List of Things To Do When Using Web Contests in Digital Marketing

Posted by Rob Campbell on August 17th, 2015

Hosting a web contest is a great way to build buzz, gain social media followers, and make great incoming links to client websites that increase domain authority and raise the site’s search engine rankings for key search terms.

In order to achieve the best results in a contest based marketing campaign, the Contest Producer has to know three main things before embarking on the initiative,

  1. What page of the website will the contest be promoting? What search terms do you want this page to rank higher for?
  2. What is the creative idea for a web challenge? and more specifically what is the contest called? (The challenge’s title often contains target search terms).
  3. How can we make a repository of User Generated Content that when categorized and displayed will become a valuable resource to best serve humanity for the next ten years?

If the contest producer can resolve these questions with good solid answers, then their campaign really cannot fail, for any quality or quantity of media they collect will benefit the sponsors’ SEO, and they can make all the media that really matters all by themselves.

Contest To-Do List

1. KEYWORD RESEARCH Isolate exact SEO keyword search term targets. Select the most expensive keywords because generally speaking the more coveted keywords are the best and that means they will ‘convert’ the best.  Also this allows you to show real value in your organic SEO campaigns.

2. BENCHMARK CLIENT WEBSITE / COMPETITORS Track your client’s webpage SERP ranking position for those keywords BEFORE you start any promotions, so that you can show the effects of your contest marketing for SEO campaign AFTER the contest ends.

3. MAKE RICH MEDIA / TEXT RESOURCES Take time in advance to make and publish various different size business logos, info-graphics, text bytes, schematics, graphics and perfect page copy. Make your own Bio and make sure the sponsor company mission statements and social media profiles are up to date and ready to make new friends. During the upcoming campaign you’ll be expected to publish supporting photos and videos all over the web. You’ll have to start doing this immediately after you launch the contest. So why not optimize these elements now? Make these resources as good as they can be now, and use the target keywords in titles, tags and categories. Make video site maps and RSS feed URL names etc. Get prepped.

4. WRITE FIRST BLOG – CREATE A LONG COPY DRAFT IN MODULES Like the moon orbits the earth, a blog should orbit the contest page, as administrators will always need a place to discuss the match. If possible, marketing teams should use the back of this blog platform to make and store content. Go there and write out the entire contest story as best you can. Record all the details – the Fundamental Elements * Blog the contest details / and record the creative concept in its entirety, in advance, on the main Contest Platform website blog. You might use the blog to set out special RULES, or celebrity judge interviews, special parameters and contest requirements in front of everyone. Use the blog to describe special prizes – esp. give readers a sense of exclusive access On the contest blog, offer a glimpse behind-the-scenes of contest administrators at work, and use photo / video resources to tell more of the story * empower the audience with rare access. Show the judges; show the prizes to a core that reads the company blog. This document is the base HOT SCRIPT

5. LAUNCH THE CONTEST!

Check List of Fundamental Contest Elements Before Launch

Launch means you have created a Contest Description – both long and short versions, that will,

  1. Set forth RULES for everyone to read and check their recognition of,
  2. Set forth the TIMELINE, and what is expected of entrants,
  3. Set forth PRIZES with photos and URL store catalog, descriptive text,
  4. Have photos and links to Judges and their projects.
  5. Have logos and graphics and specialized links and approved keyword text for sponsors
  6. Have your own admin avatars, links, profile pictures and Bio

Publish a tell-all blog piece that offers more explanations, and behind the scenes insight into the contest.

6. PUBLISH THE SPONSOR’S BLOG Making the contest page available for entry, which is usually done by toggling a switch field in the back of the CMS admin panel (from DRAFT to PUBLISH or PUBLIC or ON) means you have assembled and made ready all necessary elements for telling the story…

7. PROMOTE THE CONTEST Create and promote the match on popular contest discussion forum threads which can become the backbone of the contest media outreach campaign. Go forth and make the contest discussion forum links on Red Flag Deals, Smart Canucks, Price Network, Frugal Shopper, etc immediately.

Publish your story first! Launch at least six different original threads on the largest contest discured_flag_deals1ssion forums using different rich media resources as soon as possible. Do the contest discussion forums right away so that other contest junkies don’t ruin your opportunity here by publishing their weaker stories, inaccurate reports and naked links alongside minimal storytelling. Worst case scenario is when other contest junkies publish cheat codes and automated voting solutions alongside disparaging comments under headlines that are more popular than your story because they came first and beat you to the audience. Do not wait for others to publish their account of your contest. You must take the initiative and tell your own tales in these busy places BECAUSE you’re going to leverage these forum threads all the way to the end of the match and beyond…

The…SECRET OF SECRETS is to put the links to the best articles and blogs in the discussion forum posts. Then republish the links to these storyful contest discussion forum threads on the company Facebook page and Tweet them etc to show Google that people care about the information presented here.

