Tag Archives: journalism contest

The easiest way to contact previous contestants.

emailYou’re gearing up for your next journalism, creative or PR contest and you’re drafting your communications announcing the competition.  Time to download the email addresses of last year’s participants so they can receive your Call for Entries and other announcements.  Perhaps you have a new contest admin so this is all taking a bit of time.  You find yourself saying “there must be an easier way.”

BetterBNC now has a Marketing Manager feature that allows your contest admin to easily email previous contest participants right from the admin dashboard.  You can quickly and easily send all of them an announcement about the upcoming contest.

The Marketing Manager feature allows you to create an email template or draft a new email.  You can contact contestants or judges.  It’s an easy way to reach everyone with announcements, reminders and even thank you email.

If you haven’t taken advantage of the Marketing Manager, let us know and we’ll sent you the easy guide or we can walk you through.  Remember, with BetterBNC, all of your training and support for the year is included with your renewal.

Can I use BetterBNC for my contest?

BetterBNC was created specifically for media and PR contests – print journalism, broadcast news, advertising, photography and public relations work.   But increasingly, we’re asked whether we can accomodate new and different types of contests being added by organizations.  We’re hearing more about film awards, video production, business achievement, and online awards programs and we’re excited to be adding these to our BetterBNC contest portfolio!

Contact BetterBNC to see if the platform is a good fit for your contest.  Our tech team will look at the process and way the contest operates to determine if our platform is your best way forward.  What delights us most about these inquiries, is that organizations are growing their awards programs by expanding and adding new contests.

Set up your complimentary BetterBNC demo today by contacting karen@smalltownpapers.com.

Helping you improve your contest experience.

BetterBNC has won customer praise for our commitment to customer satisfaction.  The team encourages and, more importantly, listens to suggestions from our customers every day.  Many of those suggestions are now popular features in our base platform.

With our contest platform uniquely designed specifically for print and broadcast journalism, creative and public relations contests, it’s important that we maintain an open dialog with those using the platform. We learn from contest administrators, judges and contestants about the unique features needed for their specific contests.

Understanding how frustrated judges can get when they use a platform where they have to download dozens of large file entries helped us design our own program which uses links and third party sites such as RealView to house large entries and make them easy and fast for judges to review and evaluate.

Contest admins wanted a quick way to house all of their contest information and the idea for customized homepages was born. It is now a feature which comes with sign up or your renewal (at no additional charge) and is being used by most of our contest administrators.

And we heard prospective customers loud and clear when they told us that they don’t like getting a bill at the end of the month or year for their training and support.  At BetterBNC, all training and support is INCLUDED in your base price – you NEVER get an extra charge for training and support. We’re here around the clock to ensure your contest is a success!

Our door is open, our ears are listening – we encourage feedback so contact us and let us know about your contest. What are people saying?  What features would you like to see in the future?  Know of an organization which would benefit from moving their contest to BetterBNC?  Let us know and we’ll reach out to them.

A look at one of the first contests to use BetterBNC.

WNPA_logo_COLOR_1-300x122Some of our BetterBNC team members were delighted to be able to attend the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association (WNPA) meeting in Everett, Washington last week.  It was a chance to see just how far one of the very first organizations to use BetterBNC has come with regard to its awards program.

Judged by the Kansas Press Association, WNPA had strong participation with nearly 60 newspapers uploading entries.  There were 373 advertising, 160 special sections, 1,076 news, 349 photography, 31 web, and 45 general excellence entries.

WNPA puts together a great contest showpiece which is available on their website.  You can click here to take a look, learn about their awards program and check out the winners.  Congratulations to WNPA and all those who participated in their 2015 Better Newspaper Contest!


Why our customers say BetterBNC is better.

What sets BetterBNC apart from other platforms?  Customers who have come to BetterBNC from other platforms are quick to share their observations.

First, and what we hear most frequently, is that our customers appreciate that all training and support is included in our base price.  There is no bill at the end of the year for training and support.  They tell us an additional plus is the fact that our support is provided by our Tech Team out of our Washington state office which monitors support requests around the clock.

The second thing we hear most often is that contest administrators like that the platform was built specifically for their industry – journalism, creative, broadcast and public relations contests.  We do not have a generic platform that requires customization to make it work for these organizations.  Our team is made up of individuals who have worked in print journalism, broadcast news and PR, and we know firsthand the features that make for an easier contest experience for everyone.

