Did you know that many bloggers and business owners like yourself host contests with our puzzles? They’re great fun, and the good news is you can do it, too! Hosting a contest with a puzzle from Crossword Hobbyist is as easy as 1-2-3. If you know how to use our puzzle maker and are ready to make your puzzle, go on ahead. In this post, we’ll take you through the steps of making your puzzle, inviting others to solve it, and announcing your winner(s).
#1 Make a Puzzle
Since you’re making a puzzle for your contest or giveaway, we already know you’re cool, creative, and clever. Take it a step further by making it a puzzle that uniquely fits your brand.
First, choose your word list. Choose words relevant to your brand or the prize. Or, if the prize is a secret or you’re promoting an event, choose words for the big reveal. Make sure your fans can easily solve the puzzle or look up the answers, though. Nothing will deter fans faster than an unsolvable puzzle! Choose clues where the answers can be found on the rest of your website, which will also require customers to visit more pages.
Put in as many words as you want, then start adding clues, or rearranging the grid to your liking. You can also add words right into the crossword puzzle maker to make them overlap in a particular way. Then once you have a sense of how much space your puzzle needs, you might change the grid size to meet your specifications.
Remember, your puzzle should make sense for your brand and your giveaway. If there’s a prize involved, make sure the requirements match the value of a prize. The average person won’t want to solve a Sunday-difficulty crossword for a $5 gift card, for example. Most solvers would solve a puzzle with a low-level prize just for the fun of it.
Similarly, if you plan to make a big reveal, make sure the puzzle gives the right amount of information. Followers will want to understand the promotion quickly enough to keep solving, but not so quickly that the puzzle is no fun. If the creators of Sherlock had wanted to reveal the release date for season four in a crossword, it might have looked like this.
#2 Invite Others to Solve It
Now that you’ve made your puzzle, you’ll want to set up your contest and invite others to solve the puzzle.
How to Host the Contest
You might view the mechanics of using a word puzzle for a contest as your greatest obstacle right now. It doesn’t have to be, though! Again, it’s as easy as 1-2-3.
First, make your puzzle. You’ve already done that, so consider the first step done!
Second, embed the puzzle onto your website. This, too, is easy to do in five minutes or less. Just use these directions to add the puzzle to any page on your website.
Third, have contestants send in their answers. You can do this in one of two ways.
Have contestants email you a solved PDF by clicking the “Save PDF” button in the top right corner of their solved puzzle, then attaching it to an email. Contestants could also send a screenshot of solved puzzles. Don’t forget to list other requirements of entry as needed. This might include contact information and a send-by date.
In a Form
Use Google Forms for entries to your contest if you’d like to avoid emails for any reason. This also allows you to collect other information easily. All you have to do is select an option for contestants to upload a file. There they can upload a PDF or a screenshot to the form just as they would have in an email.
Promoting Your Contest
Share your puzzle through email, social media, and any other platform you use to connect with your audience. If this contest is just for fun, then you’re done! For those of you offering a prize of some kind, remember your timeline as you promote your contest.
For a reveal, you only need to release a puzzle on the reveal date. For example, a musician might share a puzzle when they want to reveal an album release date, upcoming tour dates and cities, and more. Since people will solve it pretty quickly, news will spread.
If you’re using a puzzle as a stand-alone contest, you’ll want to time it around that. Consider who the prize will go to: will it be the first person to solve it, or drawn at random from all entries? The first person to solve the puzzle could end the contest in an hour, making for a great social media campaign. If you’re using puzzle entries for a drawing, though, you might want to leave the puzzle up for a while. This will give others the chance to solve it.
#3 Announce the Winners
This step will be easy and fun! You probably will have already decided how you plan to award the contestants. All you’ll need to do now is select the winner. Whoever correctly solved the puzzle the fastest will be easy to select. If you’re choosing a contestant at random, you could use a random list picker, or you can hand-pick an entry.
Then be sure to announce your winner. At the very least, contact the person who won. You can also announce it on your website and via social media, depending on the nature of your contest or giveaway. It will help you to designate dates for the contest’s beginning, end, and winner from the get-go.
We’d love to hear from you on how you’ve added a crossword puzzle or a word search to your contests or giveaways. Would you add anything else? What features would help you host a giveaway on your website? Share your suggestions and we’ll add our favorites to this post.
Kristen Seikaly used her artistic background, research skills, and love for the internet to launch her first blog, Operaversity. Now she uses the skills to connect teachers, parents, and game enthusiasts with Crossword Hobbyist and My Word Search. She studied music at the University of Michigan, and now lives in Philadelphia.