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How to Run a Video Contest

Run a Video Contest

Here’s something you as a business leader should often remind yourself of: people love free stuff. Giving prizes away is one of the best ways to generate traction for your brand in the competitive online world, raise awareness and improve engagement, and of course, generate qualified leads. 

To bring people to your business and inspire them to take action, consider running an occasional online contest. And to change things up and create a truly memorable experience for everyone, make it a video contest.

And to enter such a video contest is simple.  People simply need to perform a specific action via video, and they qualify for your prize giveaway.

You have the opportunity here to create a truly one-of-a-kind experience for your audience — but you’ll only succeed if you take the time to plan, strategize, and implement the right tactics. So, without further ado, here are some key tips for running a video contest that will help you reach your goals and delight your audience.

Know your goals and objectives

If you’ve been in the leader’s seat for any amount of time, whether you’re leading a marketing team or an entire organization, you know that the first step to ensuring a successful project is setting the right goals. Why? Because setting clear and attainable goals allows you to work backwards through the tactics and steps you and your teams must take to achieve them.

Setting the right goals means wasting less money, time, and human power. If you’re unsure how to start setting goals, consider using the tried-and-tested SMART approach, which stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound
goals and objectives smart approach

Framing your goals and objectives within these parameters gives you perspective and helps you prioritize when designing a winning video contest.

You can then start considering the various goals you might want to achieve with your video contest. These can include:

  • Generating leads and traffic on your website
  • Increasing your social media subscriber list
  • Growing your subscribers on video platforms like YouTube 
  • Elevating brand awareness and word-of-mouth
  • Generating more sales (through specific or all your sales touchpoints)
  • Growing your email list
  • Boosting engagement and interactions on social media
  • Boosting the hype for your new product, service, or brand announcement

These are just some of the goals you might want to achieve through this contest. And once you frame your goals  in the SMART format, for example, you will better understand the right parameters you’re working within. 

The goals mentioned in the previous list are already specific. Go a step further and make yours attainable by setting milestones and KPIs, measuring and tracking performance, and putting each goal in a specific timeframe.

Run some surveys to get inspired

When in doubt, ask your followers and customers. There’s a lot you can achieve through various survey research methods, and when you’re organizing a video contest, surveys will allow you to generate fresh ideas.

Here are some questions you can ask your loyal customers:

  • What kind of videos should people submit? 
  • What’s the style and format you’re looking for? 
  • What are some of the talking points and what’s the key objective each submission should strive to achieve? 

Do you even know what kind of videos your audience members like the most and would want to create to enter the contest? Spend some time thinking about your audience before jumping into your contest, and your efforts will better resonate with them.

For example, there are some great vlog content ideas out there that you can use to inspire your online audience to create vlog-like videos to enter your giveaway. Vlogs are quick and easy to make as well, so your survey might tell you that this is the format you should go for.

No matter the type of vlog it is or if it’s any other video type, though, always make sure that the videos are highly relevant to your audience and your brand. For instance, if you’re running a non-profit that’s fighting to preserve an endangered species, video submissions shouldn’t be about the person’s favorite kind of cake.

Run detailed surveys to specify what’s relevant to you and your audience.

Decide on a theme for your video contest

When it comes to themes, there’s plenty to choose from, as there are many video contest types that can inspire and engage your audience. From video challenges to lip-syncing and beyond, you have the opportunity here to create something truly fun and memorable.

five genres of video

That said, you also need to make your video topics accessible and straightforward, because no one should have to jump through one million hoops to create a video for your contest. Some light editing is fine, but for the most part, submitting a video should be a simple process.

Here are some formats and video ideas other than the aforementioned blogs that you can consider:

  • A video challenge
  • Lip-syncing videos
  • TikTok dance choreographies
  • Fun facts and knowledge tidbits
  • Tutorials and short talent videos
  • Unboxing videos for your products
  • Singing videos

It’s always a good idea to promote the theme with an example of your own, so go the extra mile and create your own teaser video showing your audience what their submission should look like.

Help your audience create the perfect video submission

Brands can always do more for their customers and their audience in general. The more you do for them, the more they’ll do for you, so it’s always worth going the extra mile. In this case, as you’re preparing a video contest, you might want to educate your audience on how they can create the perfect video submission. 

tips for making better videos with your smartphone

You’re probably going to pick the winners at random, but that doesn’t mean that people won’t want to create some truly memorable videos. Now’s your chance to provide more value.

You can start by showing your users how they can edit their videos. Give them ideas, and share some free tools they can use.

For instance, Apple users have theiMovie editor, so you can show them how to use it. But Windows users might need an iMovie for Windows or an iMovie alternative to get the same functions and features, so you can help them there as well. 

Aside from the tools and how to use them, share some tips on how they can position the camera, work with the lighting, and set the stage for an amazing video.

These are just a  few of the small things you can do that will inspire and incentivize your audience to enter your video contest.

