Late in 2015, we came up with a great idea, let’s run a contest to encourage narrators (both new and established) to record classic audiobooks.
Everyone who heard about the idea, loved it. It looked like it was going to be a smash hit.
So, in January, we posted the rules, recruited judges, and got everything ready to go. Immediately, we were inundated with questions, people were interested.
But, that interest was not reflected in the number of actual entries. So, we started asking people what was the road block? Why weren’t they entering? Many of them said, that there was not enough lead time for them to produce a book of significant length in time for the contest.
With fewer people than expected entering, we got less excited about the contest ourselves. Publicity took a backseat to other priorities.
For a contest to really be a success, promotion should look something like this:
Co-sponsoring with other groups that have synergies with your own increase the potential pool of participants. The more people learn about you, and other organizations that you work with, the more likely they are to consider your contest.
List on Contest Sites
Posting on contest sites is a good way to build organic SEO, getting valuable links pointing at your contest from all over the internet. Beyond contest sites, the same strategy can work for affinity sites. For books or audiobooks, that would be sites like GoodReads, LibraryThing, or BookLikes to name just a few.
Offering people who you’ve done business with before a special perk connected to the contest is never a bad idea (as long as anyone who they forward your email to can use the perk as well. Otherwise, it can feel like “insider dealings”).
Establish a Hashtag
Since other social media sites have jumped on the #hashtag concept, finding a good one for your contest can be helpful far beyond Twitter.
Make Social Media interactions a part of the contest
This can be simple as which entry gets the most likes/retweets/etc or something much more complex. Getting the general public involved with the judging increases investment all the way around.
We did some of these things. Okay, we did the easier ones. The ones that take more actual effort fell by the wayside. So, we refunded the entry fees to the people who had entered. And now, we’re re-examining the best way to move forward.
- Do we make the contest run the full year (making anything submitted during 2016 eligible)?
- Do we shorten the minimum entry from 6 hours to 5? or 4? or 3?
- What about our entry fee? The $10 (plus paypal fees) was to help us offset costs (hosting, bandwidth, ads, etc). Is this a barrier to entry?