Running a Twitter Competition – Part 1: Preparation & Promotion

Last week I announced the winner of a week long twitter comptition to win one of five copies of Author Plus. The plugin is currently undergoing some rennovations and feature additions, so I thought it’d give a few copies away to generate interest in the site and the blog. Furthermore, it’s easy content as I can talk you through the process of giving stuff away and what I learnt and didn’t learn. To get next week’s wrapup post, please subcribe via email to this blog, you can do this below. Don’t worry! We’re going nowhere, and we’ll be back when you’ve signed up.

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Deciding the Prize & Entry Requriements

Deciding the prize was easy enough – it would be a copy of Author Plus. I made the concious decision to not include installation along with the plugin (the Author Plus Installation Service is the “upselling”, if you will, of the plugin), largely due to time constraints at the moment with my life. Instead I offered more than one version to hopefully generate more entrants. In hindsight I probably should’ve offered a first prize which included the installation.

To decide the entry requirements to win the plugin, I wanted to make it simple, easy yet beneficial to me. I have run competitions before and seen competitions ran before and seen that entry requirements, even for big prizes, need to be quite simple and a low amount of work. Nevertheless I don’t want it to be a complete waste of time, so I thought a “tweet and follow to win” (yes I did check, more on that in part 2!).

Clicktotweet made the process of tweeting even easier for entrants.

When writing the competion posts was careful not to include “over $xxx+ of prizes!”, I felt it looked tacky. Instead I introduced the prize, why it was worth winning and how to win it. I included a direct twitter link so people could easily click on a link to tweet the competition tweet (this was provided by Click To Tweet). Surprisingly I got very few tweets that deviated from it! More on why I didn’t accept these entrants in the next post.


To promote the contest, beyond the initial “me tweeting it and getting a few people entering”, I did use some of the following tools, services and techniques to get some pretty decent coverage:-

  • Calling in Favours & Bargaining Chips – I’m lucky to know a few active twitter users in person, so a quick tweet with a smiley face (or even a bought beer with another of my mates) worked well to get a few more retweets and entrants. I also seemed to receive an obscene amount of people asking for help with various things. I assisted, but asked for a tweet in return. Many were happy to oblige.
  • Targeted DM’s As I’ve blogged about on here before, whilst retweets can lead to a massive amount of traffic, actually asking for them in public followed by “Please RT” can lead to very few retweets. I know people who activel block the phrase “Please RT” in their twitter client! Instead, sending targetted DM’s, even inviting them to enter the competition, does work a lot better.
  • Blog EngageProbably my biggest refferrer throughout the competition, and easily the source of the most entrants, Blog Engage is a Digg-like site aimed at bloggers. With a bit of persuasion and downright begging, I got onto the “recently popular list” for about 24 hours. It sent me a lot of traffic and a few entrants. Marvellous!
  • Win WP Stuff – Probably my third or fourth biggest referrer but the source of more entrants than those two combined. Win WP Stuff does exactly what it says on the tin – you can win WordPress Stuff. It’s a fantastic concept and one that I am going to subscribe to. If you give away WordPress plugins or run WordPress based competitions, you need to subscribe to this!

Stumbleupon Paid Discovery was a little disappointing.

What didn’t work

  • Stumbleupon Paid Discovery – In all honesty, whilst it drived me a bit of traffic, it didn’t send me loads (a comment high up on this post from ViperChill brought more!). Furthermore, the traffic was least engaging of all traffic. I’m tempted to try Stumbleupon Paid Discovery again (got another idea for it), but it didn’t really work for the competition.

Anyway that wraps up part one. Part 2 will be posted next week with how I decided winners and final thoughts. To get a copy of it when it is published, please subscribe to my blog below.

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Thoughts? Questions?

This was my competition and what I think is important to share with you. Have you any questions on what I’ve said so far or want anything explaining? Please let me know in the comments!

More to come next week!


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