7 Tips for Creating Awesome Video Contests

by Julie Foley Second Street

Make the rules and expectations clear

You want to be clear from the beginning about who is eligible to enter, how to enter (including cut-off dates and times), and any video requirements. Here are some common questions that you should be sure to address:

  • Who can enter?
  • Do entrants need to be above a certain age?
  • How many videos can you submit?
  • Can videos be submitted any way other than by uploading to the contest?
  • How long should the videos be?
  • Is there a file size limit?
  • Which file formats will be accepted?
  • Are there any recommended file sizes or formats?
  • Can the videos have graphic overlay?
  • Are there any specific requirements for the video content?
  • Are there prizes? What are the prizes?

Have a fantastic prize

With the higher barrier of entry, an awesome prize will ensure your contest will be a success. Consider prizes valued at over $500 like music or band equipment, trips and getaways, exclusive experiences, or even cash. For CIFM-FM, the winner of their video contest received an invaluable prize – to be one of the opening bands for rock music group, Finger Eleven. The contest received over 40 entries and a whopping 11,300+ votes.

Video Contest Winner Opened for Band

Make an event out of entering

For talent video contests, call for submissions at live events. You can set up a step-and-repeat featuring your company and record the videos right there. This is a quick way to get submissions and lower the barrier of entry for the people who attend. Plus, this is a great way to help advertise your contest.

For the Citizen Tribune, their “Oh Say Can You Sing” video contest was sponsored by Food City, a local grocery store. Entries were recorded on-location and each video prominently featured the sponsor.

Video Contest Recorded at Sponsor's Location

Build a brand

There’s a good chance that your video contests can live on year after year. If you want these promotions to become annual events, it’s important to create a logo, make the contest memorable, and promote like crazy.

KNXV-TV’s Salute to Arizona Veterans was a huge hit with the their community and can easily work every single year as Veteran’s Day approaches.

Salute to Veterans Becomes Yearly Tradition

Promote. Promote. Promote.

As with any contest, you want to promote video contests heavily via email and social media. And what better way to promote your video contest than with a video! Fox 50 created their own example Lip Dub video. Not only was this a fun and creative way to promote their contest, but it was also helpful to show their audience what they should do.

Turn your videos into future content

Don’t let your contest end when the voting ends. Announce your winner’s live on-air as well – this can make a great video to share across social. You could also consider using the videos as on-air content during your normal programming or as special content on your website or on different broadcast channels.

This Dance-Off video contest by WFMB-AM featured local high school dance teams in a chance to win $900. The contest was a huge success being in over 160,000 votes.

Dance Off Video Contest Generates 164K Votes

Check with your legal team

You want to make sure you won’t end up in trouble for, say, using copyrighted music. We’re not lawyers, so all we’re advising is that you check with yours. Also, if your video contest is aimed at minors in school, like a high school dance team video contest or Athlete of the Week, it’s a good idea to get approval from high school principals or the school board first.

So, while it’s true that video contests can take more initial planning and promotion, the rich engagement that they foster and the audience that they drive to your website makes them well worth the effort.

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