Tag Archives: awards program

Have you customized your contest homepage?

Of all of the great and robust features that make BetterBNC the leading contest platform for journalism, creative and PR awards programs, the customized homepage option is rapidly becoming a fan favorite.

Just launched, contest administrators have jumped to create their own branded contest homepages.  The Colorado Broadcasters Association was the first to complete their page and now, nearly a dozen are in progress including The Kansas Press Association Awards of Excellence and the  Golden ARC Awards.

The new module is intuitive and easy to use.  You can load your own copy, images and logos and select the color palette and template you like.  As well, you can load your own HTML page if you want to design your own.

The feature is completely optional and is activated by simply selecting the feature on your set up page.  All contests, whether you have a customized homepage or not, are also available from the drop down menu on www.betterbnc.com.

Enjoy the new feature and let us know what you think – we love feedback!


Exclusive New BetterBNC Feature

It’s Now EASY to Customize Your Own Contest Homepage

Media and PR contests using BetterBNC can now easily customize their contest landing page to reflect the organization’s branding — including logos, photos, text and graphics. Customizing your contest homepage is quick and easy. Simply click a box on your Admin dashboard then begin designing your own contest homepage.

Several of our contests are already using the new feature including the North Dakota Newspaper Associationclick here to see their customized landing page.

CBAwebpage400One of the first organizations to create a branded homepage was the Colorado Broadcasters Association. Its president and CEO Justin Sasso said the new page gave their contest a unique feel and simplified the entry process.

“The customizable homepage allowed us to match our association’s color scheme and edit content so contestants could easily find answers to some of their most common questions,” Sasso told us. “I like that the BetterBNC no longer feels like a third party platform. The ability to link from our website directly to a landing page that can be customized to look and feel like an extension of the Colorado Broadcasters Association’s website, synchronizes the entire process and provides an end-user experience that all contestants should find easier to navigate.”

With pre-made templates, you can select the color scheme, fonts, sizes, logos and photos — even select your own URL address within the system. With the blank template, you can put your design and HTML experience to work using the built-in webpage creator software. There is no additional cost to use this optional feature. You can enable the feature at any time and your contest participants can always access your contest through www.betterbnc.com.

Opening Your Awards Program to Non-Members

As media businesses struggle to address shrinking budgets, many are increasingly turning to freelance talent.  They produce great material but often are restricted from participating in local and regional awards programs because they’re not full time employees of a media organization or members of the organization sanctioning the contest.

BetterBNC allows contest administrators to open their contests to non-members and freelancers by using the platform’s Open Call™ feature.  Open Call is being used by dozens of contests today to welcome entries from anyone meeting their contest criteria.

It’s great for writers and other creatives who aren’t affiliated with a particular organization and, for many contests, it’s simply an easier way to operate.

SanDiegoPressClubTerry Williams from the San Diego Press Club and the San Diego SPJ Chapter says Open Call gives her much needed flexibility.  “I use open call because I have only a few administrators who enter for their writers,”  she explains.  “To keep it simple, I have everyone use the open call option and those few admins use it too, changing the entrant as appropriate.   Also, I don’t have to set up the publications – it gets done automatically as people enter.

To participate, the entrant simply creates an Open Call account through www.betterbnc.com and then they’re able to see all Open Call contests which are available and determine which they’re qualified to enter.  The individual can also use the platform’s Scrapbook feature to save material they may want to use as an entry in the future.   Click here for the details on the easy four step process:

  1. Create our Open Call Contestant Account
  2. Select Contests to Enter
  3. Make Your Entry
  4. Manage Your Entry

Open Call contestants then have the option of saving material in a BetterBNC-housed Scrapbook for future contests and also managing your own contest profile page.

If you are a contest administrator interested in using Open Call for your awards program, contact Paul Jeffko in our BetterBNC office today at 360.427.6300 or email paulj@smalltownpapers.com.

