So you’ve decided to start comping yourself but how do you go about it?
- Create a new email account – a lot of competitions require you to enter your details, including email address, in order to enter the competition and therefore you are going to get A LOT of spam email and therefore it’s best you create a separate email account for comping.
- Dedicate a set amount of time to comping each week – how much is up to you, but as long as you enter competitions regularly you stand more chance of winning. I’m a student and therefore have a lot of time of my hands and can enter competitions daily, but obviously not everyone is in my position and therefore you should allocate whatever time you can spare to it.
- Create a wish list and decide what you’d like to win – this will prevent you from entering competitions to win anything and everything and therefore receiving a prize that you ultimately don’t want. Also, if you focus on entering competitions to win a particular thing you’re more likely to win it. For instance, last year I decided I’d really like to win some hotel stays, as I love going away for short breaks, and I was fortunate enough to win 3!
- Decide how you’re going to enter – are you going to purely enter online and email competitions or are you going to try and focus on social media competitions. If you are planning on entering social media competitions you might want to warn your followers as all of your competition posts might look like spam and therefore they might unfollow/defriend you, so make sure you let them know how to unfollow your posts so that they don’t do this.
- Join a competition forum/ website that will allow you to find and enter competitions. My top 2 forums would be Loquax and MSE Competitions but here’s a list of other websites you could try too. Try out a few to see which one(s) you like best.
- Look/ listen out out for the word, ‘win’ wherever you are, my flatmates find it funny when we go food shopping and I take twice as long because I spot so many competitions that I have to stop and read about. You can literally spot competitions anywhere – on buses, tube posters in London, yoghurt pots, in emails asking you to do a survey, on TV, by listening to the radio etc. So make sure you start looking/listening out and you’ll be surprised at the amount of competitions you find.
- Increase your chances by looking out for local competitions – local competitions (specific to a particular area) are more likely to be low-entry and therefore you’re more likely to win. Is there a particular local event/ show you would like to win tickets to? Make sure you search for competitions related to it. For instance, last year myself and 4 of my flatmates decided we really wanted to go to the Edinburgh Foodies Festival and I looked out for lots of local competitions to win tickets and managed to win us 2 pairs! One of the competitions I entered literally only had 5 entries! For students specifically, look out for competitions at your university.
- Save time by setting up autofill – as you are going to be filling out hundreds of forms it makes sense to set up autofill and therefore this will allow the computer to fill in your details for you once you’ve entered the first letter. I have a mac and if you use Safari, you can click on ‘Safari’ at the the top left of your page and click on ‘preferences’ and it will allow you to set it up.
- Always read the rules – make sure you always try and read the rules of the competition before entering – it’d be a shame to miss out a prize due to a technicality such as it being specific to a particular area.
- Watch out for tick boxes a lot of promoters will require you to either tick/untick the box as appropriate in order to not receive further contact from them. Make sure you read it properly to ensure you’re not caught out and receive lots of spam.
- Get entering!
- Be patient – don’t just expect to win things straight away, entering competitions is not an instant return guarantee – it just doesn’t work like that. From once you start regularly entering competitions I wouldn’t expect to hear anything until at least a month, maybe longer. If you haven’t won anything by then don’t let that deter you and stick at it.
- Keep a record (and I also like to write down the date) of everything you win – most seasoned compers like to keep track of everything they win, sometimes to tally up how much they’ve won over the year(s) and also to inspire them during dry spells. I created a list of everything I’d won in 2015 and discovered I’d won over 40 competitions and £13,800 prizes from when I started entering again in August and that definitely inspired me to enter even more for 2016.
Good luck and make sure to let me know how it goes!