Mirror Awards Moves to BetterBNC Platform

logo-mirror-awardsThe Mirror Awards are among journalism’s most prestigious awards honoring excellence in media industry reporting.  But up until recently, the awards program hosted by Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications faced challenges with the way its contest was administered.

“We had a complicated and convoluted system for assigning entries, which took a ton of time and effort on the part of several members of our team,” explains Mirror Awards event coordinator Sarah Hope. The awards program moved to the BetterBNC platform in 2013 and now with two BetterBNC contests under its belt, 2013 and 2014, administrators are able to see how much the process has improved.

“Now, with the algorithm embedded in the contest platform, we are able to randomly assign entries quickly and easily. It is incredibly helpful in that respect. The switch to BetterBNC allowed us to accept entries online and collect contact information rather than being bombarded with emails and having to follow up with those entrants.”

The Mirror Awards team worked with BetterBNC to customize its contest platform and the result has been easier for all involved but Hope notes, the change has been particularly helpful for judges. “They find it much easier than the complex spreadsheets we used to send them. Having all of the entries in one place also facilitates the in-person judging weekends that we conduct where several (up to 15) judges sit in a room and discuss the entries to decide on finalists and winners. They can bring up the entries they weren’t assigned or even read extra entries in advance if they wish. They enjoy the process more now that it is all online for them.”

Designed specifically for journalism contests, BetterBNC today works with administrators of journalism, broadcaster, public relations and other creative contests to create the smoothest online experience possible. Contact BetterBNC today for a free demo.

A Better Way to Manage a Growing Journalism Contest

NAAJ_logoDavid Hendee, the Contest Coordinator for the North American Agricultural Journalists, says this year’s NAAJ writing contest was a big improvement over previous contests.  It was this year that the NAAJ moved from physical newspaper entries and manually managing the contest to an all digital process with the BetterBNC platform.

BetterBNC is saving contests administrators, contestants and judges time by having the entire process managed online.  The administrator sets up the contest online even accepting secure payments through the system if desired, entries are easily uploaded, and judging  is conducted through an intuitive dashboard.

“The contest coordinator’s ability to track entries from writers and the ability to grab electronic versions of the entry for use in the awards ceremony slideshow” were the features that David most appreciated as NAAJ’s contest coordinator.  And that’s important with a growing contest.  NAAJ had 260 entries this year, up 30% from previous years.  Winners were announced last spring in Washington DC.

NAAJ is one of 160 journalism, broadcasting, creative, public relations and other media related contests using the BetterBNC platform today.  Contact Carter Cheston at 360.427.6300 or by emailing Carter@smalltownpapers.com  for more information about moving your contest to the BetterBNC platform or to schedule a free demo.  Click here for more information about the NAAJ.


Transform Your Media Contest Experience

I remember all too well back in the day when entering a news media contest meant the time consuming task of going through stories I’d written, pulling tearsheets and filling out forms to place in the mail.  It was arduous process and generally happened with a postmark deadline looming.  Even tougher were television and radio stations which spent days pulling and editing down videos and audio tapes creating entries to mail in.  Times have certainly changed.

I had a refresher demo of the BetterBNC contest platform recently and what it does for today’s contests is impressive.  The demo showed the flexibility of the platform for contest administrators, the ease with which contestants are able to upload entries in a variety of formats, and the clean and intuitive online experience for judges.  All of this is really no surprise given that BetterBNC was created specifically for media contests by SmallTownPapers, Inc., a well-known and active participant in the journalism trades.

Because it was designed for media contests, its platform updates include enhancements which are the direct result of feedback from the user community.  When newsroom managers suggested they be able to more easily manage who can enter a contest on behalf of their news organization, the Contestant Manager™ feature was added to provide them with the ability to set up employee accounts which they can monitor and then approve entries before they are submitted.

Administrators suggested that they be able to invite freelance writers to enter their contests so the Open Call™ feature was added.  And contestants suggested that there should be a way for them to store pieces that they may want to enter into a future contest so BetterBNC added a Scrapbook feature allowing them save their work in their own BetterBNC account so it is ready to submit when the call for entries is made.

The participation of those using the platform has made BetterBNC the number one media contest platform used by more than 160 contests across North America today.  The platform was built when Washington’s state press association asked us if we could “help digitize” their BNC. That was back in 2007 but we have retained the philosophy that our users will ultimately have the best ideas. BetterBNC recently established an Admin Advisory Group comprised of contest administrators which will guide future improvements and enhancements.

BetterBNC recognizes that the industry is rapidly changing as is the BetterBNC user base.  The platform may have launched years ago for newspaper associations but today is designed for all media organizations and is hosting a growing number of broadcaster, public relations, advertising and other creative awards programs.  The platform is agile and able to respond to the inevitable changes in the way media contests are managed today and in the future.

If you’re a contest administrator, see what BetterBNC can do for your contest experience.  Sign up for a complementary platform demo today – call us at 360.427.6300.

BetterBNC Earns High Customer Marks for Tech Support

At BetterBNC our mission is to help all of our users enjoy a successful contest experience. A lot goes into that – intuitive design, great features, and robust capability.  But there’s one particular feature that often goes unnoticed which turns out to be one of the strongest components of the BetterBNC®  journalism contest awards platform.

It’s rarely asked about up front but is critical to a contest’s success and ultimate customer satisfaction – it is our Tech Support.  At BetterBNC, Tech Support is not an add-on; it is not an additional charge; and it is not available for just a couple of hours in the day.

