Are prizes good for PR?

chantalcooke240Many of my clients ask me if they can offer competition prizes to magazines as a way of getting more PR. So is this possible and is it a good idea?

Yes it is possible, but it is not as easy it may seem.

Most media outlets are not desperate for competition prizes so you need to offer something decent. Many will have a minimum prize value, often a few hundred £s. Some of the bigger outlets make a charge for running a competition; this can range from around £100 to a few thousand, depending on the outlet. And you will still be expected to provide a prize worth a reasonable amount of money. Not all outlets will share the details of the entrants with you, and those who do, often make a charge for this data.

So you need to think carefully about the prize. Will it be attractive enough to draw people to the competition, is it worth enough to satisfy the outlet and will it actually bring you any benefit?

So let’s look at the latter question now. There is no doubt that competitions can get you in front of a big audience and they are an opportunity to showcase your product. But it can take time to see any real return. Many people are serial ‘compers’ and are only interested if the product is free as a prize. They aren’t necessarily ever interested in buying it. Those who are will almost certainly wait until after the competition to make a decision about buying, in case they win! And the data you get may be good for one email, but you will find many people unsubscribe immediately, as they were only interested in winning, not in buying.

That said, offering a decent competition prize is a way to get into larger, higher profile outlets. It does give you something to talk about on your website and in social media and you can use a screen grab, or jpg image of your competition, within the magazine, on your website too. This is a way to align yourself with a bigger media outlet.

So think carefully about this strategy before you embark on it and be sure you are realistic about your expectations.

Chantal Cooke is an award winning journalist. She writes for national newspapers and magazines and can regularly be heard on the radio, including the station she co-founded, PASSION for the PLANET. For more PR advice visit: www.prdemystified.com

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