Steven Roddy, Founder of Pageant Planet
Nothing is more discouraging for the audience, girls competing and the directors than showing up to a pageant and having just a few girls competing. Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens all the time. Even in the Miss America Organization, the longest running and arguably one of the most prestigious pageants, has state competitions where six girls are competing for the title. That isn’t a slam. It just tells me that if they, like the majority of pageant directors, are having problems with their pageant marketing strategies.
Well, I want to help you market your pageant to more girls.
For two reasons actually: First, if I help you get more girls involved in your pageant, that is an increase in the pageant girls I can serve, and therefore more traffic for PageantPlanet.com.
Second, I have paid advertising opportunities on PageantPlanet.com starting at no cost to you - FREE. You can unlock those free features by creating an account on Pageant Planet and then adding your pageant to our directory, if it's not already listed.
There are dozens of pageant calendars on many pageant websites where you could list your pageant event. We are one of those websites. You can list your next pageant on our calendar and it's completely free to do so. But, we are not the only one. Simply Google “pageant calendars” and then submit your pageant to all the online calendars.
Pageant Planet has a directory where you can list your pageant and gain exposure to tens of thousands of girls looking for pageants in their area. Click here to submit your pageant for free. Be sure to include all the girls who competed in your pageant, especially if that girl is now competing in other systems. Your pageant will be tied to her profile so you can indirectly market yourself.
Your pageant is a business and girls might stumble upon it and sign up. Look to Google and type in "Business Directories" to get started. List your pageant everywhere from Yelp to Google Businesses. At the bare minimum, create a FaceBook Fan Page. My wife looked up Miss Massachusetts USA on Google to locate their offices. If she looked online for their information, I know that there are others potential contestants doing the same.
Sororities are a great place to find talent for your pageant. Most sororities host fundraising pageants so they are familiar with the industry. Additionally, if you are a pageant that gives scholarship money, you will have a much better opportunity of getting them to enroll because they are already in college. If you don't have scholarship money to use in your sales pitch then be sure to highlight the networking opportunities that pageantry can bring.
If your pageant has a talent or optional talent phase then dance studios can be a great place to shop for contestants. Right away you can overcome the objection of potential contestants saying, "I don't have a talent." Ask if you can advertise your pageant at the studio or pass along your information to the studio's dancers.
If you have a reigning titleholder, get him or her interviews! Get him or her on the nightly news, inside the newspapers, have him or her make a guest appearance at a local event. Many pageants think that just because she is interviewed after she is crowned then the media is no longer interested, but you can cause the media to continue to be interested by emailing them regarding every appearance she does. Your titleholder is your spokesmodel so get her out there to promote your pageant.
If you have a reigning titleholder, be strategic about the type of appearance you get him or her scheduled for. You want to have a good mixture of community service and appearances that are in front of an audience, like a high school, that could bring you more contestants. Remember that when your titleholder is booked for an appearance where there could be potential contestants, you want to go over your call to action with him or her. Basically, a call to action is saying at the end of your speech, "If you want to compete for our next pageant visit, [your website]."
Partnering up with organizations like modeling agencies can create a win-win situation. For the agencies offer to cross promote: you send your girls to their agency and they send their models to your pageant or give them a finders fee for any of their models who want to compete.
Leverage social media to live stream. You don't need expensive live streaming equipment. You can live stream your whole pageant, including behind the scenes shots, with the free app and your cell phone with the right angles. You can also live stream your pageant through our Fan Page and reach 250,000+ people with a click of a button. Create a free account to unlock this feature.
Write up a press release and submit it to the local newspaper and magazines. This could get your pageant information out there and potentially bring new contestants. I would not, however, suggest PR Web. I've tried this several times, spent hundreds of dollars and saw zero return on my investment.
Treat your contestants right. If you do not, they will tell others. Unfortunately, I often hear about contestants not receiving their scholarship money, being mistreated during appearances and fighting with their directors. If you treat your contestants right they will give positive word of mouth press. If you don’t, they will definitely give negative word of mouth press!
A website will cost you some money upfront but the payout is residual. A website that is designed professionally and easy to navigate is critical for your conversions. But, what is more important than the way your website looks is if people can find it in the search engines. Website design is a two-fold process that needs to encompass a professional design and SEO (search engine optimization).
The reason a lot of girls don’t take new pageants seriously is the fact that most of them are unprofessional. Your pageant is a production and if the production is awful, girls are not going to want to participate. The reason why the Miss USA, National American Miss and Miss America pageants have such strong numbers is that their pageants are very professionally run.
For the starting cost of $10 / month, we have various ways that you can advertise your pageant. From social media shoutouts to girls applying for your pageant directly from this website. Create an account to unlock our different features.
My hope is that this post answers your question of “How to do I market my pageant?” If you have other suggestions on pageant advertising leave a comment below so we can all be more successful!
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