7 Easy Steps to Winning a Blog Contest – It’s Not Just About Pure Luck

March 19, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park  

winnerOver the past 5 months, I’ve developed a reputation as “the contest guy”. Not only have I started some crazy contests that have created a ton of buzz, but I’ve also won a few of them myself. For instance, I recently won a free pass to Affiliate Summit West, an honorable mention in the Bruce Clay SEO Charity contest, and a free pass to the Elite Retreat being held in San Francisco next month. In addition, I beat out Tyler Cruz in a little competition we had where I was clearly the underdog. Not bad if you ask me.

So how do I do it? I’m not really a believer of luck and I think the right strategy can help you to make the most of the contests you enter.

I’ve put together some tips that will help you get started. Read through them and apply them to my latest HUGE contest – The Craziest Internet Marketing Contest You’ve Ever Seen. They might help you win out on March 31. πŸ™‚

1. Assess the risk-reward ratio

First of all, analyze the contest and determine whether or not it’s really worth your time. The 3 most important factors are:

  • prizes & incentives
  • time, effort, and resources necessary
  • chances of winning

Look at the prizes. Do you really want what the contest is offering? Can you make use of them? A lot of times, blog contests pump up the value of the prize pool with subjective advertising, points, and services. What’s more important is how much the prizes are worth to YOU. If they’re valuable to you then it’s worth giving it a shot. Some contests come with a lot of intangible value other than the actual prizes as well. The exposure received and the relationships built can be huge. For example, defeating Tyler Cruz in a competition and being mentioned on Bruce Clay, a top SEO agency blog, definitely gave me a big push.

Another thing you should consider is the amount of time and effort necessary to enter into the contest. Obviously if it’s going to take a significant time commitment from you to win, it might not be worth the effort. Opportunity cost is too great as you could be doing something a lot more productive with the resources you have available.

Finally, assess your chances of winning. If the contest is held at a smaller site, your chances of winning are probably great. If the contest is a random draw on a huge site like Yahoo, it’s almost guaranteed you lose.

2. Just try

Sometimes it just doesn’t hurt to try. A lot of people may think they have no chance of winning and therefore don’t even bother participating. What they don’t know is that a lot of people are thinking the same exact thing. This happened during John Chow and Rocket Profit‘s contest for 2 free Elite Retreat passes worth over $10,000. Out of John’s 20,000 RSS subscribers, only 15 people participated. Huge missed opportunity for everyone, but better for me ’cause I won. πŸ™‚

3. Analyze what you’re up against

If the contest you are considering is performance-based, it might be wise to size up the competition and see what you’re up against. That way you’ll be better equipped to gauge the time and effort necessary to come out on top. For the John Chow/Rocket Profit contest, each participant had to write up an article on how they would promote an affiliate offer to make money online. Many who took part posted their links in the comments section and I was able to use them to my advantage.

For this very reason, I suggest you stay under the radar until the results have been finalized. That way, no one will be able to see what you’re doing and outdo you.

4. Be active in the community where the contest is taking place

One of the main benefits of a blog or forum contest is the community aspect involved. Sure the prizes can be great but the networking opportunities and the chances to connect with other people are even greater. You’ll be exposed to new potential partners, sponsors, and customers. Plus you can do a little sucking up to the contest administrator and develop a relationship in that way.

5. Give it all you’ve got

If you’re going to enter into the contest, why not give it your best shot. An exceptional effort is more likely to be noticed than something sub-par.

6. Make good use of your contacts

If the contest involves voting or a popularity factor of some sort, it’s time to leverage your sites and your contacts. Get your friends and fans to support you and reach out to new people you’re connected with to help you out. It’s a great opportunity to develop relationships and increase your exposure.

7. Win the prize (or don’t be a sore loser)

Hopefully you win the prize, but if not, don’t be a sore loser. Nothing looks worse than someone who cries about losing and acts like he’s entitled to 1st place. Assuming that the contest host is honest and you’ve given it your best shot, there’s really nothing else you can do. Cross your fingers, hope for the best, and chill out with some of the new contacts made.

Cheers and good luck! If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out the Craziest Internet Marketing Contest You’ve Ever Seen. The contest has over $12,000 in awesome prizes that will be distributed to winners in a random draw on March 31. Don’t miss out!

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Posted in Articles, Contests
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Comments

36 Responses to “7 Easy Steps to Winning a Blog Contest – It’s Not Just About Pure Luck”

Meethere on March 20th, 2008

And I am participating for the same reasons – Try Try…

πŸ™‚

Michael Heindel on March 20th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Compared to what some people have to do to win a prize, this contest is painless.

Michael

Andrew Pavelski on March 20th, 2008

It really is… plus there are so many prizes to win AND the prize pool keeps getting bigger πŸ˜‰

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Andrew Pavelski on March 20th, 2008

That’s a huge key Meethere: TRY πŸ˜‰ When you try, you at least increase your odds!

 
 
Michael Heindel on March 20th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Good tips on running and also on winning an online contest.

