Running a Content Contest

by Bill Schroeder

Very frequently, I am met by practice owners and managers who are eager to reach their local pet owners, but don’t understand how to get started or what content will be most impactful. I often suggest that practices look inward and release the genius insight and knowledge that is often bottled up in team members in all roles. A content contest can help to get the inspiration and creativity flowing. Running a contest solves this issue while strengthening bonds within the practice, sharing the workload, and recognizing the unique viewpoints of those who make up the practice brand.

Here are 5 tips to run a smooth contest within your practice:

Make Gathering Ideas Easy

While some practices will opt to use online content organizational tools like Trello or Google Docs, others have found great success in using good old-fashioned, giant post-it notes. Regardless, I suggest that you create a space that is accessible to everyone in the practice with categories for each month of the year. Encourage team members to write their content idea along with their name and the date of the idea on the particular month.

Give Ideas Time to Develop

Many practices fail to recognize the time it takes for ideas to “rise to the surface” and develop. Most use brainstorming or round table sessions to gather ideas, and while this can be a great exercise to involve the team and generate quick ideas, something as important as a year-long content calendar should span a much longer period…perhaps a month. Doing so will allow for the creative juices to flow, raw ideas to mature, and inspiration to occur from day-to-day practice life events/interactions.

The Team Votes

After the content contest is over, the team votes on their favorite submissions, one vote per month per team member, they cannot vote for their own idea. The person who earned the most votes wins a substantial prize…maybe a $100 gift card or an extra paid day off for every content month that they win.

Task and Plan the Content Creation

Assign the content development for the winning idea to the team member who won the contest, being certain to provide enough time (months) for them to complete the project. Make in-house subject matter experts available for interviews and guidance. Consider designating a single person who will review content for grammar, accuracy, and brand alignment.

Organize Peer-Led Training

With your well-developed content in hand, I suggest that you schedule a monthly peer-led, practice-wide training session so that all members of the organization understand the subject matter and are on the same page regarding the content that will be shared with the public. Doing so and providing talking points around such will increase the likelihood that the effort will morph from plain content to an initiative that is driving the desired outcome.

A Content Contest Can Help Your Practice Reach Its Fullest Potential

Your team is your greatest asset. Involving them in the process of content creation can lead to a stronger team bond, which filters through the work they do and how they communicate with your clients. This makes your practice more cohesive, knowledgeable, credible, and trustworthy to local pet owners.

If you’re ever unsure of how your team members can help you develop the messaging for your practice and build stronger ties with your clients, consider the idea of a content contest. This type of exercise shows your team members that they are valuable and have something essential to contribute.