Thanks for the shout-outs!

megaphoneBetterBNC wants to thank our customers for the tremendous number of shout=outs via social networks and also for sharing experiences with peers at industry conferences and gatherings.   The result this year has been dozens of new contests underway using BetterBNC with many others currently in the set up phase as they prepare for their spring call for entries.

It’s great to hear how the platform is performing for our customers like Wisconsin Newspaper Association’s Member Services Director Julia Hunter who shares, “The Wisconsin Newspaper Association has utilized BetterBNC for the past four years and the platform significantly streamlined administration of our annual professional, collegiate and high school newspaper contests.  It significantly improves the ease and convenience of judging, and the customer service is always helpful and expeditious! The staff is always quick to respond to any question and assist with troubleshooting in order to ensure everything is running smoothly for us and our members. They’re a pleasure to work with.”

We appreciate and value hearing about our customer experiences as well as suggestions.  The feedback from contest administrators and participation of our Admin Advisory Group (which helps guide platform changes) is helping ensure the very best contest experience for everyone.

Our customer list is growing rapidly and now includes many collegiate and professional public relations  and broadcast organizations and trade organizations which hold annual journalism contests.  We’re also seeing strong numbers of freelance and contract journalists who have BetterBNC accounts allowing them to participate in Open Call awards programs.

If you represent an organization interested in a new contest platform, schedule a complimentary BetterBNC demo today and click here to check out our latest platform enhancements.  If you have questions or want to see the platform, email Paul Jeffko at paulj@smalltownpapers.com or call our office in Washington state at (360) 427-6300.


Why do organizations have awards programs?

It’s time consuming and requires dedicated staff to managing the process so why do organizations have awards programs? We polled a group of contest administrators using the BetterBNC awards platform for their print journalism, broadcast and PR contests to get an idea of why they hold annual contests.

  1. The majority of those polled indicated that awards programs and recognition provide member news and PR organizations with a marketing opportunity to differentiate themselves from competitors.
  2. Contests provide individuals with recognition that can help them advance their careers.
  3. Respondents also indicated that they believe the spirit of competition improves the overall news or PR product.  (Here’s a great blog on how student contests lead to better news stories)
  4. Ultimately, contests can increase involvement, membership and awareness of the sponsoring organization.

Many contests are beginning to see growth in the number of individuals and organizations entering contests which some attribute to the ease of online entries.  (Click here to read more about OCPRA which has experienced 15-20% growth.) Digital platforms are also making it possible to keep entry fees manageable as the much of the processes are now automated and require less staff involvement. Contest administrators who feel their contests have limited potential for growth are now exploring opportunities that can be created by using BetterBNC’s Open CallSM feature which allows freelancers and non-members to make entries. Contest administrators also tell us that they’re finding it easier to recruit judges when they offer online entry evaluation and rating.

Contact BetterBNC at 360.427.6300  to schedule a complimentary demo or learn more about our contest platform which is now being used by nearly 200 awards programs across North America.

BetterBNC Now Offers Customized Contest Homepages

BetterBNC_graphicMembers of BetterBNC’s Admin Advisor Group got a first look at the new Customizable Homepage feature this morning. It allows contest administrators to quickly and easily build a branded homepage for their media contest. They can select a URL, color palette, add images and graphics, and insert text (simply copy & paste) about their contest. The new feature is part of the BetterBNC contest platform’s newest version, BetterBNC 5.0, and will be available to BetterBNC contests in the next few days. It’s a free and optional feature that takes only a few minutes to set up. There are currently two templates to select from.

The Advisor Group, which reviews and provides feedback on BetterBNC’s new features, said they appreciate the ability to drive contest participants to a branded webpage for information about their awards program and the ease with which they can create the page. Several suggestions from today’s demo are being explored and we hope can be added to the platform in the future.

Want to know more about BetterBNC and how it can help you manage your contest? Contact BetterBNC today for more information or to see a demo of the platform. You can email Karen Tarica at Karen@smalltownpapers.com. BetterBNC is currently being used by nearly 200 media organizations across the US for their print, broadcast, PR and advertising contests.

