And the Winner Is… An Insider’s Guide to Entering Contests
On the heels of the Prime Time Emmy Awards, television’s greatest contest so to speak, I thought it fitting to touch upon the art of entering (and hopefully winning) a contest. So what exactly is a contest you may ask? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, one definition is, “to try to win (something).” This is true, but this definition doesn’t touch about the ART of trying to win this said contest. I’m going to offer you an insider’s guide to entering contests as well as provide some tips to help make sure you have the best chance to win any contest that you may choose to enter.
Before we get into the nitty gritty, I think it’s important for you to first know the difference between entering a sweepstakes vs. a contest. A sweepstakes is a game of chance in which consumers are asked to provide basic information about themselves to be entered into a prize drawing. Most importantly, potential winners are selected in a random drawing. On the other hand, a contest is a game of skill, where entrants are asked to complete a measurable task that is judged and scored. For more information on this, click here.
Now on to the show…
Know the contest criteria – This is the number one most important thing to consider when you enter a contest. First and foremost, you need to know what you are required to submit to have a valid entry. For example, a contest could ask you to upload a photo of yourself at the most exciting location you’ve traveled to as part of your entry. Sounds simple enough, right? But what you may have neglected to notice is that it also said that the photo cannot contain any company logos, and you have on your best Nike jersey. Disqualified! Information is your friend. Be sure you have all of the facts before you take the time to enter.
Understand the judging criteria – Because a contest is a game of skill, each entry will be judged on a set criteria. So, building on the photo entry above, this contest is judging entrants on three categories: 50% on location, 25% on creativity, and 25% on uniqueness. So, if you submit a shot of yourself in your backyard, I’m guessing you might not rank very high with the judges. However, had you read the criteria, you might have considered showing that picture that you took of yourself diving off of a sailboat in Fiji. Be sure that you chose to submit the best photo that you can to get the best score possible.
Know your audience – Judges are only human after all, so ask yourself when entering, who is running the sweepstakes? If it’s a young, hip energy drink company, the judges might think that a picture of you bungee jumping off of the Grand Canyon is creative and unique vs. you feeding a giraffe at the San Diego Zoo. However, the giraffe picture might work for a pet supply store running a contest. Play to your audience.
So back to the Emmy’s. When you are watching the winners being announced this weekend, think of the steps these actors needed to take to compete for their prizes. Just like you, they first need to know in which category they would be eligible to compete (criteria), submit their best work, and play to the judges. Check out all of the nominees here.