How to Host a Successful Contest

Last December I hosted a small contest with the intention to create some buzz. Though the event had some participation, it was way below my expectation. But the learning experience was awesome! Here I sum up some of the lessons I learnt.

The Prizes Speak for itself

Host a Successful Competition and winA contest is all about winning, and if one can’t win anything, will he take part? The prizes that I had in my contest were not useful for everyone, it was too targeted. If you want normal people to take part in your contest, try to get some real prizes that anyone can use. And the bigger and better the prizes are, the more buzz you will get.

E.g.: All your readers would love to have a 100$ cash check, but not everyone can use a Joomla template. Try contacting Web Hosting companies, everyone can use some extra hosting space and since these Web Hosts have a high margin on their products, they would be more than glad to sponsor!

Keep the Rules Simple

Don’t expect people to do all kinds of things for a chance of winning, keep them simple. Subscribing to the newsletter is the most common simple rule. But if you are giving away a HP laptop, then I think you can make them do more than that! My rules were simple too! 😛

Don’t write an essay

One big mistake I did was, I wrote a full length announcing post with some reviews to my sponsors. A long post usually scares a reader away, so keep the post simple as possible and tell them exactly what is to be done to take part. If you have some chance multipliers, mention them separately.

Let it Run

Give amble time for the contest, but don’t make it too long. I gave it about 20 days, which is a bit too long. I don’t think that you will get more participants if you give more time. Instead, if it’s just available for a short time, it might get lots of buzz! (Who would wish to miss a limited time offer?)

Updates in between definitely helps

Just before the contest was going to end, I make an update. This update got more buzz than the initial post. Again, that’s the effect of a limited time offer!

Contests will suck away your time

If you have ever run a contest, you will know this already. It will take away most of your blogging time. Finding and negotiating with the sponsors, popularizing the contest, checking contestant’s status, follow ups, deciding the winners, again making sure that the winners get the prizes, aah, it took most of the time I had for Christmas. So if you don’t have time to do it, save the contest for a later time!

These lessons are what make the contest worth it. If you need expert advise, follow Chethan or Ajith; both of them have hosted very successful contests!

(P.S: I won in both of them! In the Christmas Giveaway of Chethan I won some free ads and in the SEO contest of Ajith, I won one year of Business Hosting and an Online Profits Subscription! Thank you guys!)

Hello, I am Arun Basil Lal. Thank you for reading!

I am a WordPress product developer and creator of Image Attributes Pro. I am passionate about solving problems and travelling the world.

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  1. Splendid Kid says:

    Great tips! I am planning to host a contest soon in my blog. but this is not yet the right time. Maybe on April or May 🙂

  2. cheth says:

    Contests Don’t really work well unless you have all the time in the world 🙂 My contest was successful but the sponsors created confusion laters!

  3. Man, you had one hell of a run with my contest. In fact, if you hadn’t slowed down on the last two days you had a chance to win the first prize.

    • Dont say that I am evil, I am way too happy with the second prize! 😉
      Online Profits is defenitely more precious for me than the rest of all, God was with me I guess!

      The funny thing is that from Feb 16th (just after your contest, I had been getting over 220 visits per day compared to 120 on the last day. Defenitely I had eternal support! Lucky me!

  4. Amal Roy says:

    Well a contest can be organized only if the site is a bit popular and we have some sponsors. These are nice tips for emerging bloggers like me for the near future. I thank you for such nice information.

    I am happy to say that ~~from my heart~~ , This site really helps me a lot.

  5. Blogger Templates says:

    Thanks Arun, great tips…
    I’ll be holding a contest for my and my blog’s birthdays, but there’s a lot of time for me to think over it !
    I’ll remember your tips !
    BTW, do you really think 20 days are too long, as I am planning to run my contest for 30 days 😉

    • I think 30 days is way too much. But if you are giving off something huge, like a Laptop or $500 or so, then it would be great. Otherwise, you cant hold the interest of people for 30 days.

      Since its a birthday contest, my suggestion is to start one week before the birthday and continue for one more week after the birthday. That makes it a contest of 15 days and you can keep the buzz!

      Good luck with your contest, do let me know well in advance.. ok?
      Cheers 🙂

      • Blogger Templates says:

        Ya may be 15 days will be fine,
        anyways, can you add a list of blogs/sites where we can announce regarding our contest ?

        • Let me see if I can make a decent long list. If I find some quality sites, I will put them here and will let you know!

          Cheers and thanks for a post idea!


          • Sai @ Blogger Templates says:

            Hi Arun,

            First contest at my blog: link

            Although it isn’t my or my blog’s B’Day contest, but just its a general blogging contest. And though the prizes aren’t very big, but I couldn’t resist myself from stretching it to 25 days 😉

            Have a look and participate in the contest…


            • Oh man, who said the prizes aren’t big? The Robo cam is sexy, who wouldnt want that? The prizes are worthy enough to run the contest for 25 days. Remeber to bring out your best posts while the contest is running. Many might just subscribe to multiply their chances to win, and will leave the day the contest is over. Turn them into loyal readers with quality posts 🙂

              I am participating in it, its a hard-to-miss one. Let me try my luck, thanks a million for the invite 😉


  6. Nihar says:

    I have never hosted a contest on my blog. I always think of it. I have to think hard and find a good way so that more number of readers enroll.

    • Hola, so we are gonna have one soon? I am looking forward for that event. But make sure that you have lots of time before you start. Once you start, there is no looking back 🙂

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  1. Online Tips and Tricks to Get More Businesspoint up media | point up media says:

    […] Competitions get a lot of interest, especially if you plan on giving something great away. You’ll automatically get lots of interest and new followers. You could host an Instagram competition where entries have to re-post a photo and follow you, for instance. This can help you to get so many more followers in a short space of time, and a lot of exposure. You could simply have people enter by following you on all of your social platforms; there is software that can help you to monitor this and pick a winner at random. […]

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