Posted in: Ideas for your websiteLast update: 12/04/19
TV shows like Masterchef, Kitchen Nightmares or the Great British Bake-Off have collected a cult following around the world. Why? Because everyone loves cooking a good meal! Here’s how to make cooking and recipe contests part of your own interactive marketing campaigns.
Food and cooking have become modern obsessions. It seems like everyone is posting photos of their Saturday morning brunch, starting a cute new recipe blog, or cooking along with the Great British Bake-off. But here’s the good news: you don’t need to film your own cooking show to tap into all that enthusiasm! Instead, you can run an easy online recipe contest, and collect piping-hot sales leads at the same time.
Who are recipe contests for?
Given the popularity of gourmet blogs on social media, almost any brand could get involved with an online recipe contest. But if your brand is in the following list, then recipe contests are more than just a good idea. Instead, they’re an essential part of your content strategy.
- bars, cafés and restaurants
- recipe authors and publishers
- supermarket chains
- independent food producers
- foodie festivals
- cookware brands
And who can take part in your online recipe contest? Well… everyone! That’s one reason why this is such an effective marketing strategy: online competitions appeal to almost everyone.
Start small: newsletter subscriptions
You’ve probably heard people talking about user-generated content; it was one of the big marketing buzzwords of 2018. And recipes are a kind of user-generated content, because you are asking your followers to share their ideas with you.
So your followers are a great source of original, authentic content. But at the same time, they might not be ready to share their traditional family recipes with you just yet. You need to start by building a rapport with your readers or customers.
Here’s a clever example. Hampton Festival started off with a prize that would appeal to their core audience: two nights away on a gourmet retreat.
To join the prize draw, people had to share their contact details and sign up for the newsletter. In other words, they had to start building a relationship with the brand.
Next, Hampton Festival could nurture those leads… until they are ready to share user-generated content, and even make a purchase.
Festivals, tasting events and gastrotourism are also key for wine marketing. Click here for more marketing ideas from the wine industry.
Collect family recipes and new creations
Once you have a thriving, active group of followers, then you can start collecting recipes and other user-generated content. Just like in the example with Hampton Festival, make sure you offer a relevant and generous prize to motivate people.
Take this recipe contest from Lunar, a caravan manufacturer. They asked families to share their favorite recipes to cook on the road. The prize was pure luxury, but easily portable: a hamper from the venerable UK foodie brand, Fortnum & Mason.
People could type up their easy recipes, with or without a photo. Then people could vote for their top recipes to win the contest.
This was a really clever move. Lunar didn’t just harvest content from their users; they gave something back to the community, as well. Anyone could visit the website and copy down the recipes to try at home.
As well as gourmet treats, another popular prize is kitchenware or cooking equipment. In the example below, the brand offered a state-of-the-art foaming tool – an essential for anyone involved in the microgastronomy trend.
To win the equipment, people had to recommend their own foam recipes.
Here’s one more prize suggestion. Sometimes, what people want most is to feel seen and included. If they are dedicated to your brand, then they want some recognition!
Restaurant chain Italio put this into practice with an online recipe contest. They asked people to share their own pesto recipes. The best one would be featured on Italio menus (and the winner would get free Italio for a year).
Opening a new café? Looking for new customers? Read our ideas for marketing restaurants to get inspired.
Add photos to your recipe contests
What would social media be without food photos? Pretty empty, probably…
So if you’re going to run an online recipe contest, then it’s a great idea to include photos. Try using a photo contest app which will allow you to collect captions as well as photos. That way, people can still share the details of their recipes, alongside the mouthwatering pics.
Here’s an especially delicious example from Haribo Asia. They asked people to share their photos of recipes made with Chamallow marshmallows.
And the pictures were… well, see for yourself. Suddenly we’re really craving ‘smores.
There are endless possibilities for photo contests. If you want people to play with your products, try a Scenes game where users have to build their own recipe from the ingredients you offer. Try the Chocofun demo or sip on a Martini while you finish this post!
Entertain and educate with quizzes
OK, so our final suggestion isn’t really an online recipe contest. But there’s more than one way to tap into your followers’ culinary expertise!
Challenge them to a quiz that’s full of information about your product, or tells users something about themselves. Everyone loves personality quizzes – and they’re easy to create.
Take this moustache-swirling example from Spanish cheesemaker Don Juan. People filled out a quiz with four questions about their flavor preferences and favorite meals. Then, Don Juan recommended the perfect cheesy recipe for them to try!
This quiz from La Española olive oil went a bit more technical. They asked users which type of olive oil was best for a series of different recipes.
Everyone who got the answers right had the chance to win a luxury pack of La Española products. And all the participants – even if they flunked the quiz! – got a free ebook full of tasty recipes.
Ready to whip up your own online recipe contest? Just click here to get started.