With this being the week that the winners will be announced for The Hot 100 contest, I thought I would make this month’s “Marketing Tips Insider” article about the amazing marketing tool this contest can be for photographers!

First, let me just say that this contest was incredible! With 7,012 images submitted across 10 categories, it’s been an exciting process narrowing down to the winning images.

As you can imagine, we’ve said no to some awesome and incredible photography work due to the sheer volume. Narrowing down 7,012 images to 100 is no easy task, to say the least.

For me personally (and I’m sure I speak for Tara and Dan as well), it’s been agonizing saying no to amazing work while narrowing down from tier to tier! There is some impressive talent in our industry!

Having said that, entering your work into competition is a fabulous way to keep your work fresh and it’s a great way to push yourself towards continual improvement.

Now for the marketing application for this contest!

For the winners of any image competition, it’s a great marketing opportunity to promote your studio by maximizing exposure in your community! Here are some ideas for marketing your win of the Hot 100 (or any) contest:

1/ Announce the win by using the HOT 100 button on all social media platforms you’re on, hyping up the excitement with a statement that “final images will be announced soon”

2/ Announce the win on your blog, and then send a letter to your VIP list with the link to your blog article (using your CRM like Mailchimp, etc), stating that the winning images will be announced soon

3/ Pin a post at the top of your Facebook business page using the HOT 100 banner/button with an exciting announcement that the “winning images” will be announced soon

4/ Use the HOT 100 button as your profile image on various social platforms during announcement week

5/ Create a big hype leading up to the actual HOT 100 magazine being released, at which time you can post photos from the magazine of your win!

6/ Purchase the magazine issue for your winning senior and photograph her holding the magazine—use this across all social media platforms

7/ Snapchat the magazine—you flipping through it—you delivering a copy of it to your senior—your senior’s reaction

8/ On IG Stories, have someone video YOU holding the magazine, briefly explaining how excited and honored you are about the win (or how excited you are for your senior that her image was selected)

9/ Create a slideshow, with music, showing behind the scenes of the photo session of the senior, final photos from the session, ending with the image in the magazine (assuming you are downloading your stories to the Snapchat app for later access!)

Now, for those of you that are not on the HOT 100 winners list, you still have an opportunity to share in the excitement of your submitted images! Here are a couple of tips for you too:

1/ Create mounted 4×6 prints of each image you submitted and create a banner across the image stating “(Your Studio Name) Finalist” as an indication that you chose her image to submit to the contest as a finalist image amongst many choices! She’ll feel special for the fact that of all of the images you could have submitted, you chose hers

2/ Create a blog post with the images you submitted, as an honorary salute to images you chose for submission and then send this link to each of those seniors and moms

Simply entering this contest gives you an opportunity to reach out to your seniors and their parents to let them know that they have ALREADY won by being selected by your studio to be entered into a world-wide image competition!

Either way, submitting images into competition has a positive impact for your studio and your work.

Congratulations to all of you for submitting (I know it’s a lot of prep work!). We can’t wait for you to see the winning images!