Category Archives: video contest

Generating Content with Video Contests | Theme

This is the fourth post of a short series on elements that create a good video campaign.

It is recommended to present a contest theme around which participants can build their video story. This theme can be a word, concept, or phrase that directsparticipants content development. Before determining a theme two important questions to consider are:
1. What aspects of your institution do you want to feature?
2. What kind of videos do you want to showcase in your video library? (As in the tone, content, and feel that is portrayed within the video content).

Answers to the first question could include: academic merit, campus community, activities, faculty, facilities, work opportunities, internships, career resources, local surrounding community, off-campus resources, and location.
For the second question you may want to consider content and tone that portrays an academically-driven environment, or one of a vibrant, diverse campus community, or one that shows the inspirational influence the institutions’ student population has in their field after graduation.

Consider that different themes will result in vastly different video content and tone. If your theme centers around your institutions’ academic reputation your contest video submissions could likely result in a more serious tone than if your theme centers around campus activities & events. Determining answers to these questions will help drive the development of successful video contest theme ideas.

Some specific ideas for features and themes are:

  1. If you want to feature specific academic degree programs your theme could be related to students featuring their favorite aspect about their major/department of study (professors, courses, study resources, extra-curricular clubs related to degree program, etc).
  2. If you would like to showcase your study abroad students integration into the local culture in popular study destinations your theme could be focused on how they served as an ambassador for your institution during their time abroad.
  3. If you want to feature the breadth of your on/off campus job opportunities for international students your theme could be related to how work experience enhances students’ academic goals.

Next post: Time Limit

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Generating Content with Video Contests | Video Contest Participants

This is the third post of a short series on elements that create a good video campaign. 

Who are your video contest participants?
Most likely they are current students who are actively engaged with their institution community and involved in campus events and activities. Usually students who are experiencing a positive campus life are eager to share with their peers about how much fun they are having. What better way than to have them show people how much fun they’re having through a video? And most likely, they are already creating video content on their own (we are just going to guide them through an inspirational theme—more to come on video themes in a future post).

If your target audience is current students you need to consider what motivates them to want to participate?
Prizes, yes. But also fame and notoriety. Perhaps along with a monetary-based price (Amazon and iTunes gift cards are always a hit) the winner(s) are promoted across campus and amongst the local community for being “ambassadors,” promoting their campus globally. You could collaborate with a national or international online news source to feature the student winner’s blogs online. For further ideas on how to motivate your participants ask current students what they would like to win as a prize for entering a video contest.

Most students have personal devices or access to the technology needed to create a video (video camera and a computer with basic video editing software) but it is always helpful if the institution can provide technology resources to encourage contest participation. There are schools which have provided their students with Flip/portable video cameras during an academic program to encourage film documentation from the student perspective.

Another way to encourage entries and motivate participants is create several on-campus events to promote the contest by offering the use of video recording equipment or designated lab time for students to come together in the same place to edit their videos. Allowing this video creation process to happen in a collaborative space will further generate creativity and encourage students to interact with their peers, and friends, around a common goal: promoting their institution.

Next post: Video Contest Theme

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Generating Content with Video Contests | Intended End-User Audience

This is the second post of a short series on elements that create a good video campaign.

The benefit of running a video contest is that upon completion your institution can use the student-generated videos as promotional material for your institution. You will have a library of creative, diverse video content created by your students sharing with the world how much they like your institution. That’s better than any paid marketing campaign and it’s genuine, from the voice of your students.

It’s important to think about what kind of videos your prospective student market will want to see. What you want to feature about your institution and current students to your prospective student audience will drive your video contest theme. For example, do you want your students’ videos to focus on their student life experience, their campus life, academics, activities, their opinion on the best feature of the institution? These topics will all produce quite a different result in terms of video content and student testimonials.

For a more academic-themed video stream you may want to consider a video contest topic around “How XXX university is Preparing Me for My Career” or “Success Beyond XXX University” For more of a student life focus something along the lines of “Get Outside (The Classroom).” If you want to showcase the diversity of the international student body you could center a theme around something like “Bringing My Culture to XXX University.”

It’s always a good idea to run your theme by a few students beforehand to hear their take on it and what kind of video they would produce. This will help you get a sense if your theme is in alignment with what you want the end result content to showcase.

Next post: Video Contest Participants

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Generating Content with Video Contests-Overview

This is the overview post of a short series on elements that create an effective video campaign.


One of the biggest challenges with creating new student video content is finding the time to actually create it. Instead, offload this time-intensive task to your students. Not only does it take the project of your long list of To Dos, it is more real having the content come from the students directly, as that’s who prospective students want to hear from.

One of the best ways to generate a breadth of organic video content in a relatively short amount of time is to run a video contest. Before blasting out to students that you’re giving away prizes for their “homemade movies” there are a number of elements to consider, including:

  • Intended End-User Audience
  • Video Contest Participants
  • Theme
  • Time limit
  • Contest Rules
  • Contest Promotion
  • Judging & Winner Selection Process
  • Prizes & Showcasing the Winners
  • Sharing Video Content

Over the next few weeks I will feature blog posts that highlight each of these elements and discuss them in detail, as well as provide recommendations on best practices.

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