Broadcast Orgs Turning to BetterBNC for their Awards Programs

The BetterBNC online contest management platform is pleased to announce it is approaching the signing of its 40th broadcaster contest.  Increasingly, broadcast organizations are seeking online solutions for their awards programs which must accommodate the various digital video and audio files being used by television and radio stations today.

The BetterBNC platform, used by nearly 200 news media awards programs across the country today, is becoming the preferred platform for broadcast organizations since it was designed and built specifically to address the unique needs of print and broadcast journalism contests.

MABLogoFor broadcaster awards programs, BetterBNC transforms the contest experience by saving time for all involved.   “It cuts down the upload time on the television side of things, the time it takes a station to enter and also for judging,” explains Mary Worland, the Awards and Projects Coordinator for the Michigan Association of Broadcasters which this year presents its third BetterBNC contest. “Rather than waiting to download, [judges] just click a link to view.  It’s so user-friendly, just drag and drop, and it’s also so much easier to download and export reports for ourselves and the auditors.”

Rather than shipping entries or uploading numerous pieces onto an awards program server, BetterBNC allows organizations to simply link to their broadcast entries which can be on a station’s website or published on sites including YouTube, Vimeo and Tindeck.  This reduces issues resulting from an increasing number of different file formats or slow server speeds and it is improving experience for judges who are now able to more easily view and evaluate entries online.

Launched in 2007, BetterBNC offers media organizations an online and fully integrated contest for entries, judging and administration.  The robust platform includes features designed to ensure contest security and integrity such as a fully auditable record of activity.  The platform allows for easy admin report generation, offers a suite of customization options and full tech support is included at no additional charge.

BetterBNC is committed to ongoing improvements and regularly adds new features, many of which are recommended by its Admin Advisory Group comprised of ten representatives from media organizations currently using the platform.  Program updates address new technologies and the evolution of the media industry.  Recent additions allow contests to accept PayPal for entry fees or open contests to freelance on-air talent, reporters and photographers.

Broadcast organizations can visit www.BetterBNC.com for more information or email carter@smalltownpapers.com to schedule a complimentary demo.

Nearly 200 Organizations are using BetterBNC Today

Of the nearly 200 organizations currently using BetterBNC’s awards program platform, a growing number are coming from broadcast and public relations organizations.  They tell us that they’re attracted to BetterBNC by the entirely online experience and ease of linking to broadcast stories and PR campaign materials.  The result is that customers are saving time on the administrative end and are still able to promote and grow their awards programs.

We appreciate our current BetterBNC users who are sharing their experiences with other contest administrators.  Most of our new customers say they contacted us after after hearing about positive experiences from their peers in other chapters of their groups including AP, SPJ, press clubs, broadcast groups etc.

For more information about BetterBNC’s platform created specifically for the journalism industry or to schedule a complimentary demo, contact Carter Cheston at carter@smalltownpapers.com.

Admin Advisory Group Guides BetterBNC Enhancements

BetterBNC’s Admin Advisory Group was formed this summer and is comprised of a diverse group of ten contest administrators representing both print and broadcast media organizations using the platform. The group recommends and reviews improvements and additions to the BetterBNC platform to ensure it best serves our customer’s needs.

“Our customers are the most informed users of the BetterBNC contest awards platform,” said Paul Jeffko, whose company, SmallTownPapers, Inc. created the product in 2007. “We will continue to evolve and improve based on the suggestions, ideas and feedback we receive from BetterBNC users.”
The Advisory Group has already made numerous recommendations, many of which are included in the release of version 5.0 which is currently rolling out. “We truly appreciate the time and work performed by this dedicated group of contest administrators. Their involvement will help ensure BetterBNC remains responsive to the needs of its users and the platform of choice for media industry awards programs,” Jeffko added.