Contests as a promotional tool (again)

20 Mar

After reading some of the comments to my previous piece (over at Karen’s blog), I realized that I didn’t make myself very clear—or perhaps it’s that I pointed out issues I see without giving alternative solutions. Allow me to correct that oversight here with some other ideas—including those suggested by other readers who commented *tipping hat to you, guys, thank you*

= Flexibility –set a beginning and end date for the readers to participate, but give yourself a few days after that to post winners (e.g. “Contest open from Monday morning to Tuesday at midnight, blog-time; winners announced on Friday;” or “Contest open only (day of post) and winners are announced through my monthly newsletter”—or any combination or variation that works for you.)

= Be clear on the parameters of the contest (e.g., Only one entry per household; cheaters will be automatically disqualified; winner(s) agree to post an honest review at a blog/reader forum/your choice—see Shiloh Walker’s rules here and her contest disclaimer here, for example)

= Be clear on parameters of delivery for prizes, both when announcing the contest and the winner, and perhaps even when communicating with the winner(s) through email (e.g. prizes are mailed once a month/every two weeks; allow so many weeks for delivery; please contact me if you haven’t received your prize by –so many days/weeks after correspondence- etc.)

= Apologize in advance for potential forgetfulness or delays when announcing the contest (I could have sworn that I saw that somewhere at Shiloh’s blog, but of course now I can’t, for the life of me, find it–however, she did say something to that effect at Karen’s blog), or if you are indeed late (Jody Lynn Copeland does it here, and Sasha White here.)

= Enlist a family member or friend to remind you of contests and giveaways, and/or add scheduled reminders on your computer’s calendar and/or cell phone.

= If running contests in a multi-author blog, perhaps find if one of you is better at (and willing to) keep track of contest deadlines/announcements for the rest (I’m sure there are suitable bribes for this).

Any reader or author out there with more ideas? Please share!

(I will touch on the courtesy or professionalism/generosity vs promotion issues raised in another piece soon.)

If you noticed that I mention Shiloh Walker’s blog and contests a few times in this one… 😀 That is because I happen to think she has this down pat.

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