BetterBNC has been designed to be easier and more efficient for contest administrators and contestants but just as important in its evolution has been creating an easy and smooth experience for judges.  We have received rave reviews from judges who tell us its the best contest judging experience they’ve had – intuitive and easy to use.

BetterBNC is also commited to continual improvement and adds new features each year to enhance the contest experience.  We listen to customers who have provided invaluable input and suggestions. In 2015, we added two features which come at no additional charge. One allows administrators to easily and conveniently email contestants and judges from the admin dashboard and the other allows the contest to easily create its own branded contest landing page.

We look forward to an even better 2016! Contact us today to take a look at the platform and discover how it can enhance your next contest.


Important Info. for BetterBNC Customers

We’re excited about the upcoming contest season – the largest yet for BetterBNC as we continue to welcome new organizations to the platform thanks largely to your referrals. We have important reminders for you below and, as always, please contact us if you have any questions. We appreciate your choosing BetterBNC for your awards program!

Contest Renewals
Thanks to those of you who have completed your contest renewals and sent in the information required. If you haven’t yet completed your renewal, send it in today. If you have questions, please contact Karen@smalltownpapers.com or PaulJ@smalltownpapers.com and they can assist you.

Are you new to BetterBNC?
If this is your first year with BetterBNC, help us ensure your contest is ready to go when the Call for Entries goes out. If you haven’t already, please complete and return your template as soon as possible.

BetterBNC Website Refresh
We’ve had a fantastic response to the BetterBNC website refresh launched this summer. If you haven’t yet checked it out, visit www.betterbnc.com today.  If you use BetterBNC screenshots in your contest instructions or other promotional material, you’ll want to capture the updated shots. If you need assistance, please contact the head of our tech team Cody France (Cody@smalltownpapers.com) You may have noticed the new Admin Overview Chart available in “Entries.” Admins could always examine an overview of entries, but now we’ve added a great new overview tool for entries made by Open Call contestants. It’s already in your Admin/Entries window – simply click to reveal.

Easy Download of Winning Entries
We’ve seen a dramatic surge in the use of Entry Asset Manager. Contest admins are discovering the value in having all the attachments for winning entries downloaded in one highly organized zip file. If you retain your winning entries on your own server, or want to create a powerpoint visual presentation for your awards ceremony, Entry Asset Manager can increase your efficiency by gathering all assets on one place for instant download. If you would like to add the Entry Asset Manager module to your contest, contact us today.

Use Marketing Manager to Email Judges & Contestants
Contest administrators are enjoying the Marketing Manager feature which allows you to conveniently email judges and contestants right from the dashboard. Use this feature to:

  • Create & save Campaign Email Templates
  • Send Campaigns to target audiences
  • Fully format typeface and fonts
  • Include your logos, graphics and images
  • Monitor progress of Sent, Received, Opened and Bounced

There are six different types of campaign emails to choose from and you can create a template to use in the future or create emails when you’re ready to send. Be sure to remind your members and participants to add email.smalltownpapers.com to their “safe senders” list to ensure contest email lands in their inbox. Marketing Manager makes communicating with your contestants and judges more productive and is included in the price of your renewal.

Build Your Customized Homepage Today
One of our most popular new features is the customized homepage which allows you to easily create a branded contest homepage.
From the administrator dashboard, simply click “Design Settings” to start building your own page.

Customer Q&A
Q: Why doesn’t the platform allow large PDF files to be entered?
A: You may have noticed BetterBNC’s 20mb file size limit for entries. The reason we don’t permit larger files to be uploaded is simply because it takes longer to download which creates a more cumbersome process for your judges, particularly if they have standard DSL. Customers are encouraged to limit file sizes to 5mb or less or opt to use an online e-publishing platform such as Issuu, VuDu or RealView. When contestants make entries using the e-publishing option, they enter the URL web address of the document rather than uploading. Judges are able to easily view and evaluate the entry.

Do you have a question for BetterBNC? Email Karen Tarica at karen@smalltownpapers.com.

The platform that can improve your awards program.

logo-300As we’re processing all of the renewals that are coming in and setting up the contests that have just signed on with BetterBNC, we find ourselves amazed at the growth in the platform over the past year alone.  At this time a year ago, we were excited to have expanded into more PR and broadcast contests and contest administrators were delighted to be using a new feature allowing them to create their own customized contest homepages.

