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How to Market Your Pageant

07, April 2018

The International Junior Miss titleholders from Oregon and Washington. Photo: Eric Choy The International Junior Miss titleholders from Oregon and Washington. Photo: Kathy Whittaker Photography

Congratulations! You have decided to be a pageant director. This is no easy feat! A director serves as the heartbeat of the pageant. You are constantly filling out paperwork, talking with sponsors, and reaching out to the community. It is not an easy job, but seeing your titleholders flourish throughout their reigns makes every moment worth it. (Read: How to Become a Pageant Director) In order to have a successful pageant to continue to pour yourself into, you have to know how to market your pageant and pageant brand to the rest of the world. Your marketing strategies should have one goal: to recruit contestants. Your pageant can offer scholarships and trips of a lifetime, but if you do not market the pageant successfully, contestants will not sign up. With the advancements in technology and social media, directors have dozens of tools at their fingertips to help with marketing their pageants to potential contestants. With so many options, finding the one that works the best for your pageant can be a bit overwhelming.

How to market on Pageant Planet Pageant Planets offers dozens of proven (and free!) marketing tools that can help put your pageant on the map. Starting off with Pageant Planet's Directory, this tool is a listing of all pageant systems and pageant contestants. According to Pageant Planet's Queen of Directory, Samantha Sewell, the directory is not only a great tool for contestants but directors as well. "Their listing can include all the items pageant girls look for when researching for a system to compete in," Sewell said. "This includes prizes, past state, national or international winners, and judging criteria. Streamlining the search process for contestants in a way that not only makes information clear but easy to locate helps your pageant appear more professional and organized. This is a huge factor contestants look for in finding the perfect pageant. (Read: What to Look For in a Beauty Pageant)

Pageant Planet's Queen of Directory, Samantha Sewell. Photo: Samantha Sewell. Pageant Planet's Queen of Directory, Samantha Sewell. Photo: Samantha Sewell.

Create a free listing Now, there are all these benefits to the directory. But how do you get your pageant on there where contestants from around the globe can find it? The first step is to create a free listing here. The link will take you to the free listing form for Pageant Planet. Here, you can fill out all the information related to your system and submit it to the directory. Once approved, your pageant will be listed in the directory where thousands of potential contestants can search each day. (Read: How to Market to Pageant Girls With These 5 Free Tools) Once the pageant is listed, former and current contestants can also talk about their experiences with the pageant. "Pageant contestants can rate the systems," Sewell said. "Therefore, the director who runs an amazing pageant will have a five-star rating that girls look for!" Oh, did I mention it's free? That's right. It costs nothing to add a pageant to the directory.

The directory also offers search tools that can connect your pageant to contestants who have gone on to win big. After submitting your pageant, you can tag all former and current titleholders under your system. This way, when someone searches that titleholder, they will find your pageant linked to their profile on Pageant Planet's site! One of the best examples is with Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev. A little-known fact about Kazantsev is that she competed in National American Miss before gracing the Miss America stage.  Not only can you see this fun fact under her profile in the directory, but you can also click and be directly connected to information about the 2012 National America Miss pageant. (Read: Miss America 2015 Kentucky Derby Gown: HIT or MISS?) For more information about the directory, e-mail us at [email protected]

Kira Kazantsev. Photo: Jimmy Ellis Kira Kazantsev. Photo: Jimmy Ellis

Pageant Predictions Game This feature allows you to introduce your contestants and interact with pageant fans across the globe. Located here, this interactive tool gives fans a chance to predict the new queen! Here's how it works. The contestants' headshots and names are uploaded to Pageant Planet's Predictions page. The pageant goes live on the page one month before the crowning date of the pageant. Once live, members of the pageant public can vote on who they think will take home the title as well as the first and second runners-up! (Read: Miss America 2018 Top Predictions) There is even a leaderboard. You heard that right, a leaderboard. "When the pageant is done, you can view on your dashboard if you received points," Sewell said. "If you do receive points for getting a prediction right, you will appear on the leaderboard where you can climb and become the number one predictor!" This adds a competitive touch for the pageant public to also have the number one title, meaning they will spend time researching contestants to see what predictions could result in the most points!

Leads Now that you have created your listed, you may be asking, "What's next?" Do you just sit there and hope contestants will contact you? Are there more forms to fill out? Will this even work? Fear not. We will help generate "leads" that connect you to future contestants, which our Queen of Operations, Stephanie McGrane, helps explain below. (Read: 10 Ideas to Recruit More Contestants for Directors) "Leads come into the system two different ways," McGrane said. "People can contact directors (or any advertiser) directly for more info or they can fill out an online form to have pageant directors contact them." The form, available here, allows for those who may not know what pageant they qualify for to fill out their information. Once submitted, the contestant's information is matched with pageants registered in the directory and the director is contacted. "If people don't know what pageant they want to enter but want directors to contact them, they fill this out," McGrane said. "When their info matches the info the directors have entered online, they (the director) will get a message that they have a lead. Directors can choose to contact this lead if they want and should it be someone who matches what their system is looking for."

