So You Wanna Do a Video Contest?

How many of you during a brainstorm or planning meeting have come up with the idea of doing a user generated video contest? I am willing to bet that almost everyone that is reading this post has either been in a meeting where the idea has come up or you have worked on one. Video contests can be a great way to involve your fans, build exposure for a brand or event, or to gain ownable content for future use. While there are many vendors and in-house developers who can design and build these contests pretty turn-key, there are a number of other elements that go into planning and executing a video contest.Having just worked on one, I wanted to share some lessons learned that I think others could benefit from.
1) Utilize existing customer/member base to directly communicate about the contest. While advertising and PR will be critical to the campaign, do not underestimate the power of direct communication with an existing customer or loyalty base. Plan out a cadenced stream of communication to the same customer base you would send any other information.
2) Provide customers and employees with information to share with their circles. Draft a brief “elevator speech” with the key points about the contest as well as some pre-written Facebook/Twitter posts they can push out to their personal networks. This information should include how easy it is to enter.
3) Reach out to influential bloggers. Don’t neglect key influencers in your industry who can also help spread the word. Offer them an incentive to share the information with their readers.
4) Make it fun and easy for people to enter. Offer customers, prospects or employees a video contest “kit” that includes a flipcam, instructions to enter and different ways on how people can enter. For example, encourage a group of customers to hold a happy hour where people can meet up, network and record a short message to enter the contest.
5) Register your contest in online contest directories. Believe it or not, but since social contests have become increasingly popular, there are online directories where you can go and register your contest for free. Users online looking to win are often checking these lists daily.

These are just a few of the tips that I found useful. Would love to hear from others what has worked for them!