Since then, we have welcomed dozens of new contests to BetterBNC and added new features like the Marketing Manager which allows contest administrators to email contestants and judges right from the dashboard.  It’s made it really easy to send out call for entries, reminders and thank yous.  We launched a BetterBNC website refresh which contest admins describe as clean, fresh, intuitive and easy to navigate and we are adding more creative contests such as advertising awards programs.

Some of the biggest fans of BetterBNC continue to be judges who say its far and away the easiest platform they’ve used to judge print and broadcast journalism, creative and public relations contests.  We appreciate all the feedback we receive from those using the platform and look forward to continued work with the best journalism, creative and PR awards programs out there.

Contact us anytime or email karen@smalltownpapers.com if you’d like to schedule a complimentary platform demo.

How does your contest platform handle large files?

applesorangesContest platforms are not the same.  Some, like BetterBNC, are easy and intuitive while others have a huge learning curve.  Some require lots of costly customization to meet your contest needs while others, like BetterBNC, have a base platform that meets most needs of a specific industry – in our case, journalism, creative and public relations contests.  Some platforms allow contestants to upload extremely large files while others, including BetterBNC, set a limit.

Got your attention, right?  Why would BetterBNC limit the file size of PDFs that can be entered?

If you’ve seen the platform, you have likely noticed BetterBNC’s 20mb file size limit for entries. The reason we don’t permit larger files to be uploaded is simply because it takes longer to download which creates a more cumbersome process for your judges, particularly if they have standard DSL. Customers are encouraged to limit file sizes to 5mb or less or opt to use an online e-publishing platform such as Issuu, VuDu or RealView. When contestants make entries using the e-publishing option, they enter the URL web address of the document rather than uploading. Judges are able to easily view and evaluate the entry.

This is one of the main reasons judges consistently praise the BetterBNC platform for its ease of use.  It saves them time and energy.

Check out BetterBNC today and learn how it can create a better contest experience for everyone involved – your contest administrator, judges and contestants.

4 Easy Steps to Getting Started with BetterBNC

Whether your contest is currently run manually or you’re using a different online platform, moving to BetterBNC is fast and easy.  Just a couple of steps and you’re ready to go.

  1. Contact BetterBNC to schedule a complimentary demo so you can see the platform at work from the perspectives of the contest admin, judges and contestants.
  2. Review your BetterBNC proposal which will include any modules or other features you may need.  Remember that all training and support for the year is included in your base price!
  3. Once you approve and return your signed proposal, you will complete an Excel template which guides the BetterBNC team building your contest.
  4. Once your template has been completed, the team will start building your contest and you can schedule training at your convenience.

For most of our customers, the contest can be built in just a couple of weeks.  When your admin logs into the contest, everything is there and ready to go but they can complete tasks such as making any changes, entering members/judges, creating a customized contest homepage, and more. The BetterBNC support team is always available if they have any questions or need help, and there’s never an additional charge for support.

The platform is overwhelmingly preferred by contest judges who, after using BetterBNC to judge contests, consistently recommend that their own media organizations make the switch to BetterBNC.  Contestants also enjoy the ease of entering awards programs using the platform saying it is saving them time and energy.

BetterBNC has been designed specifically for journalism, creative and public relations awards program and we’re committed the success of your contest.  Give us a call if you’d like to take a look at the platform and see how it can make your contest even BETTER!

Make the switch to an easier and less stressful contest platform!

BetterBNC has been delighted to welcome several new contests to the platform this summer most of which have switched to BetterBNC from other platforms that they found to be too cumbersome, difficult to use and expensive.

The #1 Selling Point for BetterBNC
Our new contests have indicated that they appreciate that BetterBNC’s base price includes all training and support for the year.  There is no bill at the end of the year for support calls or training sessions.  And, support is provided each day, from early until late, out of our Washington state offices. There’s no waiting days for a response to your questions.

Time Saved with Marketing Manager
Customers love that they can email judges and contestants right from the administrator dashboard.  It saves time and energy sending reminders and thank you notes.  There are several different email campaigns that can be launched and you can always monitor which emails have been opened or bounced. This feature was launched in 2015 and is included in the base price or with your renewal.

Your Contest Webpage
We also receive great reviews on our Customized Homepage feature which allows an organization to quickly and easily create its own customized contest homepage hosted on BetterBNC.com.  You can provide all of your contest information right there along with the log in button so judges and contestants can get started.  Like Marketing Manager, this feature comes at no additional charge.

Want a BETTER contest experience?  Check out BetterBNC today and see why so many journalism, creative and public relations contests are making the switch.