Online Contests Benefit Newspapers

It is well known retail brands employ contests to boost interaction with consumers. We have all seen and entered contests running on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Newspaper publishers can also benefit from online contests in several ways. Running a contest can increase engagement with your audience, boost revenue and allow collection of valuable user data.

Being the voice of a community gives publishers an opportunity to partner with local businesses to offer giveaways, event tickets and even subscriptions in exchange for email addresses, interaction on social channels and increased exposure. Keep in mind publishers directly benefit from traffic to their web properties. Hosting contests on your website provides more benefits than hosting your contest on Facebook for example.

Not only can publishers ask for contestant’s email addresses to enter their contest, but the contest page can be shared on any social media platform sending followers from social to your website. After a user enters your contest, the site can direct them to relevant content upon completion. Remember to use a simple sign up form that takes users the least number of steps possible.

Statistical data tell us 1/3 of contest entrants opt into receiving emails from brands and partners. Asking a local business to sponsor a contest is one way to increase ad revenue while benefiting from a boost in web traffic and social media followings. The paper could pitch a local florist on a Valentine’s Day Contest for example. This brings other opportunities such as sending emails on behalf of the business after the contest ends.

According to HubSpot, new campaigns increase audience size by an average of 34%. HubSpot also tells us the optimal time frame for running a contest is either 25 or 60 days. Establishing a contest calendar is a good way to plan campaigns over the year. Be careful not to crowd the calendar with too many contests. Avoid diluting your campaigns by competing against each other.

Entertainment and music are two of the top three sectors that leverage contests effectively. Publishers should pursue local events and offer to partner as a media sponsor. Ticket giveaways are a great way to attract new readers. Local events gives publishers an opportunity to write content about the festival or music concerts and mention the contest.

If engagement is your goal, try a photo caption contest on social media. Do your images get a lot of interaction on social? A photo caption contest may be a great vehicle for driving engagement higher. Keep in mind images with more than one dominant color perform better than monochromatic images.

Try a few different types of contests and see what works best for your community. Analyze data and determine which contests are working best. Types of contests you may try include:

· Giveaways

· Photo caption

· Share contest with friends on social

· Essay contest

· Vote Contest

Remember to keep your sign-up forms simple, track your results and offer data sets to local business partners as a means of offering value and increase repeat customers. Best of luck and have fun!