Our Tech Support team is available to help contest administrators, contestants and judges if and when they need it. I asked Cody, a member of the Tech team, what issue he is asked about most frequently.  No surprise to many, he said it is users forgetting their passwords.  As Tech Support goes, it’s a good problem to have and an easy one to solve.

TroubleTicket_redThe team is eager to help contest users with their experience.  It’s easy to contact them – the platform user simply submits a Trouble Ticket which is automatically forwarded to Tech Support. Tech team members monitor user inquiries seven days a week, early until late. Additionally, questions submitted are reviewed by BetterBNC to determine whether platform changes are needed to address the issue for all users.

Click here to access helpful user guides or you can initiate a trouble ticket.

BetterBNC Provides Media Contests with a Range of Payment Options

Whether your entering a media contest or managing the contest, handling entry payments can be challenging.  People want to submit payment in different ways and it’s critical that the process be secure  as well as easy to track and document.

Leading media contest platform BetterBNC is constantly improving the payment process for its participating contests.  The platform allows a contest to collect credit card payments directly from the contest webpage, accept payments through PayPal, track payments made via mailed check or the organization can use its own payment cart.  Flexibility is important to our customers and we are committed to  making it easy and secure for everyone involved.

Want to know more about the platform being used by more than 160 organizations today?  Contact BetterBNC at 360.427.6300 to learn how it can help improve your print journalism, broadcasting, creative, public relations and other media related contests.  Call and schedule a free demo today.

BetterBNC – Built for All Types of Contests

InlandPressAssocBannerThe Inland Press Association is a week away from the entry deadline for its 2014 New Business Development Contest which recognizes “original ideas and initiatives that grow revenue from new or legacy sources.”  It is an opportunity to recognize newspaper staffs for the creative ways they’re generating revenue from new sources and increasing revenue from existing sources.

The Inland Press Association, with 1200 member newspapers from across North America, is hosting this contest using the BetterBNC platform and we’re excited that it’s among a growing number of instances where media organizations are finding that the robust platform works well for more than professional print journalism competitions.  Of the 160 contests using BetterBNC today, more than 25% are now for broadcaster contests, 6% are for student contests and we are delighted to now have expanded to PR and advertising competitions.

BetterBNC was created specifically for the media industry and is based on journalism contest best practices.  BetterBNC is committed to continuous improvement much of which is born from the invaluable feedback we receive from everyone using the platform – administrators, contestants and judges.  BetterBNC is proud to also have an Admin Advisory Group which reviews and recommends enhancements.

For the Inland Press Association’s New Business Development Contest, the entry deadline is July 21st with winners recognized at Inland’s New Business Development Conference in Chicago on August 7-8.  Good look to all of the contestants in this year’s competition.

160 Media Contests and Climbing!

BetterBNC® is pleased to be the preferred contest platform for more than 160 print, broadcast and creative contests across North America.  Our list of participating contests is climbing as organizations prepare for their fall entry and contest periods.

We’re excited to welcome a growing number of broadcast contests as well as two public relations and marketing contests.  Participating contests include AP and SPJ chapters,  broadcast associations, press clubs and associations, specialty organizations and more.   Click below to see who’s using the BetterBNC contest platform today.

Continue reading 160 Media Contests and Climbing!

Expanding BetterBNC Media Contests to Freelancers

BetterBNC is making it easy for media contests to invite freelancers to participate using the platform’s Open Call feature.  Contest administrators can choose to make their contest Open Call and freelancers and contestants entering contests on their own behalf, rather than through a media organization, create their own account with BetterBNC then enter the Open Call contests for which they’re eligible.

Freelance writers, photographers and creatives say Open Call is opening new recognition opportunities for them.

“I haven’t entered many journalism contests in the past because you have to work for a newspaper or magazine to qualify for many of them,” said Seattle-based freelance magazine writer David Hanson who published a book, Breaking through Concrete, documenting a dozen urban farms.  “Having one place where I can have an account and see contests my work qualifies for is really great.  Putting my work in front of new audiences across the country is a great way to market myself as a writer and identify organization’s I’d like to work with in the future.”

BetterBNC also makes it easier than ever before to enter contests by providing a scrapbooking feature.  Contestants can save work they want to enter into contests in a scrapbook account then simply upload it directly into an entry when the time is right.

Contact BetterBNC today for more information – carter@smalltownpapers.com.

BetterBNC Provides Customized Contest Homepages and URLs

logo-300Customers asked for it and BetterBNC has delivered.  BetterBNC now offers customized contest homepages.  Contests can choose to  have their own unique URL so they can link directly to the branded contest homepage.

This new BetterBNC feature includes the ability to use a simple web editor to select a color palette and theme.  It allows for the easy upload of an organization’s logos, graphics and artwork as well as a collection of stock images available for use.

BetterBNC is holding a webinar next month to showcase the new customized homepage features.  Email us if you’d like to receive an invitation to the complimentary demo in October.

Welcome to BetterBNC.

Trophies_100Thanks for visiting our BetterBNC blog.  We look forward to sharing information about our leading contest platform and the experiences of the more than 160 organizations using BetterBNC for their contests today.  To learn more about the features of the platform, visit www.betterbnc.com and be sure to check out some of the new features that users are enjoying such as Open Call contests, contestant scrapbooks and more.