12 ideas for Christmas competitions

At Sunday’s Blog On Xmas event in Manchester, I presented a session about running prize promotions for bloggers. I talked about the importance of working with brands and agencies you trust, tailoring your giveaway dependent on prize and objectives, writing a clear set of rules/T&Cs, and ensuring your winner gets their prize! 

In addition, I also suggested some festive ideas for a prize draw or competition. If you’re a blogger, it’s easy and predictable option to use Rafflecopter or Gleam – but for events and holidays, it can be nice to make the effort to stand out amongst the crowd. Pitching a creative competition idea to a brand or PR agency could be the start of a great relationship!

Creatve Christmas competition and contest ideas

Here are 12 ways to run a free, festive prize promotion on your blog, website or social media.

1. Daily Advent Competition

Still the most popular Christmas prize promotion amongst brands! A new prize every day – the prize draws could be using a free app like Rafflecopter or Gleam, or a simple retweet or comment on social media. It’s hard work to set up though – with 24 different prizes and winners to organise. However, your Advent competition is guaranteed to be picked up by websites like Competition Database and MSE, meaning it will get thousands of entrants!

Tip: why not launch a new giveaway every day, but leave each one to run for a month? You’ll get extra closing date traffic for each one! 

2. Twelve Days of Christmas

If the idea of 24 separate promotions is a step too far, you could go for half the amount, launching a ’12 Days of Christmas’ set of daily giveaways on either the 1st or 13th of December.

Tip: schedule the launch for the ACTUAL 12 days of Christmas, starting on December 25th – when all the other promotions have tailed off, yours will grab people’s attention!

3. Christmas Wishlist

A Christmas wishlist competition can work in lots of different ways, and it’s great for beauty, clothing, home, kids, or food brands. Ask entrants to view a range of products and choose one or more for their Christmas ‘wishlist’. Entrants could create a Pinterest board, an Instagram slider of photos, tweet photos, regram their most desirable item, or share a link to a wishlist they’ve set up on a brand website. The benefit of a wishlist comp is that entrants will be checking out the promoter’s products, and may well end up shopping for those items!

Tip: use a unique hashtag and share wishlists as entries come in

4. Photo

Asking entrants to share Christmas photos is fun, and most people are able to get involved as they’re likely to have suitable photos on their phone or tablet. You could ask for entries on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram – but it’s better to choose one entry method as tracking entries could get tricky across all three!

There are lots of themes you could use for inspiration: Christmas jumpers, present wrapping, trees, lights, mince pies, elf fancy dress, advent calendars… You’ll need to decide whether to choose your winner at random or judge the entries – you’ll get more entries if you choose at random! If you decide to judge, you need to state criteria (funniest, most creative, etc) and get an independent judge on board to hep you choose your winner.

Tip: Make sure your T&Cs state that the entrant must own copyright of the photo and have permission of anyone who features in it.  

5. Craft

Christmas crafts are super popular, and if that’s something you enjoy, it could be a lovely theme for your festive promotion. Entrants could create tree decorations, Christmas cards, advent calendars, wrapped gifts or knitted items. With the effort involved, it will need to be quite a high value prize.

Tip: host your own blogger competition and add a ‘linky’ to your competition post so bloggers can share their entries (these could also go onto a Pinterest board).

6. Facebook

It’s easy to run a simple Facebook prize draw – ask people to like a photo, and leave a comment, answer or photo (don’t ask people to Like a page or Share a post – that’s a breach of Facebook T&Cs). Find out more in my post How to run a Facebook competition.

There are so many Christmas questions you could ask – a common one is What’s your favourite Christmas film/song/memory? Competitions where you share a selection of photos and ask entrants which they prefer and why are popular!

Tip: use the Fanpage Karma Good Luck Fairy tool to choose a random Like or Comment from a Facebook post.

7. Twitter

Twitter giveaways are usually badly administered, simply because the character limit means it’s difficult to get in essential information like the closing date/time and any important T&Cs. It’s better to ask for a reply with a unique hashtag, rather than running a simple ‘RT & Follow’ prize draw. Even better – ask people to get creative and tweet you festive photos, wishlists, poetry or jokes that you can retweet! Check my post on How to run a Twitter giveaway for a step-by-step guide. Use a great Christmassy photo with the word WIN and pin the tweet to the top of your profile.

A Twitter party can be lots of fun too – an hour-long session of fast-paced Christmas themed chat, with giveaways either during or after the event. Use a unique hashtag – and ask me to add it to my Twitter Party Calendar!

Tip: Use Tweetdraw to choose a winner at random from retweets or hashtags 

8. Kids

Ask kids to write a letter to Santa, draw something festive, video them wrapping gifts or sharing their wishlist. You could even design your own Christmas colouring sheet (or ask the kids to do it!) for them to print out.

Tip: if you can stretch to two prizes, award one to the most creative entry and one to a random entry – then every child is in with a chance of a prize

9. Recipe

Christmas is a great time to get baking! How about offering a prize to the most original recipe for festive chutney, mince pies, festive sandwiches, or party food?

Tip: Don’t forget to use Google Reverse Image search to check your winner’s photo is original, as food photos are often ‘borrowed’ to cheat in comps!

10. Facebook Live

If you’re confident on camera, why not turn your competition into a Facebook Live video? They get thousands of views and are a great way to reach a new audience and increase your page likes. You could use the video to review the prize!

Tip: Tracking comments and choosing winners in real time is difficult and can be controversial, so it might be best to pick a winner from everyone who commented during the live broadcast.

11. Post-Christmas

The period between Boxing Day and 2nd January is extra quiet in comping land, because the Advent comps are over, and brands won’t be back at work until after the New Year! As a blogger this is a great time to take advantage of all those people stuck at home, eagerly looking for comps to enter. Launch your giveaway on 26th or 27th December and you’ll get lots of interest.

Tip: You can still use a Christmas theme, for example asking people to share photos and stories of their best/worst/funniest gift – or turkey leftover recipes!

12. New Year’s Resolution

A New Year’s resolution competition is a great, positive start to the year, and you can launch it just after Christmas. This is a nice opportunity to focus on what your readers get out of your blog, and how you can tailor your content to entertain and educate them in the year ahead. For example, I might ask my readers which software or app they would most like to master in 2018 – and I’ll do a tutorial video for the most popular!

Tip: Give away a prize tailored to your winner’s resolution. Could you provide a prize like a blog critique, 1-on-1 Skype session, personalised fitness plan, etc?

Hopefully this will give you some ideas to do something different this Christmas. Let me know when you launch your festive competition – and check out my post on where to promote a competition for tips on ensuring it’s a success!

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1 Response

  1. Melissa Lee says:

    Thank you Di. This has given me lots of new ideas. I was planning on running some sort of advent series of comps (I did one a couple of years ago and it was really good fun as well as successful). I think I might switch it up a bit now. I love the Christmas wishlist idea!

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