Stephanie offered to follow up her February post, Contests and Authors, with today’s post on entering contests to not just analyze your social networking strategy, but to learn to use it to promote yourself and your books.
Welcome Literary Publicist Stephanie Barko.
Winning Contests, Part II
Today I’d like to revisit the topic with a special focus on a particular aspect of winning contests. Lately it has become popular among contest sponsors to use the contest as a vehicle to create incoming traffic to the sponsoring website. If you enter a contest that requires a popular vote prior to the editorial judging phase, then those votes are being used to create web traffic for the sponsor. This is a highly effective device on the part of the sponsor because they benefit from everyone who enters the contest, regardless of whether players ever pay an entry fee or submit an entry.
If you have a significant opt-in list, and/or Facebook and Twitter following, there is no reason why you cannot win a writing contest that requires a popular vote. All you need to do is motivate your following to vote.
Who & How To Ask for Votes
The first people you want to ask to vote for you are those who are hardest to reach and those who are the least computer literate because they will need the most lead time to complete your request. The last people you want to ask are the ones you can instant message and Tweet.
Anyone you regularly pay money to is fair game and anyone who owes you a favor is low hanging fruit. If you know someone gregarious who works in an office, you may be able to motivate them to get their entire office to vote for you.
During the last few hours of a contest, there is typically a flurry of activity to rack up votes. This is when you begin to understand the value of Facebook Chat, where you can ambush your Friends and provide them a link to vote for you. You may want to offer incentives for people to drop what they’re doing and vote for you, like copies of books you’ve already read or any freebies you have lying around. You can check the fine print in your contest, but it’s not likely that you will find language which prohibits reasonable incentivizing to gain votes.
Make sure that you thank every person who votes for you. Offer to vote for them and return the favor. You may want to ask your voters to ask their following to vote for you, (especially their Twitter following on the last night of the contest).
Why Voting is Important
In contests like this, voting is the ante for making your piece eligible for editorial judging. It may be the top ten vote getters, for instance, that will be judged. All the rest of the players are just driving traffic to the sponsor’s website, so read the rules and know what the sponsor will be doing with your friends’ contact information.
Entering a voting contest will show you where the strengths and holes are in your social networking matrix. You will learn the value of the social sphere in your marketing mix and each platform’s unique capabilities. You may already be a good writer when you enter this type of contest, but to win it you will become as good at social media as you are at writing.
Thank you Stephanie.
Although Stephanie has many award winning clients, she also works with traditional publishers and their authors, small presses, and recently published authors. You can visit Stephanie at Authors' Assistant or at the blog, The Author's Assistant.
You can also ask her questions here today. Just leave a note or a question in the Comments section.