Pick your prizes and make them relevant

If your prizes include some branded pens and a few t-shirts, your video contest is destined to fail. Remember, everything is leading up to the prizes, and people are excited about what you’re going to be giving out to the winners. 

While you don’t need to give anyone a new Tesla, going beyond branded merchandise is a smart idea.

Luckily, there are many prize ideas you can explore for this and every subsequent video contest. Some of the prizes you could give out include:

  • Consumer electronics and household tech.
  • Gift cards for your online store
  • Free courses
  • Six months of free membership
  • A free product basket
  • Free educational content
  • Free shipping for a limited time
  • Partnerships and deals with select brands
  • Tickets for various events
  • An all expenses paid vacation

Remember, these ideas need to be relevant to your audience, your brand and industry, your location, the season, and you should even try to align them with various holidays and special dates throughout the year.

For example, if your contest is held around Father’s Day, then it makes sense to make the first prize a product basket for the dads.

Be clear on the rules and guidelines

You want to avoid misunderstandings and prevent any kind of negative feedback at all costs, so it’s important that you’re clear on the rules and guidelines. Don’t assume anything — instead, make your rules clear from the start and disseminate the rules and guidelines via email, DMs, social media updates, website updates, and any other way you regularly engage with customers.

Your audience should be clear on important details, including:

  • Whether or not there are any age restrictions
  • The type of video content you’re accepting
  • All the eligibility requirements
  • Whether or not there are any location restrictions
  • How to enter the contest
  • How you’ll choose the winner(s)
  • How and if people can withdraw their submission
  • Whether or not they can enter more than once

If everyone’s clear on the guidelines, you’ll have a much smoother process overall and are less likely to upset anyone. However, you should also make it clear that people can send you DMs, emails, or even call you with any questions they might have. 

Start your email campaign well in advance

There are many ways you can let people know that you’re organizing a prize giveaway, and one of the best ways to ensure people enter your video contest is via email. Your email campaign should focus on reminding your audience that they can win some amazing prizes, and it should also provide all the information they need to enter.

You want to send these emails well in advance, and give people enough time to think it over, create their videos, and enter your contest. Typically, if you’re collecting submissions over a full week, you want to start promoting the contest a month in advance.

Then, you should start sending out weekly reminders to tell people it’s not too late to enter the contest. In these reminder emails, you should provide additional value by helping them apply through the tips and ideas we talked about earlier.

Leverage social media to build hype

Of course, when it comes to building hype, social media is your best bet. Start posting about the contest a good month in advance to build hype steadily and give people enough time to spread the news. 

Shares, likes, and other interactions are great for boosting the visibility of your upcoming prize giveaway, but require time to gain traction and regular posting on all social channels.

social media use around the world

You should also make sure to diversify your content when promoting and building hype on social networks. Start with a video, but don’t shy away from traditional written posts, a nice infographic here and there, as well as custom images with CTAs and quality captions.

All of these types of content will appeal to different people in your audience and inspire them to like and share. Plus, having a diverse content offering is essential for optimizing your posts for different social media platforms, and you want to make sure you’re posting consistently on each.

Make sure to follow up after the contest is over

People have submitted their videos, you’ve chosen your winner(s), now what? Do you thank everyone for their participation and leave it at that? Of course not.

Your next objective is to capitalize on the momentum you’ve created and reach out to people while the whole thing is still fresh. First, run a comprehensive follow-up campaign. 

Use email and DMs to reach out to other participants and personally thank them for their amazing submission. Throw in a nice little discount as a participation trophy, which will inspire them to go to your site or just keep your brand in mind.

This is a powerful way to nurture leads after the contest and incentivize more participants to take action rather than feeling like their effort was wasted.

Track performance, learn, and improve

In the end, the last thing you want to do is to move on to the next contest without building on the previous one. 

First, always remember to use the previous contest to generate content ideas and turn it into blogs, videos, and infographics for your audience to enjoy.

Next, generate reports and analyze your KPIs to see what you have achieved and what you could have done better. Observe the results, and then map the tactics and steps you took to get them. Such actions will help you analyze each step and figure out what could have been done better.

Turn your findings into actionable, step-by-step plans for future contests, and you should have no problem achieving better results every time.

Here are some KPIs to keep in mind:

  • Number of participants
  • Number of likes and reactions on your posts
  • Number of shares
  • Email open delivery and open rates
  • Number of new email subscribers
  • Number of new customers
  • Number of repeat customers
  • Amount of new business revenue attributed to the contest
  • The total contest ROI
  • Website traffic via links
  • Website traffic after the contest

Over to you

A video contest is a powerful and engaging lead generation tool that you should use to take your business forward in the competitive online world. In 2022, you want to organize these prize giveaways in order to reach numerous marketing and sales-oriented goals and push your brand to new heights.

Follow these tips to your advantage, and always remember to leverage past campaigns to fuel every new contest and giveaway. 

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