Meet the compers: Carolyn Wilman
Welcome to the second of my ‘Meet the Compers’ series of interviews! This week I’m chatting to Carolyn Wilman (the Contest Queen), who I discovered several years ago when I started subscribing to her ‘Winning Edge’ newsletter and podcasts. Carolyn is one of Canada’s top compers – or contestors! – and like me, also works as a consultant to help brands run successful promotions. She organises seminars and webinars on winning, and has appeared on TV in TLC’s High Stakes Sweepers show. You can find Carolyn at www.contestqueen.com.
When did you start comping?
What type of prize promotion do you enjoy most?
Promotions that have experiential prizing (one of a kind opportunities) – and those that challenge me, like hourly giveaways.
What’s the biggest prize you’ve won, and how did you win it?
I won a trip to the 2010 Winter Olympics in my ex’s name. It was sponsored by Wonder Bread and you could enter once per household every day to win a pair of Olympic red mittens. I would alternate our names, and his name was selected as one of the grand prize winners – you can read about the trip at www.contestqueen.com/2010/2010-vancouver-winter-olympics/
Which websites, forums, magazines or resources do you use for comping?
I just switched and use Red Flag Deals. I have hundreds of free resources at www.contestqueen.com and plan to add more when I redesign my website in the fall. I tell people to check out many different sites and styles for themselves: websites, forums, groups, blogs, etc. and pick what they like. When you are having fun, that’s when you win. The minute it feels like work, stop! I also use my smartphone to enter as I don’t always have time to enter via computer – I find many competitions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that way.
What’s your favourite prize, and why was it so special?
Meeting Sting. Do I really have to say more?! (PS. He smells great!)
One of the most wonderful things about sharing competitions and tips is when your readers get in touch to tell you about amazing prizes you’ve helped them win – do you have any stories to share about your readers?
Yes – I’ve written a post all about this at contestqueen.com: ‘I have helped others win over $1,000,000 in prizes!’
What do you think the future holds for comping?
I think it will become more and more mobile along with more UGC (User Generated Content) promotions as companies want to engage their prospects and customers – a throwback to 25 words or less. I highly recommend the book and movie The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan (this is an excellent true story about Terry’s mum Evelyn, one of America’s top slogan-writers and winners – Di).
On ‘Winning for a living’ you’re filmed browsing the neighbours’ recycling boxes for competitions (I do this too!) – what extremes have you gone to in order to get a receipt or qualifier for a competition?
I call it PIN code hunting and that is about as extreme as I get. Also, there are less and less of those competitions in Canada as iCoke (aka MyCokeRewards in the U.S.) closed in April.
Last year you organised the ‘Secrets to winning sweepstakes’ tour across the US, hosting comping workshops. What kind of people did you meet on your travels?
Amazing ones. Some I had known for a long time. Some I had only met once before. Some I only knew online. If you expect the best from people they rise to the challenge. As that trip took me through 17 eastern states, I would like to do another tour taking me around the western U.S. one year.
Is there a prize you’ve tried to win but it has eluded you?
You work with promoters on their contests – what advice do you give them for running a successful and fair promotion?
Do not run voting contests! As a marketer I would like to see more advergames as they engage the entrant with the brand, product and/or service. As an entrant I would like to see more text and Twitter contests as I can enter them on-the-go from my smartphone.
What would be your top comping tip or piece of advice?
Read the rules and follow them!
Thanks so much for your time Carolyn – and good luck winning that car!
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