Entering contests is one of the best ways to increase your odds of winning a prize. For the uninitiated, a contest is very different from a sweepstakes because you are compelled to perform a task in order to enter. It may be a random draw, but you must enter a photo, essay, recipe or whatever the sponsor requests to be entered. Your odds of winning are better because the majority of potential entrants simply don’t want to bother with the extra requirements for entry.
That said, the selection of cooking and recipe contests is abundant online, and you’ll see a lot of them at Facebook. Entering one can even be as simple as preparing a sandwich, and the prizes you could win range from small to eye-popping.
I know you’re jazzed and want to start winning. Here are five suggestions that could help you increase your odds of winning a recipe contest:
1. Read the rules carefully, and be sure your entry has all of the ingredients required by the sponsor. Usually it’s a food company that wants recipes using their products, so your had better include what the sponsor demands and in the correct amount. Adding a second ingredient made by the company may give you an edge. Once you submit your entry, there will probably be an administrator checking your recipe. You’ll get an approval email once your recipe entry goes live.
2. Think of an original name for your recipe that’s catchy enough to get attention. If there’s to be a public vote, a memorable name will help you get votes. You may consider adding all or part of the sponsor’s name to your recipe name for an edge on the admin side.
3. Keep your recipes simple. Most people don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen preparing meals, so your entry should reflect this. K-I-S-S should always be practiced when you are angling for popularity.
4. Prepare your entries in advance by taking pictures. After cooking your miraculous dish that everybody loves, get out the digital camera and snap a picture of it. Most recipe contests require a picture along with the ingredients, so save time and be ready for upcoming contests by being prepared. You could even type out your recipes and keep them in a file. When it comes time to enter, the recipe could be altered to meet the demand of the prize sponsor.
By the way, most recipe contests require that snapshots be under 1mb in size, and saved in .jpeg or .png format.
5. Take multiple pictures of your food and try to make it look as appealing you can. If the sweepstakes is open to a public vote, people sometimes skip the recipe and vote for the best looking food pic. For this reason, you should make an effort to photograph your food to look as attractive as possible. You don’t need to knock yourself out creating recipe book food porn, but it shouldn’t look like slop. Try to think of your entry as a fashion shot. Use your nice dishes if you have any to “dress it up” for better visual appeal.
I think it’s safe to claim that everybody who enters recipe contests will eventually win one, even if they’re not great cooks. Those who make an effort to submit a creative entry will benefit from the better odds.