at your photo or video or essay and make sure there are no logos, no brand names, no music you didn’t write, compose and sing yourself, no mentions of famous people – take all of that out!
- Keep it clean.
This seems like a no-brainer but you would be surprised – and shocked – by what people submit. No nudity means keep your clothes on people! And in the realm of religion and politics and personal information – leave any topic that is controversial or best not told to the world out of your entry.
- Follow the entry limitations.
If the rules have age or state or country limitations, don’t try to enter just to see what will happen. You will be disqualified once it is discovered that you don’t meet the contest criteria, so don’t waste your time.
- Be mindful of file sizes, type and word count.
Not all contest platforms will automatically limit your entries to the posted file size and word count limits. (Marden-Kane’s promotions we build in-house do, but we don’t want to brag.) This means that even though you submitted your 151 word essay when the limit was 150 words, that does not mean that it will actually get past the screening process. If the rules have specific file size or type requirements, or if there is a time limit on a video or word limit on an essay, do yourself a favor and check yourself before you submit it.
One more tip: don’t try to leave out spaces between words to make your entry seem shorter. That won’t work!
- Be original.
Judges don’t want to see the same thing over and over. When they read a thousand entries and they see “I should win because I work hard and I deserve it” and there is nothing else to the entry, they get tired.
Which means that your entry that looks the same as everyone else’s? Yawn. It’s not going to the next level.
Write your winning entry from the heart and tell us why you stand out!
- Be light-hearted.
Clients usually don’t want their brands associated with sad stories of woe and tragedy. Sure you may have suffered terribly and deserve the prize, but the best way to appeal to the judges is to show how tragedy didn’t break you or pull you down! Be inspiring. Tell the world how you overcame whatever you went through or plan to make it better.
Once you follow these basic guidelines you should be well on your way to creating a contest winning entry.
Thinking about your next digital marketing initiative and need help? We can get you started.
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