How to run an online singing competition

Shows like American Idol, America’s Got Talent, and The Voice have been drawing tens of millions of viewers for years — and even after all this time, there’s still undiscovered talent waiting to be found. Producers have adapted these formats for international audiences, including New Zealand Idol and Asia’s Got Talent, which draw hundreds of millions more viewers worldwide.

People love to sing, and audiences love to watch and root for their favorites. Singing competitions are a surefire way to generate massive exposure and engagement. If it makes sense for your company to align with this sort of event, hosting an online singing contest would be a great way to increase brand exposure and reach far beyond your current audience.

Here’s an in-depth guide on how to run an online singing competition.

Determine your goals

Though this guide will help you streamline your strategy and operations, running a contest like this will take considerable time and effort. Set clear goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) using the SMART goals method before you begin this process:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant). Make your goal specific — for example, you specifically want to increase your email list or your social media engagement.
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating). Define numerical values for these goals, such as doubling your email list or increasing engagement by 50 percent.
  • Achievable (agreed on, attainable). Try to double your email list rather than quadruple it.
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic, resourced, results-based). The goal should actually be worthwhile for your company to pursue. What would be the point of doubling your email list unless you have or want to create a robust email marketing program?
  • Time-bound (time-based, time-limited). Establish a timeline — for example, simply setting the date that you intend to achieve this goal by.

Thinking about KPIs in this way will help you better focus your efforts since you’ll have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish. Once the contest is over, it will be easier to analyze results and determine whether it was successful and how you can improve in the future.

Consult with your legal team

Before you formulate and announce your grand contest, it’s imperative to have a clear understanding of the legal ramifications of what you’re doing so you can either limit your liability or be prepared if something goes wrong.

There are plenty of resources online that provide one-size-fits-all tips about how to structure and promote contests, but it’s always better to get professional legal advice.

Choose a worthy prize

No one will fault you if your contest is unable to offer a record deal or exposure to hundreds of millions of people like American Idol, but a compelling prize will go a long way in attracting a large number of high-quality applicants.

Take stock of what your brand has to offer and how it can tie into the contest. If your brand is in any way tied to singing, music, or entertainment, there’s probably something very worthwhile in your product or service offerings that you could select as the prize for competition winners.

Other brands can offer prizes in the form of cash, trips, or exclusive experiences. Take stock of your brand and potential partnerships to find the best and most sensible prize you can offer.

Set clear eligibility requirements and rules

With a clear understanding of how to limit your legal liability — as well as how to meet your target KPIs — you’ll be ready to cement your contest rules and eligibility requirements.

Here are some of the points you might want to take into consideration:

  • Location restrictions (such as limiting the contest to a specific nation or state as opposed to holding an international competition)
  • Age restrictions
  • Contest dates
  • Judging criteria (Will you have a high-profile panel of judges, or will audience voting determine the winners?)
  • Number of winners
  • Barriers to entry (This would be an opportunity to collect emails if one of your goals is to expand your email list.)
  • Video submission method
  • Length and file size of video submissions

Lay out these rules with crystal clarity on the contest landing page.

Launch the contest

Once you’ve laid the groundwork, launch your contest and spread the word. Promote it on your social channels for organic exposure or create targeted ads to reach your target audiences. You might even create a shareable video to help generate hype and engagement.

If the prize or the hook of the contest has enough of a “wow” factor, you could even garner considerable media coverage.

Collect applications and demo videos through online forms

To streamline the application and submission process, you must put structures in place to collect information.

JotForm has a ready-made video submission form for entrants to upload their singing videos. You can tweak this template to collect the exact type of information you want (remember those KPIs) and reiterate the contest rules and eligibility requirements for added legal protection. You can embed this form on the contest landing page or link to it on social media or in your newsletter.

Choose the winners

The most fun part of the contest is when the entries start coming in. What you do during this stage depends on the type of contest you’re running.

If judges will review the entries behind the scenes, your primary job here will be to continue to hype the contest to drive more submissions and engagement.

If this is a contest in which audience votes determine the winner, it will be your job to promote the submissions as they come in and rally the entrants to share links with their networks and garner the most support.

You can set up vote collection through JotForm as well, particularly with the straw poll template. The JotForm Report Builder can tabulate votes in real time, and our live dashboard can display those results on your landing page.

Celebrate with your audience

When the contest ends, you’ll still need to do some promotion on your end. One person may win the grand prize, but the audience reward of finding out who won is just as important. You can also honor the runners-up and generate content about what the winner does with their prize.

Online singing contests are a powerful way to transform people’s love for music, drama, and competition into engagement with your brand. JotForm makes it easier than ever to collect submissions and keep your audience engaged every step of the way.

AUTHOR
Professional event organizer. Everything must go according to the plan. No, letting go is not an option. Sushi is.

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