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Video Competitions – Get Your Online Party Rocking!

Attracting user generated content (UGC) is an efficient and cost effective way for brands and publishers to fill their sites with entertaining or informative video or photo content, writes Andrew Petherick.

By Andrew Petherick

Whether you’re running a competition or an online audition, attracting user generated submissions from consumers or readers can be a challenge if not well thought through first. Here are some tips you can apply to your campaign to draw more content from your website visitors.

Make it Easy

Don't make consumers or readers think or work too hard; make it fun, engaging and easy. Most consumers have now got a mobile video camera. Get them to capture the everyday within easy reach, such as "Video your garden and win a patio set", “Air guitar God? Win tickets to AC/DC”, "Show us why you need a new car".

Babies and pets also work brilliantly; consumers love uploading video of either doing cute or silly things. We’ve worked with one brand that’s run two massively successful branded video competitions simply titled “Most Lovable Pet”. Video competitions of this nature also generate huge amounts of comment and votes from other web users.

Experiential and Luxury Prizes

While a huge cash prize can bring in a tonne of video content entries, you’re also going to encourage entries from professional competition entrants.

In our experience, offering an experience or product is more likely to get a brand’s core consumers excited and involved. Music fans will sing into their webcam, remix a video or create an original tour poster if it gives them a chance to meet their favourite band, get the limited edition box set or win an autographed guitar. Families will enter en-masse for a chance to win a trip to Disneyland, often with hilarious and really engaging content.

Attractive Association – Keep it Happy

Consumers or readers shouldn’t be encouraged to be negative to enter, even if it’s unintended. For example "Tell us why you love XX Telecom Customer Service" or “Show us why you like XX Rail” are bad ideas and should be avoided; although we can introduce a monitoring facility, user generated competitions should encourage informative and entertaining content as opposed to presenting opportunities for abuse!

Take Advantage of Social Networking

With our UserGen competition tool, when entrants upload their video, a link is automatically posted to their Facebook stream. When someone else comments or votes, they can instantly tell all their Facebook friends. We’ve seen huge referral numbers from Facebook on our UGC campaigns. We can show you some great examples of how to get the most out of Facebook Connect.

Multimedia Commenting

Allow competition entries to be commented on by others and better still, allow those comments to be multimedia – you’ll significantly increase the volume of engaging photos and videos on your site. For instance, a hair products brand could encourage readers of a magazine to upload images of their best bed-head; other readers of the magazine could then comment on any entrants with video or picture showing theirs, and so on.

Be Relevant

Know what makes your audience tick – do they like to get involved, do they join in or spectate? These days, growing an online community organically can be challenging. Forrester’s Consumer Technographic Profile Tool can be useful for figuring out what makes your audience tick if you don’t know already.

Generating high quality user-generated content and multimedia is a great way of bulking up the volume of entertaining content on your site and by applying some of these tips to your next campaign, competition or community discussion, your consumers and readers will be having the time of their lives thanks to your brand or competition.