How A Video Contest Can Help Your Brand Go Viral

If your company doesn’t have any branded video on the web and you want to build an online video presence quickly, one of the fastest ways to get started building a buzz around your brand is by hosting an online video contest. An online video contest can get you tons of great video content, free promotion, and a shining reputation on the social web for little or no cost. Sounds good, eh?

Why Online Video Contest Are So Great

Consider this: You reach out to all of your customers, users and supporters to let them know that you are having an online video contest. All they have to do is make a creative video that illustrates why they love your brand so much and they could win…an iPad or some other cool in-demand gadget or device, cash, a trip, the opportunity to be showcased on your website, or some other great prize. They’ve got one month to create their video, upload it to YouTube or to your website and get as many “likes”or votes as possible. The contest entrant that gets the most votes wins. Now ready…set…go!

What happens next? Your customers – the people who already know and love your website, product or brand – get to work, like Santa’s elves, making the best videos they can to promote your product because, after all, you are offering a great prize. Not only do they create great videos, but once they’ve uploaded them they share them with all their friends through all of their social networks – Facebook, Twitter and beyond – because they want to get as many votes as possible for a shot at winning the big prize.

Contest entries start making the rounds, your brand name gets out there, and people become interested in who you are, what you do, and the fun contest you’re sponsoring. And yes, it really is that simple. Although, of course, it will require the proper planning and implementation to make your video contest a success and if you don’t plan ahead your contest could wind up a disaster, so be sure to heed the tips below.

Planning Your Contest

So now you know that you want to organize an online video contest to start building a buzz around your brand, but where do you get started? We’ve put together a helpful guide to take you step-by-step through the process of planning and launching your video contest.

Step 1: Come Up With A Theme

The first thing you need to do is come up with a theme for your contest. Do you want people to create a video using your product? Tell a story about the first time they used your product? Make a comedy sketch about your brand? Answer a series of questions? ChapStick currently has an online video contest going on called ‘Your Ode To ChapStick’ in which they’ve asked Chapstick lovers to write their own song about the lip-smacking lip balm.

Try to come up with an idea that will inspire your contest entrants to be creative. After all, the more creative the videos the more viral they will be and the more successful your contest will be.

Step 2: Come Up With A Prize

This is important. Without a good incentive nobody will enter your contest. Unless your website gets a huge amount of traffic (like The Huffington Post or New York Times) then odds are nobody is going to care if the only prize you are offering is that you will showcase the winners on your homepage. However, if you can offer something really fun, like a flight out to your company headquarters in the Caribbean, a sought-after gadget or, if all else fails, cash, then you’ll entice people to enter.

Additionally, if you’ve got a bunch of runners-up prizes then more people will enter. If there is just a single prize then people may think, why even try? Someone is bound to make a better video than mine. But more prizes equals more chances to win. Chapstick is offering one grand prize winner $5,000, two runners up $1,000 each, and 10 finalists a year supply of ChapStick. Thirteen people will win something, which is pretty good odds compared to a lot of other contests. And who wouldn’t love a huge box of ChapStick, right?

Step 3: Provide Branded Materials & Media

Don’t be shy. Provide contest entrants with media to help drive them in the direction you’d like them to take. You can offer them a selection of music tracks to use in their video, images and branded graphics like your company logo, titles and more.

Step 4: Promote Your Contest

Once people find out about your contest and start creating entries then they’ll start promoting for you, but you’ll have to do a little promotions of your own in order to let people know that you are hosting a video contest.

So how should you promote? For starters, you should make a video of your own to promote the fact that you are having a contest. The video, like the ChapStick video above, should be displayed on your website or on your contest page and outline the rules of the contest. Your video doesn’t have to be high budget. It’s enough to have someone stand in front of the camera and talk. However, you do want your video to look professional so investing in someone to help you with the lighting, shooting, sound and editing (if necessary) may not be a bad idea.

You should also consider having people within the company create a few contest entries to start things out. This will help give other users ideas for their own entries and will also prevent your contest from looking unpopular. Of course, these videos won’t be eligible for the prizes.

In addition to a video you’ll also want to write out the contest rules and make them easily accessible. Then it’s time to let your customers and fans know about your contest. Promote it on your company’s Twitter and Facebook page (if your company isn’t on Twitter and Facebook then you’ve got some bigger fish to fry than a video contest); email users to let them know you are holding a contest; post a link to the contest on the homepage of your website. This will get the ball rolling.

You’ll also want to continue to update your follows on Twitter and fans on Facebook as the contest progresses. Announce which videos are in the lead; promote your picks for the best videos; and remind people to vote!

Step 5: Reap The Benefits

Sit back and watch as the videos roll in. Of course, some of them probably won’t be very good, but in most contests there are at least a few diamonds in the rough. Remember that even though you have pre-determined prizes you can choose to reward more people in the end and continue to use their videos to promote your brand. Aside from that, even the videos that didn’t win will stay online to spread the word about your brand.

It is important to note that if you are looking for more professional online video about your brand you can create a contest on a crowdsourcing site, where more experienced video makers and designers will compete to create outstanding video content, design content and more for your brand. Also, if you are looking for inspiration, check out the YouTube Contest page to see what kinds of online video contests other companies are running.

Have you run an online video contest in the past? Let us know about your experience in the comments.