Queen of Operations, Stephanie McGrane. Photo: Stephanie McGrane Queen of Operations, Stephanie McGrane. Photo: Stephanie McGrane

Titleholder of the Day While Pageant Planet offers tons of free tools for directors to market their pageants, there are other features directors can access to market their pageant by becoming an advertiser. We offer directors three different advertising packages to connect and successfully market your pageant. The Diamond, Rhinestone and Glitter packages all offer directors different tools and strategies to market their pageants. (Read: 14 Pageant Advertising Ideas) "Our goal is to get advertisers in front of our viewers to bring about brand awareness and increase brand recognition through Titleholder of the Day, Question of the Day, live takeovers on social media, articles, news items or submitted images," McGrane said. One of the most popular features of the advertising packages is the Titleholder of the Day. As a director, you know part of recruiting future contestants means featuring your current ones. This feature gives your titleholder a chance to be front and center on Pageant Planet's social media. "All directors receive six Titleholder of the Day as part of their advertising package," McGrane said. "We like to feature a system's titleholders once every two months to keep the pageant's visibility throughout the year. The feature is great for directors as they give their titleholders international exposure. Titleholders of the Day can use this time to talk about their community service work, their pageant system and more." One of the most successful Titleholder of the Day features belongs to Mrs. Global United 2016, Tracie Chan. Her video was viewed 7,300 times and the post shared 54 times on Facebook alone! This amount of exposure is crucial in marketing your pageant and recruiting contestants. (Read: Global United Pageant Sets Gold Standard for Interview and Community Service) For more information about becoming an advertiser, contact Paige Jensen, Queen of Sales, at [email protected]

Mrs. Global United 2016, Tracie Chan.

Commenting on social media

Social media provides a broad landscape for marketing your pageant. Of course, like with many websites, commenting on Pageant Planet's social media could get you noticed. This goes for directors as well! (Read: How to Become Pageant Famous on Instagram)

When a director comments on Pageant Planet's articles or social media with an account that contains the pageant system in the name, you offer potential contestants a landing page to find out more information on your pageant!

"Viewers can click to be brought right to the pageant system's page," McGrane said. "The way a director is going to get the most benefit out of everything is by being active and sharing everything we do on their end to add to the exposure they are already receiving."

Shoutouts

In addition to commenting on social media, you can also give Pageant Planet shoutouts for a chance to be featured! With your post include the #PageantPlanet. This allows Pageant Planet's social media team to filter the thousands of posts on the internet to the ones just relating to Pageant Planet!

"If it is something fun, unique and/or shareable, chances are, it may just end up our feed," said Pageant Planet's Queen of Marketing, Sherri Shanley.

Queen of Design, Sherri Shanely. Photo: Sherri Shanley Queen of Marketing, Sherri Shanely. Photo: Fadil Berisha

News

There are thousands of pageants. With that being said, Pageant Planet is constantly looking for newsworthy stories.

Now, what exactly is newsworthy in the pageant world? Well, do you have a huge special guest judge like a former Miss America? Is one of your titleholders overcoming extreme hardship to be the best queen possible? How about adding a whole new division to your pageant? (Read: Miss America 2017 Announced to Judge USA National Miss 2018)

These are the types of stories Pageant Planet is looking to cover! A whole news article on Pageant Planet's website has the potential to bring thousands of viewers and potential contestants information about your pageant.

To submit newsworthy stories to Pageant Planet, email our Queen of Editing, Allison Kratz, at [email protected]

Queen of News, Allison Kratz. Photo: Allizon Kratz Queen of Editing, Allison Kratz. Photo: Allison Kratz

Best in Pageantry Awards

In October, Pageant Planet will open nominations for the "Best in Pageantry Awards." The pageant public can submit nominations for Best Pageant, Best Director, Best Prize Package, the list goes on. (Read: Here Are ALL of the Best in Pageantry 2017 Award Winners)

"The Best in Pageantry Awards are some of our most viewed articles of the year as well as most shared," McGrane said. "Viewers look to these articles to see the best of the best each year. This is an excellent opportunity to have your pageant seen by an incredible number of viewers as one of our top-rated systems."

