How To Use A Press Release To Announce An Upcoming Contest

Follow The Rules For A Successful Contest


If you want a new way to engage your customers, blog readers, Facebook fans, or Twitter followers, running a contest is a fantastic way to get people excited.


When you’re organizing your contest, particularly if you plan to use social platforms to promote it, it’s important to follow the rules for each site. For example, did you know it’s against Facebook policies to ask your followers to “share” your contest with friends? You can, however, ask followers to “like” or “comment” on your post to enter. Alternatively, you can direct them to a landing page to provide more details to enter to win.


Understanding the rules of any platform you’re using to promote your contest is important, as you will need to be able to provide clear instructions for entering as part of your press release.  


Contest Ideas


The type of contest you run will largely depend on your business and what your customers and followers consider a valuable “prize.” For example, restaurant-goers may appreciate the opportunity to win a free meal, while a marketing agency’s followers may be motivated by the chance to win a free user experience (UX) audit.


Some ideas include:


  • Hashtag and selfie contests
  • Caption the photo
  • Video/photo submission
  • Fan of the Week
  • Trivia, quiz or puzzle
  • Facebook Live contest (announce when you’ll be live to provide a clue/code/etc. for a chance to win)
  • Fan photo contest (ask followers to vote for their fave!)


Regardless of the type of contest you host, make it clear:


  • How to enter
  • How winners will be selected
  • How winners will be notified


Contest Press Release Template


Onto the good stuff! This template can also be found in the “Resources” section when you log into your free Online PR Media account. Along with this template, there are 11 other press release templates for a variety of newsworthy topics.


For the purpose of this blog, we’ve beefed up this template to provide more in-depth instructions about what to say when announcing a contest. All of the press release templates on Online PR Media provide helpful step-by-step instructions to make writing your news release quick and simple! If you haven’t already seen this feature on the newly designed site, check it out here:





Enter your 3 primary keywords below. You may choose to add longtail keywords as well. Use this area to keep track of your keywords as you use them. Use at least one in the title and 1-2 in the summary. Use each keyword at least once in the body.

Keyword #1      

Keyword #2      

Keyword #3      


Title: 100 characters or less (use 1 keyword, as close to the beginning as possible)


Summary: 175 characters or less (use 1-2 additional keywords)


Paragraph 1: Load this paragraph with the most important details about your contest. Describe the prize, and reveal who is giving the prize away. Explain who is eligible to enter the contest and the date on which the winner will be chosen. Also, mention how the winner will be announced (social media, your blog, by email, etc.). Use an anchor text link to link your company name to your website’s homepage.


Paragraph 2: Provide instructions on how the reader can enter your contest. If the instructions are complicated, this might require two paragraphs.


Paragraph 3: Provide additional details about the prize. For example, describe its dimensions, explain what it does, and disclose how much it would cost if the participant purchased it at a store. If you’re giving away several prizes, list them in bullet point format. Rank the list according to how the prizes will be assigned to the winners (1st place, 2nd place, etc.).


Paragraph 4: Include a quote from someone at your company. The quote should mention how the participant will benefit from entering your contest in ways that extend beyond just winning the prize. (Example: “Each participant not only has the chance to win a home treadmill, but will also receive our information-packed monthly newsletter Simple Fitness For Busy People.“)


Use the following format for the quote:


“Quote,” said Name of the person being quoted, Title of the person being quoted of company name. ( Make the person’s name an anchor text link linking to their LinkedIn profile, if applicable.


Example: “Each participant not only has the chance to win a home treadmill, but will also receive our information-packed monthly newsletter Simple Fitness For Busy People,” said Stephen Noble, President of Simple Fitness Inc. (


Paragraph 5: Describe your company’s background. Include details about how it serves your target audience. Highlight the ways in which your company is better than your competitors.


Paragraph 6: Include another quote from someone at your company. The quote should underscore why you’re excited to run the contest. Mention how doing so will build awareness around your product, an item that will provide value or help your target audience solve a problem.


Paragraph 7: Reiterate when the winners will be chosen and explain how they’ll be notified. Then, include a link to a page on your site that provides all of the information that’s relevant to your contest.


About Your Company: Your Company (

Include a brief description about how your company serves your target audience and highlight the things that set you apart from your competitors (i.e. your unique selling proposition). Mention specific benefits your customers receive by working with your company.




Examples Of Effective Contest Press Releases


A casual stroll through the archives of press releases we host at Online PR Media shows how popular contests are as a promotional tool. Reviewing some of the press releases that have been written in the past to announce contests is a great learning experience! Here are a few examples:


Your Turn!


Have you used press releases to announce a contest for your company? If so, did you include any details that we didn’t mention in the above template? Do you have any questions about writing a contest press release? Let us know in the comments section!  


Kevin Petersen

Online PR News + Online PR Media offers affordable multimedia press releases that achieve high search engine visibility -- putting your message in front of the right people at exactly the right time. We’ve combined all of the features that internet marketers, business owners, and journalists have asked for in an online press release distribution site.

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