How to promote a photo contest

Share the joy of Photography
Promote a Photo Contest
Promote Your Photo Contest

Your photo contest is setup, now what?  For starters, to get somebody to your contest there needs to be a reason.  It could be as simply as helping  a friend out with a vote or participating for a chance to win Big.  Some photo contest may even take it to the next level, targeting audiences that support non profits or professional photographers with paid participation.  Regardless of reason,  there must be a clear concise message to give a call to action.

After the captivating CTA is determined, think about what about what Advertising channels work well with your business.  Depending on the contest, certain outlets may work better based on industry.  Below is a list of ideas on how to promote a photo contest.  If you haven’t created your photo contest yet, go to and create a free account.

  1. Email Campaigns – Announce your photo contest in monthly/weekly/daily newsletters.  Don’t forget everyone loves to procrastinate. The contest Spring Through Photos more than doubled its entries on the very last day.
  2. Social networks – Announce your photo contest on Facebook, Twitter, pinerest, etc. Don’t forget about friends and business relationships.
  3. Sponsors – Find a photo contest partner to work with. Think of other business that you already work with on a daily basis. Sponsors are great with providing prizes and increasing exposure to target audience.
  4. Webpage – Share the photo contest link on high traffic company webpages, including strategic partners in similar industries.
  5. Press Release – Write a Press release and share it with the world.  Don’t forget the who, What, Where, and When.  Follow basic SEO practices and share, share, share.
  6. Blogs – Seek blogging opportunities that are related to the industry.  Look for blogs that allow guest blogging and if you are ambitious setup a blog tour.
  7. Public contest– If the photo contest doesn’t have limitations based on employees, camera club members, university, etc., set it up on a shared public platform.  A single platform with several contest allows the combined market efforts of several contest  The combined efforts on a Shared public platform only makes sense when your reach is limited.
  8. Print – Local business publications, newspapers, flyers. Take advantage of QR codes when promoting your photo contest in print.
  9. Radio and Television – Community announcement with local media.  Promote easy photo contest entry through an email attachment. Make sure your contest name is easy to understand and type in the subject line.  Preferable less than 7 characters.
  10. Brick and Mortar – Seek local business’s that would support/sponsor the photo contest.  Ask local merchants if you could setup a display, Kiosk voting station, post a flyer in the window or at POS.  Store fronts offer great opportunities to take advantage of QR codes and the ability to except photo submissions via email.
  11. Venue – Announce photo contest before and after keynote speakers, intermissions, and performances over the loud speaker.  Display slideshow of photo contest entries during the event on the big screen to entice participation.
  12. Mobile – Print a QR code on a flyer making smart photo entry as easy as shoot, scan and enter.
  13. Have Fun!!! – Use the contest as a creative and interactive approach to spread your message. Take advantage of the multiple voting methods available such as day, hourly, and unlimited to increase repeat traffic. The 2012 People’s Choice Award photo contest took full advantage of the one vote per day. This is dramatically increased repeat visitors, while adding a new element of excitement. Engage your audience, while making it something your target audience looks forward to whether it’s an annually, monthly, yearly, or seasonally event.

This list has helped promote many photo contests.  If you have any success stories or new ways that worked for you, please share.  Any input you can provide other photo contest goers the better.


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