8. START MAKING FINAL REPORT NOW Make your final report as you go along, record the supporting media URLS – create master list in which you record all URLS on which you have placed promotional media and links, blogs and forums. Record details in spreadsheets. This is a handy way to keep track of specific anchor text nuances, pictures and book marking and tweeting links. Set Google Alerts http://www.google.com/alerts for headline text, and special branded words, or rare words – tip – this is another way for your client to follow along as your team markets the attraction. Put Google Alerts reports in the final summary document; it appears as impartial media, as contest storytelling told from Google’s perspective.

8. CONDUCT BLOG OUTREACH Email dispatch the news of the contest to bloggers *rewrite every five emails to insure less chances of duplicate content. Ask some to link to your discussion forum threads about the contest. Reward the bloggers for making posts on their own high authority blog portals with perfect outgoing links under strategic text, thanking the sponsors’ websites. Provide them with original pictures, which you will add to Pinterest and the company Facebook page. The best bloggers will try to reference sponsor website pages as helpful resources in discussions about something related to the contest i.e. prize information. Encourage bloggers to use your optimized photos etc hosted on Flickr, Picasso or WordPress etc which are part of your previously optimized contest story Set-Up.

9. UPDATE SOCIAL CHANNELS Try to use the company social media pages as amplifiers to spread the word about all the good things that happen as you go along. Put everyday successes and reasonably worthy updates on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or even Keek.com etc to update faithful followers on ANY news media reverberations in your contest story. Using Twitter and Facebook as social media amplifiers works well if they are tweeting links to the links (to the sponsor’s link). Even the smallest memes might grow into monsters if a celebrity touches them. You want to encourage traffic to articles, blogs and discussion forums in which there are SEO links to sponsor’s sites – this proves to Google that somebody cares.

10. USE BOOKMARKING WEBSITES In addition to Facebook and Twitter, promote the best media created in bookmarking websites. After a great piece is published in a 3rd party web magazine, blog portal or discussion forum, the media is bookmarked on StumbleUpon.com or Digg.com or Reddit.com. The thread is added to REPORT but the content is promoted socially on Facebook and Twitter. This is done to show Google that somebody cares about the media that has just been made (and carries SEO links to sponsor).

11. ESTABLISH END GAME RITUAL If possible, write a story piece that details finalists and document the highest-ranking entries * turn make readers into Judges * Ask for their input on how to end the story. Which ending will the Judges choose? Promote that story on company Facebook page, as you end voting and send top ten images to Judges.

12. END THE CONTEST. Turn off everything and add graphic text announcing winner to website if possible.

announce the winners of the web contest, digital marketing13. ANNOUNCE THE WINNER! Get active and update old media and create press releases to end the story – tell readers who won and why. Secure picture of winner with the prize ASAP and publish that picture on client website or best possible place that you own and share from there. Get this picture ASAP, even if that means next day delivery by yourself or company intern. Use free or paid press releases which are published in newswires to share story of winner with picture of prize. Wrap up all active discussion forum threads and officially end the challenge story with who won and why and thank all participants. This is when you use press releases and be sure to highlight best contest story moments while retelling the timeline of events. Share your optimized picture with the bloggers. There are three perspectives for storytelling – 1) the contestants’ perspective on the judges, and 2) the judges’ perspective on the contestants, and 3) the sponsor’s perspective on the winner and winning entry. The best story will always be the most ‘famous’ perspective – it could be the storyful winner, or the famous celebrity judge’s thoughts and actions, or the spectacle in relation to sponsor… the brand and the news media story resolution of ‘who thought what, when, and why?’

14. IMMORTALIZE THE STORY – MAKE THE MEDIA LAST FOREVER Mash-up the media in the best tone of voice using 3rd party mash ups programs like http://Storify.com, http://www.HubPages.com , TheNewHive.com, SlideShare.com http://www.cowbird.com publish an account of the contest story using the best elements in these places, * or make your own stack.  Post the links to these mash ups on the company Facebook and Twitter page. The End is not the end, but the beginning of User Generated Content stack as it transforms into a valuable Resource Page, and as such could receive further optimization

Use third party mash up platforms to make links to sponsor web pages and link to the links to the sponsor’s pages. Try to tell the whole story of the contest on the 3rd party mash ups platforms from the perspective of the contestant, the judge and the sponsor.

Wiki worthy material should be left in the wake of the story event,

As recorded above, the hardest thing to accomplish is to engineer a repository of useful UGC content to serve humanity free for the next ten years, and this is also the very best result. When the contest ends, and the story’s over, exhausted, told in every way possible, a deposit of user submitted information should be left behind on the contest page or a nearby purpose built archival display system. This information was built by the contest participants and will be enjoyed for years to come by Internet researchers seeking information on a particular topic.  When the story ends, a wiki worthy attraction should stand in its place.