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Oh, if only it were so easy. Online competitions and giveaways can be found just about anywhere on the web these days, but the chances of winning them are usually pretty slim. Even MakeUseOf has giveaways every month, and we receive mountains of emails asking for us to make exceptions — to just give one little Android phone, or iPhone, or ASUS PC away.
But we can’t do that. What we can do is throw a few tips at you to help win competitions and giveaways, but please do not view this as a guarantee that you’ll win anything. All we can do is help — not promise.
Don’t Enter Fake Giveaways Or Competitions
This is probably the most blunt tip that I can give you, and I actually debated with myself as to whether or not I should write it. “This will sound stupid,” I thought. It does, but it’s also incredibly practical.
There are loads of fake online competitions and giveaways out there on the net, and by entering them, you are pretty much just wasting your time. Stupid Facebook posts saying that “if you like this picture, you are eligible” are obviously just a shenanigan, and ads promoting similar contests are a surefire way to sign yourself up for some spam.
With that said, only enter competitions that are sponsored by a relatively trustworthy source. I hate to toot our own horn, but MakeUseOf is probably the best example I can provide for this type of operation. Not only do we actually follow through with our giveaways — we post pictures of the winners with items on our Facebook page, too.
Do Enter As Often As Possible
A fisherman goes out with a small net, and he catches about twenty fish. His friend goes out with a much larger net, and he catches about fifty fish. See where I’m going with this?
The bigger your reach in the online competition and giveaway world, the better the chance you have at winning; it’s as simple as that. You should enter several competitions and giveaways at once, but don’t let your life get away from you.
Taking that into consideration, it might be a good idea to keep track of every single competition or giveaway you have entered. Set up a Google Docs spreadsheet that will provide you with the necessary information you need to know what all you have entered.
It’s hard to enter as many contests as possible when you are fighting spam and scams all the time, so with that said, protect yourself. Don’t use your personal email address to sign up for these things.
Make sure you develop a contest email address (something like email@example.com) to keep yourself in the loop without compromising yourself to various entities. Regarding the necessity to share Facebook and Twitter links — something that MakeUseOf actually does — just be sure that the company you are allowing to post for you doesn’t obliterate your profile and your friends’ feeds with tons of posts. That, my friend, could get very annoying.
While giveaways and competitions essentially are product promotion, there is such a thing as abuse of consumers. It’s a “give a little, take a little” kind of operation — not a “give a little, take away the entire online social life of the person who signed up for your contest” scheme. You should expect such websites to play fair.
Adapt Your Skills
Many online contests require a ton o’ writing, but unfortunately, most of the Internet’s populace isn’t too keen on writing lengthy essays about themselves. But for some reason, all people do is write while on the Internet. Get some perspective!
Regardless of what you may think, you likely have all the skills you need to enter an online competition. If you are a horrible writer but a great conversationalist, write your masterpiece as if you are chatting with someone. Bad speller? Write your piece and have someone proofread it for you. On the other hand, you may be a magnificent writer — in that case, just make sure you follow the guidelines put into place by the contest-runners.
Read the guidelines! Don’t break away from the mold, in this case. Judges will have enough of a time looking at every entry, and if yours is too different, it will be very easy to throw out.
Of course, not every contest is going to be about writing. No, no. Now that would be silly. With that said, just find your strong suit, and jump in. Furthermore, you may be overwhelmed with the thought that thousands of other people are entering this same thing. Don’t worry. They are thinking the same exact thing, too, and for most of them, this is enough to keep them from entering.
The title may say that there are four tips, but I tried to include as many tips as I could throughout this article. I can’t guarantee that you’ll win these kinds of things, but I can guarantee that your entries will be better. Furthermore — especially with skill-based competitions — if you are looking and trying to improve, guess what? You will.
What other tips do you have for winning online competitions and giveaways? Have you ever won an online competition or giveaway?