And The Winner Is – a beginners guide to being a comper.

winner1Everyday I get more than 500 emails in my inbox (more about that later), when I come in from work I just have time to make a quick cuppa, turn on the computer and scan through them before my little darlings come crashing through the door and shatter the peace.

Amongst the junk mail and newsletter updates, I fish out the important emails from schools, friends and family or of course blog related and then I look for certain words jumping out at me like “winner”, “congratulations” and “competition”.

Yesterday one such email stood out, titled “Glasgow International Comedy Festival Shortlist competition”, and inside was confirmation that I had won an overnight stay in Glasgows Fraser Suites, a meal at Stravaigin and tickets to see Fred MacAuley at the Glasgow Comedy Festival much to the delight of Mr B who is a big MacAuley fan (personally I was more excited about the dessert menu at Stravaigin).

The next day at work when I announced my win to colleagues I was met with choruses of “you’re so luck, you are always winning”, a phrase which anyone who enters competitions on a regular basis will tell you is not only a little irritating it is also untrue.

Competitions are a numbers game just like any lottery or game of chance, the more you enter the more chance you have of winning. Some people will enter one or two competitions, hear nothing and say “I never win anything”, try entering 300+ a day, and believe me there are plenty compers (the official short hand for people who enter competitions) that do just that and much more, and then if you don’t win anything you can complain.

I started entering competitions almost 5 years ago when as a stay at home mum I was looking for something to fill my time with when the kids were napping or had gone down for the evening. I’ve never been a big telly watcher so when I got chatting to a friend about competitions she entered and what she had won (lots) I thought I’d give it a go, I turned on my computer and got entering and 5 years, 2 Wii’s, 1 X-box, 12 months supply of wine, £1750.00 and an I-pad later (to name just a few things) I’m still at it albeit much less now that I work, blog, and act as general cook, cleaner and taxi driver to two children.

Here are two of my most recent wins;

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A gorgeous picnic rucksack with various kids outdoor toys and a lovely treat filled Christmas hamper.hamper

Before you rush off and try and win that dream holiday or new car though there are a few things you should now.

  1. It takes time and effort, do not enter a competition and give up if you don’t hear anything straight away, most competitions run for at least a week and winners may not be contacted for weeks after.
  2. It really is a numbers game and more people enter for big prizes such as TV’s or I-pads than books or CD’s so if you just want to win, go for the smaller prizes.
  3. Most compers will use dedicated websites to find and enter competitions such as Money Saving ExpertLoquax  or The Prize Finder but remember and read the site rules and guidelines before beginning and try and give something back if you find a new competition, list it.
  4. Competitions that take effort such as poems or captions attract less entries and give you more chance of winning.
  5. Companies run competitions to attract new business and will often ask for your email address to add to their mailing list which can soon result in an awful lot of junk mail in your inbox (see top), lots of compers set up dedicated emails for entering competitions so they can keep these emails separate.
  6. Most competitions have a free entry, if you see competitions advertised on tv where you have to pay to text, check out their website you can probably enter for free there.
  7. Filling in online forms takes a lot of time but free apps such as Roboform or Chrome Auto Fill take all the hard work away and fill your details for you.
  8. If you win, do thank the runner of the competition and share the news after all they run these things for publicity.
  9. If entering for tickets/holidays etc do check out the terms and conditions and make sure you can actually attend on the specified dates or venues otherwise it’s a waste of time for you and the promoter.
  10. Most importantly have fun, it shouldn’t be a chore but a hobby and do be prepared for people branding you a saddo (they won’t be saying that when you’re off on your free dream holiday ).
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