5 Tips for Running a Successful Codeword Contest

by Matt Hummert Second Street

Add a codeword field to the registration page.

When you are building the registration page, keep it simple, like you would for any sweepstakes (try to limit yourself to just these fields). Once you have the rest of the registration page set up, then add a single text field for people to enter the codeword.


Run the contest for 4 weeks.

If you have a TV, radio, or print component, running the contest for four weeks is ideal. This is a contest with a high barrier to entry, so you want to run it and heavily promote it for several weeks. Oftentimes, these are daily contests with a new codeword and prize each day.


Make your codewords relevant and memorable.

The best codewords are short, memorable, and related to the programming or the advertiser. It’s best to keep your codeword to a single word or two, rather than making it a longer phrase. Also, make sure your codeword is something your audience will be able to spell! Here are a few ideas:

  • SUNNYDAY for a codeword announced during weather programming
  • ROADTRIP for a codeword contest sponsored by a car dealership
  • HAWAII for a codeword contest offering a trip to Hawaii as a grand prize

Announce a new codeword and give away a new prize every day.

The most successful codeword contests give out one codeword per day, and offer a chance to win each time a new codeword is announced. This encourages people to return to your programming day after day, because the more they watch or listen, the more chances they have to win.

Give the codeword during programming you want to grow audience for.

If you want to increase viewership during your morning news, announce the codeword during the morning news. If you want more listeners during morning and evening drive times, announce the codeword then. Just be sure to give it out at the end of the programming so that people watch or listen to the entire segment!


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Matt Hummert Second Street

Matt is a Customer Success Manger at Second Street. He works with our partners to help them succeed with engagement campaigns, and is also our in-house expert on running successful ballot programs.