Digital Marketing FREE TIP #4 – Give Away Rewards, Prizes, Freebies By Organizing Online Contests To Get Instant Results

Let me start with an example and success story of mine. I have been writing blogs for several years now. It is not easy to generate readership to your articles, no matter how informative or useful they are. You will get a limited number of and specific readers to it.

But few years back I did one experience which brought immense and instant traffic to my Limca Book Award winning blog Not only that, after its success story, I also started a Facebook page and to my wonders, within couple of months, and without doing anything to promote the page or to get more likes, it received more than 10000 likes on its own! Isn’t it great?

How did it happen?

Well, what I did was started a contest. A simple contest. I started a contest on the topic of “Caption the photo“. Nothing new or unique here, right? But to my wonders it worked outstandingly compared to my long informative articles. What I would do is post one photo every week on my blog and then ask the readers to give the most matching caption to it. And I would give away free books and other prizes to top 3 winners. Now, everyone likes free stuff, not because they cannot afford it but there is hidden psychology of ‘winning’ something. Competition awakens our adrenaline. Moreover, there was nothing technical about the competition and hence more and more people could participate in it. All they had to do is give a proper and matching title to the given photo.

And about photo: I had asked my readers to send photos that they themselves had taken in the camera. So this also became a motivational part at the readers’ point of view. Who wouldn’t like his/her photo being captioned by number of people? So this also created much involvement from readers.



Every week, I would decide 3 winners and then give away prizes to them. This was getting great response as well as traffic to my blog increased at least by double. I think I ran this contest for 10 weeks or so. And I also found some sponsors who would like to sponsor the competition by giving away books and other prizes. So you can see that it was a totally a win situation for me – free traffic, sponsors, popularity of my blog and what not.

Here’s a screenshot of captions that won the prizes in one of the caption the photo contests.


This was literary the easiest part from my side. I did not have to research or think anything. Instead, simply sit back and watch the involvement. In fact, I was feeling damn happy seeing my blog readers having fun. And the kinds of different captions that were coming from the readers were indeed highly interesting. This was all about being creative.


I have created few pages on Facebook on various topics but it took great efforts to even get 500 likes to them. I then applied the same formula of organizing a “caption the photo” contest on Facebook page by creating a separate page for it by name “Photo Bole Chhe.” It was targeted to specific language audience who know Gujarati language. This page is still there and receiving regular likes but as I have been busy in other works I no more do organize the contest there.

But you can see that how such an engaging idea can bring you great response.

What are some best ideas for online contests to get instant and genuine traffic and regular engagement?

Depending upon what you love, thinks of simple ideas for different types of contests and competitions. You can search Google for the same and you’ll find many. Some of the most common and simple online contest ideas are:

1. Photo caption Contest

Upload a photo and ask people to give a short caption-title to it. Declare the best 3 titles as top 3 winners and give away prizes.

2. Essay contest

Give a topic and ask people to write an essay about it in a limited number of words, say 300. Best 3 essays get the prize.

3. Selfie contest

One of the easiest contests! Ask people to take a selfie in particular mood or doing some particular activity like having meal, selfie with santa, selfie with parents etc.

4. Best advise content on a given problem

This can be the most intriguing contest as who doesn’t like to give advise? Put up a topic, a problem and ask people to share their advise on it.

5. Cute pet contest

Cute Pets

Cute Pets

Another easiest contest. First you choose 3 photos of pets – dog, cat, horse etc. – and then ask people to vote. Photo with maximum voting gets the prize. You can choose photos from same category of pets or mixture of it.

6. Thought Question contest

Put a question which makes people think! And ask them to write what they think about the given thought question. The best 3 answers do get the prize.

Thought question

Thought question

7. Give away product-a-day or a-week

This is another easiest stuff to get the engagement. You simply give away a product-a-day or a-week. All that people have to do is either enter their e-mail address or do something simple.

8. Like to win / Share to win

You can do this on social media. Simply ask people to share your post or like your post and choose randomly the winner. And give away some prize.

9. Cute Baby Photo Contest

Another intriguing contest. Simply put 3-4 photos of cute babies and ask people to vote. Or you can also ask parents to upload their kid’s photo and the 3 photos with maximum votes gets the prize.

Cute Baby

Cute Baby

10. Best Photo on a given topic contest

These days everyone has a mobile phone with camera. So give them a topic for photography. Say, photograph with friends, photograph having meal etc. Then ask them to upload it. The photo with maximum votes gets the prize.

Where should I organize such contests and competitions?


You can do it on a blog and on social media as well, most preferably a Facebook page. I would recommend starting it with a Facebook page. You know, Facebook is the gold mine of people. More than 1.86 billion people are on Facebook so you can start there. Once your page starts getting engagement from people, you can think of starting contests on your own website/blog too.

How to earn money through online contests and competitions?

You should not focus on earning money at the beginning. Rather focus on creating a community. Once you’ve steady community participating in your contests and competitions, there are various ways to earn money. Some of them are:

  1. Sponsorship: You will find companies who would like to sponsor your competition. In return, they would get promotion and branding. You can charge an amount for the same.
  2. Google Adsense: If you’re running a contest on your blog, you can earn with advertisements there like Google Adsense.
  3. Selling Products: You can think of promoting related products and earn as an affiliate, commission.

What does it require to be successful with the idea of running online contests?

Three things:

  1. Continuity: Once you start, there is no looking back. You can not stop contests and have a gap in periodicals that you’ve started with. In fact, you should focus on increasing contests with the passage of time. This is a psychological matter. In case, you do it randomly, chances are that people will lose interest in your stuff. They must feel that you’re doing it regularly and hence they will keep coming back to you.
  2. Creativity: Aah! this is the most important factor here. Be creative. Think in advance that what people will really like and go crazy about. Your success totally depends upon engagement from people, so you must think creatively and offer intriguing contests only.
  3. Initial funding: Well, companies won’t come to you initially, so you need to have an initial funding with you so that you can purchase and give away prizes to winners of your first few contests. Give away useful prizes. Just don’t give craps. Some of the things you can give are: Books, Gift items-showpiece, Mobile Recharge, Wallet, Purse, Mobile phone, Other electronic gadgets, Cash, Travel tickets, Movie tickets, T-shirts, Travel bags, Movie DVDs, Gift cards, Chocolate and Sweets, Imitation Jewellery, Watch, Power Bank, Seasonal item, Stationery items and so on.

So can I expect to know from you that what you think of this article as there is no prize if you do so? 🙂

Note: All the images used in this article are 100% Royalty FREE Images.

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