How contests can power your content marketing

What do you want your content to do? Increase the number of customers, engage those customers, make them loyal to your brand and… the list goes on and on.  Without even hearing the rest of your list, I can tell you that I know what will help: it’s called content and reward based marketing. You’ll be surprised how contests and rewards can power content that will help you hit several objectives at once. But first, let me tell you what it is.

Contest and reward marketing involves promoting your product or service through an online or offline competition. There are several types of contest you can run from user-generated photo contests to quizzes and games. A reward or prize will encourage participation and show you appreciate your customers.



Archer holds his bow aiming at a target

Social contests can hit your customer engagement, awareness and loyalty objectives.

The steps to launching a contest and reward campaign

Just as with every good plan, adding contest and reward campaigns to your marketing strategy requires you to follow some important guidelines to ensure your efforts are effective:

1. Decide which kind of contest you want to launch. Again, you have many choices: photo contest (upload your best photo with our product, with a new use of our product, vote for the best photo etc…), quizzes (answer correctly these 5 questions and get the chance to win a trip to Mexico), games (earn points to win our new make-up set), and so on.

2. Give it a theme or a name. Users need to be attracted by a short and catchy name which they can easily remember and share on social media. You might even think about a hashtag so that your contest is seamlessly integrated into social mentions.

3. Choose the channel. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or all social platforms, the important thing is to make sure you launch the contest with the right format and with the specific features each platform requires.


Remember to set start and end dates for your contest

Remember to set start and end dates for your contest


4. Set a timeline and a deadline. Users need to know the time span the contest will be running and a deadline makes things even more exciting since people feel compelled to participate before the chance to win expires.

5. Spread it. Be sure you advertise your contest and grow every opportunity for it to spread through word-of-mouth. Additional rewards can act as a way to encourage your customers speak about the contest because they want to.

How to reward your customers

Rewards are what makes the contest exciting and customers willing to participate. Rewards can be of different kinds as well: they can be tangible, like a giveaway or an actual product from the company, they can be experiences (a trip, a tour of the company…) or they can be personal rewards like online or/and offline exposure (for example sharing photos of the winner on social media).


Blue first place winner rosette


To better understand, here some examples of successful contest campaign which involved different types of rewards:

  • As part of its “Turkey Bowl” Thanksgiving campaign promoting hyperwarm clothes, Nike gave users points for social sharing and time spent and features used in-app. These points could then be redeemed for product giveaways and gift cards.
  • As part of its “Small Business, Big Game” campaign Intuit invited small businesses to share their stories. Over the course of the contest several grants and other incentives were given to participants, with one small business receiving the final grand prize of a fully produced and paid for Superbowl ad.
  • For its “Thrown Back Thursdays” campaign, Expedia prompted Instagram users to tag their old vacation pictures with #ThrowMeBack in order to win a trip to the location of the photo and earn the opportunity to recreate the memory.

The advantages of a contest and rewards campaign

Now that you’ve set up your competition and chosen your prizes, what can you expect to get from this type of campaign? There are clear advantages that come from engaging and rewarding your fans with a challenge.  A contest can:

  1. Increase brand engagement and awareness
  2. Strengthen brand loyalty since it makes customers came back to your site
  3. Spur word-of-mouth and brand promotion when customers refer your campaign
  4. Expands your fan base and acquire new customers
  5. Gain a significant amount of data about participants



Want some help getting a contest started?

Find out how easy it is to build a powerful contest campaign with GroupAd!