I figure my odds here are good and the prizes are huge. Not to mention the attention people will get when they win.

Greadt Job!

Michael

 
Jcyreus on March 20th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Great tips from the KING of CONTESTS…look for Jcyreus in the winners circle on 3/31 doing donuts around all those suckers who choose not to listen. πŸ™‚

Good luck everyone!

Andrew Pavelski on March 20th, 2008

I’ll hopefully be doing some donuts with ya πŸ˜‰

 
 
Eric Nagel on March 20th, 2008

2. Just try

Good first step. I saw a contest cross my inbox for a iPod Nano and took the 10 minutes to answer the questions in the email and sent it off. About a week lated I was notified that I won!

Michael Heindel on March 20th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Cool Deal! I am going ot have to start entering more contests.

Michael

 
Andrew Pavelski on March 20th, 2008

Cool Eric, thanks for sharing your story πŸ™‚

 
 
Eric on March 20th, 2008

Ok, I like winning, but how do you get a prize list like that? I’d love to give away 12-grand worth of stuff without paying for any of it.

Michael Heindel on March 20th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Momentum. The people donating the prizes see how much exposure they get by being part of the contest.

Michael

 
Andrew Pavelski on March 20th, 2008

You’ve gotta develop a solid online reputation, learn to develop friendships, and ask people to sponsor your contest. All of which Gyutae has talked about in prior posts πŸ˜‰

Michael Heindel on March 21st, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I think standing out is also important. If there are 10 requests to sponsor a prize for a contest, you need to stand out as the one they choose to sponsor.

Michael

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The Story Lady on March 20th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I appreciate this post very much because you set it out in a well crystalized way that makes sense.

I have not done any contests until this year. Now I’m in the WinningTheWeb crazy contest AND I’m a contestant in Top Affiliate Challenge, where you can visit http://www.RondaIsA10.com to vote me a 10! So I’m jumping in with my whole self right out of the gate.

The best part to me is the community building aspect, because if you like what I have to say, then perhaps you’ll mention me on your blog or forum or whatever.

Ronda
The Story Lady

 
Dave Weinberg on March 20th, 2008

Great tips. Sometimes its juts a numbers game. I have a friend who enters online contests for an hour EACH DAY! Every time I speak to him, he has won something new, its incredible.

Andrew Pavelski on March 20th, 2008

Awesome Dave. You can’t win if you don’t enter and the more entries you’ve got, the better chance you’ve got πŸ™‚

 
 
Michael Heindel on March 20th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Based on the value of his prizes, what is his hourly rate? I love contests, but couldn’t see that it is worth doing an hour a day compared to working for the money to buy the prize item.

Michael

Andrew Pavelski on March 20th, 2008

Yeah, this would be very interesting to find out πŸ™‚

 
 
Wisdom on March 20th, 2008

Good tips and thanks for the contest.

 
Andrew Pavelski on March 20th, 2008

Hey Gyutae, refreshing post. I think this contest is definitely worth my participation because I think that I’m going to win πŸ˜‰ I believe that participating more will increase my luck!

Michael Heindel on March 21st, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

No doubt more participation increases the odds of winning.

Michael

 
 
Thuan Nguyen on March 21st, 2008

Great insights. Thanks!

 
Gerri on March 21st, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I have noticed that you have won a number of contests that are really worth winning and I wondered how you were doing it. Thanks for sharing a few tips on how you have gone about it. It can get tiring entering too many contest and I usually dont unless it is really worth it.

 
Irish on March 21st, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Gyutae, I think this is the hardest contest I’ve ever participated. I know I didn’t join a lot of contest before…But in this one I really have a lot of competitor.

Wisdom on March 22nd, 2008

There are a lot of prizes to be won though. So I feel like a lot of people will win something.

 
Michael Heindel on March 26th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

There are more people in this contest then there were a few days ago. But there are a ton of prizes to be won, so there is still a chance. Figure it is free to be a part of the contest anyway.

Michael

 
 
California Web Design on March 22nd, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

It’s fun to play, not everyone can win, but I sure will try myself.

 
Jake Cohen on March 22nd, 2008

So true…. I actually won a contest on DigitalPoint, and I used many of these methods. Thanks for refreshing my memory though!

 
Jason on March 25th, 2008

Ya, this contest is pretty easy considering the amount of prizes being offered. When you held your first John Chow contest, I expected to see someone guess the answer after the first week. I thought there would be hundreds of people taking their guess. Turned out, I actually guessed the right answer (just didn’t have the guts to use up my one guess). I was surprised that I actually stood a chance.

Michael Heindel on March 26th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Many others probably did the same thing. Life is too short, enjoy it.

Michael

 
 
Erica DeWolf on March 26th, 2008

Incredible post. There have been SO many new contests popping up lately that we can’t participate in all of them. This post helps us figure which contests to focus on.

 
zaki blogjer on March 26th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I have so far won only 1 contest. Good tips you have there

 
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