By Guest Blogger, Donna DeClemente, Donna's Promo Talk
I will be one of the many bloggers making tracks to BlogPaws West starting tomorrow. This conference will be attended mostly by pet bloggers which is taking place in Denver on Sept. 9-11. Yvonne is one of the founders of BlogPaws and you can read more about it in her BlogPaws West post that she wrote earlier this week.
Now I am a pet owner and lover, I have two dogs, two cats and taking care of my daughter's chincilla while she's at college. But I'm not a pet blogger. I write a marketing blog and I will speaking at the conference on Saturday morning on the same subject that I spoke about at the first BlogPaws 2010 event that was held in April in Columbus, Ohio, "The Nuts and Bolts of Contests, Sweepstakes and Promotions". This time Simon Tonner, VP Marketing at Dogtime Media, will be joining me and share some of the promotions they've done for various advertisers.
Now I hadn't managed a contest in a while and this was the first contest I did utilizing the Wildfire Promotion app which allows you to run sweepstakes and contests on Facebook as well as off your website or blog. I've run many sweepstakes with this app and I think it's a great self-service tool for bloggers that would like to run promotions.
I consider myself a pretty experienced professional when it comes to running these types of interactive promotions and have consulted many companies and individuals who want to run them. However I have to admit that I did learn a few things from this one.
First off, as I had heard from others running similar contests, people wait to the last minute to enter. The longer you have a submission period, the longer people put it off. It's human nature to wait. We received many of our submissions in the last 24 hours, some close to the midnight cut-off. We had discussed extending the submission period because of lower than expected entries, but glad we didn't. I advise my clients not to change the rules once a promotion starts as it could make all the rules void if you do.
The second thing was actually more of a confirmation than a learning. When you run a video contest in which you are asking for specific content, i.e. why you want to come to BlogPaws, don't expect a huge turn-out. Creating a video like this takes time and some expertise. It's not as easy as just submitting a video of your pet doing cute tricks. So if you want quantity, make it easier. If you want quality, make it more specific to you. Also make sure all those involved know this upfront or they may be disappointed.
Next I learned that you need to be prepared to provide technical help for the uploading process. The Wildfire app gave people two choices to upload a video: 1) either submit a video that you have already uploaded to your YouTube account, or 2) upload the video from your computer which will end of hosting it off your Facebook page. Wildfire doesn't host the videos, so they have to exist online either on Facebook or YouTube. Those that were trying to upload a video from their computer without being logged-in to their Facebook account were not having success.
However, the great thing that I learned about sponsoring a video contest is that it's worth all the work when you receive the videos. I was surprised at how entertaining and creative some of these submissions were. They brought smiles to my face and some even made me laugh out loud.
So congratulations to Stacy Kowalchuk and Angie Bailey, our two grand prize winners who each won a trip to BlogPaws West. I invite you to view their winning videos here on our contest page. They received the highest number of votes from our pet community. I can't wait to meet them in Denver. See you all soon!