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competition copy

How to write a killer competition copy

August 20, 2015

Running a competition is a great way to boost brand awareness, gain valuable backlinks and even increase sales.

It’s good to be creative when you’re coming up with the entry requirements and prizes, but there’s a good formula to effective copy.

Check out my tips for writing killer competition copy below.


There are three trusty headline formulas when it comes to competitions:

  • WIN [prize] courtesy of [brand name]!/WIN [prize] from [brand name]!
  • WIN [prize] worth over [£x]!
  • WIN [prize] for [occasion]

It’s always a good idea to start with WIN, as people immediately recognise it as a competition — and who doesn’t want to be a winner?

When referring to the product, think about the words/features that are most likely to excite your target audience, and remember that it’s best to keep your headline short and sweet. Unless particular specs or product numbers will catch their eye, leave them out.

  • Polaroid IE826 18MP Compact Digital Camera in Black > 18MP Polaroid Digital Camera

To maximise brand awareness, include your business name in the headline.

  • WIN a [prize] courtesy of [brand]!
  • WIN a [product/service] from [brand]!

Money talks, so if your prize is worth a decent amount, it’s well worth pointing it out. This is also a good way to give bundle giveaways a bit more punch

  • WIN an Apple iPhone 6 worth over £600!
  • WIN a gadget bundle worth over £350!

If your competition can be tied to a particular occasion or event, put that in the headline to further incentivise entry.

  • WIN a Tiffany necklace for your valentine!

If there’s more than one prize up for grabs, say so: people recognise that there’s a bigger chance of winning, so they’re more likely to click through and enter (and you’ll look more generous).

  • WIN 1 of 5 LEGO sets in time for Christmas!

The all-important opening line

Many people will decide whether or not to enter after reading just one line, so you’ll want to get a brand mention in there. You should also talk about the prize, use ‘you’ to grab their attention, and be infectiously enthusiastic.

If your brand isn’t well known but the host site is, using a ‘teamed up’ format can help establish trust in your brand and products.

  • You could be in with the chance of winning an incredible four-night, five-star family holiday to sunny Spain, courtesy of [brand name]!
  • [Host site] and [brand name] have teamed up to give you the chance to win a kids’ garden playset in time for the summer holidays!

Get their imaginations going

Getting people to imagine owning a product is a trusty sales technique, and using it in competition copy can boost both entries and future sales.

Write a couple of sentences about the prize, then talk about what the reader could do with it. Ask questions to get them thinking about the benefits of ownership.

  • How would you spend your £200 Topshop voucher? You could fill your wardrobe with stylish knits and stay snug this cold season, or treat yourself to a knockout dress for the work Christmas party. It’s totally up to you!

The closing sentence

Your closing sentence should be a call to action that succinctly explains how to enter. Tip their cost-balance analysis in your favour by emphasising how easy it is to take part, and reiterating how great the prize is.

This should go before terms and conditions and entry forms, in bold to make it stand out. Include your brand name so seasoned competition entrants who’ve scrolled straight to the important part don’t miss it.

  • To be in with a chance of winning this gorgeous makeup set from [brand name], take just 30 seconds to fill in the form below.

Want to know the most successful types of posts to write about in your industry? Get in touch using the form, or call us on 0191 809 0704

Written by Ian

Ian joined the team as Venture Stream’s SEO Manager after the purchase of fellow agency Flow. He has worked in digital marketing for the past seven years, specializing in SEO, SEM and CRO.

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