Over the years, I’ve won many tie-breaker competitions. About twenty thousand pounds worth of prizes if totalled together. On top of this, I was able to travel to many different countries for free, including Florida, Arizona, Spain, St. Lucia and even a stay in an old English castle-like hotel.
Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not boasting, but I’d like to tell you that these tips work and that I’m not ranting on without any proof of backing these tips up.Â In this post I’d like to give you the secrets to winning these competitions. Who knows, maybe you can win a lot more than I have by adapting the methods I’m about to describe.
Tip 1: Research The Product And Company
I have put this as the first tip as it is the most important tip of all. If a product has had improvements, or the company is keen for their customers to pick up on a unique aspect or selling point to do with their product, they will be over-the-moon to see it worked into a tie-breaker. For instance, if it’s a soft drink company, you might find out that they have a new shaped bottle, or have increased the volume of their beverage by 10%, or maybe a new bottle cap design that makes it easier to open etc.
Tip 2: Search Out Hard To Find Leaflets
Spend time looking in the corners of your local store for a hard to find tie-breaker competition, as this cuts the odds down by eliminating some of the competition. The best types of competitions are the types that are hard to find and that don’t have a simple system of entering. Perhaps one where you have to buy a product and send the receipt off for example.
Tip 3: Read The Rules Of Entry
Read the rules of entry carefully, especially in the small print. Just one little violation of the rules and the judges will toss it in the bin. In fact, sometimes I think that they make it deliberately finicky as they are then able to cut the judging time down by throwing out the entries that are not up to spec.
Tip 4: Make Your Tie-Breaker Stand Out
Look for a unique edge when it comes to wording your tie-breaker. Bear in mind that there will be thousands of rhyming tie-breakers and copies of previous hackneyed tie-breakers flowing in to the competition judges. Like a salmon, try to swim upstream in the opposite direction to others. So how can you make it stand out? That’s for you to figure out of course, otherwise it wouldn’t be unique. If you follow someone else’s suggestion it’s already un-unique.
Tip 5: Spend The Time – Put In The Hard Graft
Spend a few days on your tie-breaker, not just an hour. When you’ve finished it, put it away for a day and then look at it again. A fresh view of your finished tie-breaker can give you ideas for even further improvement.
Tip 6: Polish Your Tie-Breaker
Make sure you have a thesaurus, a rhyming dictionary and a list of superlatives. With every word, check in the thesaurus for a more colourful alternative where possible. Superlatives are your best friend and emphasise the greatness of a product. You can print a list of superlatives off from the Internet easily enough, after a Google search. Make sure every word is polished. Many people dismiss tie-breaker writing as not being a real skill. However, it takes a lot of thought, creativity and research to come up with a tie-breaker that stands out from thousands of others. Entrants by people who don’t really give tie-breaker writing any merit will usually bang one out on the bus to work in ten minutes, which is to your advantage of course if you are putting the time in.
Tip 7: Less Is More
Writing a few polished and well thought out tie-breakers is much better than playing the odds by banging out hundreds of average or copied tie-breakers.
Tip 8: Clarity
Keep your tie-breaker nice and clear by writing out your tie-breaker neatly and clearly, not in a joined up italic mess which will cause the judges to dismiss your entry because of the time needed to decode it.
Tip 9: Watch Out For Scams
To get streetwise, as it were, to be able to spot scams that are posing as real competitions involves a learning curve. Beware of timeshare type competitions for instance. I knew someone who once won a cruise around the Caribbean, but once they signed the dotted line for a timeshare apartment and got home, they realised from the small print that it was a fishing boat that they would be cruising on, and another condition was that they had to pay for their own flights. Also, be very skeptical when it comes to competitions where you can win a house. Unless it’s a well-known company with a track record, my advice would be not to bother. Many of these people either disappear with your entry money or they are based abroad and protected from your country’s rules and regulations.
Tip 10: No Coloured Envelopes Or Fancy Paper
Many people will advise you to put your entry into a fancy coloured or ridiculously oversized envelope. This will not only annoy the judges, but may result in your entry being dismissed before even being opened.
Finally, if you win a competition, don’t forget to send a thank you letter and consider participating in any after competition publicity that they might suggest. Judges and competition organisers are only people after all and this will encourage them to run further competitions for the future.
Article by Kevin Baker