How to market in the community Pageant Planet offers marketing opportunities not available to directors in the past. However, nothing is better than traditional marketing through community outreach! Presenting your titleholders as public figures in the best possible light will help develop them into better role models for the community. As role models, they can inspire other girls to enter your pageant so they too can receive the same type of personal development. (Read: How to Market Your Titleholders) "Your marketing brand recognition is what drives potential contestants to you," said Teri Brown-Walker, Executive Director of the Miss Delaware, Maryland and District of Columbia United States. "Potential contestants want to see what your queens are doing in the community; they are the face of the organization." Brown-Walker took over as the director for Miss Delaware United States almost three years ago. After finding great success with one state pageant, she hit the ground running and became the director for two additional states: Maryland and the District of Columbia. Brown-Walker has made multiple appearances in Pageant Planet's Best in Pageantry Awards, including being named the number one state pageant director for 2017. (Read: Top 10 State Pageant Directors of 2017)

Executive Director of Miss Delaware, Maryland and District of Columbia United States, Teri Brown-Walker. Photo: Denise Rogers Executive Director of Miss Delaware, Maryland and District of Columbia United States, Teri Brown-Walker. Photo: Denise Rogers

Speaking engagements A chance to speak in public not only develops communication skills, but it provides titleholders with a chance to talk directly with members of the community. (Read: Conquer Public Speaking in Five Steps) There are plenty of types of speaking engagements directors can book for their titleholders. For example, speaking at a school about their experience as a titleholder and platform. For older contestants, commencement and keynote speeches provide titleholders with an opportunity to talk about their achievements resulting from their title and your system. "Our titleholders participate in a wide variety of community service projects throughout the Washington metro area, such as Happy Helpers For The Homeless, Sarah House and United Way just to name a few," Brown-Walker said. This type of community outreach can inspire and connect potential contestants to your system. It also serves as a way for you to develop your titleholders into the best queens they can be.

However, you do not need a specific event to get your titleholders in the community. You can take a page from Brown-Walker's playbook and host your own speaking event as well. "Pop-up mall events, 'Get to Know Your State Queens,' has been very successful and increased our potential contestant pool by 30 percent," Brown-Walker said. This event serves as a recruiting and speaking engagement for Brown-Walker and her titleholders. Setting up in the model, titleholders are given the chance to talk with members of the community about the Miss United States Pageant and what it means to them. Potential contestants can also learn information about upcoming events and interact with the current queens.

Ms. Woman DC United States 2018, Chelsea Elizabeth works with her local Girl Scout Group to set-up 503 pinwheels to honor those children affected by child abuse in Allegany County, Maryland. Photo: Chelsea Elizabeth Ms. Woman DC United States 2018, Chelsea Elizabeth works with her local Girl Scout Group to set-up 503 pinwheels to honor those children affected by child abuse in Allegany County, Maryland. Photo: Chelsea Elizabeth

Fundraisers Organizations, and sometimes people, are always looking for money. That being said, this can provide you with dozens of opportunities for appearances for your titleholders. Fundraisers also put you in direct contact with members of the community throughout the day. This can provide an opportunity for one-on-one conversations with people who may be interested in entering the pageant in the future. (Read: 5 Pageant Platform Money Raising Ideas That Are Guaranteed to Work!) Starting off with food, everyone loves food. Whether it is a restaurant or food truck, the fundraising opportunity is plenty! Most vendors will ask for a revenue split, with half the proceeds going towards your cause or pageant and the other half going to the food vendor. Food fundraisers are not only easy, they are fun and, with the right planning, an almost guaranteed success.

If you have a pageant located near a college town, Greek life can serve as a hub for fundraisers. Sororities almost always have some type of philanthropy they raise money for throughout the semester. For example, a common sorority philanthropy involves a mentorship program within the community. As a director, you could partner with the sorority to give a reduced or free pageant entry to those involved with the mentorship program. The pageant could then serve as a fundraiser with the proceeds benefiting the mentorship program. (Read: How to Start Your Own Pageant) You can also use this as an opportunity for your titleholders to get involved. They can help with coordinating contestants, allow them to borrow gowns and even assist with crowning!

Titleholders from International Junior Miss Oregon and Washington make an appearance at the Ronald McDonald House. Photo: Nicole Miller Titleholders from International Junior Miss Oregon and Washington make an appearance at the Ronald McDonald House. Photo: Nicole Miller

 Judges Another marketing strategy and community outreach opportunity lies in selecting your judges. Of course, you should only have judges that are both highly qualified and unbiased. However, as long as you are willing to ensure they receive proper training, asking a community figure to judge a pageant can serve as an opportunity for some (nearly) free PR! One suggestion is to ask a radio personality. Radio personalities often talk about events in their own lives on the air. This means your pageant could receive a potential shoutout! (Read: Etiquette Rules That Every Pageant Judge Must Know)

Tradeout deals This is a common marketing strategies for successful pageants. For the sake of brevity, the best way to explain a tradeout deal is through example. Keeping with the radio host theme, a tradeout deal would be if you offered the radio host an ad in your program book in exchange for interviewing your titleholders on-air. This type of community outreach is often built of trust and reputation This type of positive publicity is vital in marketing your pageant to members of the community.

International Junior Miss Teen 2017, Ariah Alba, shows off her custom doll in her winning evening gown by Shrink3D. The winner of the 2018 pageant will also receive a replica doll as part of their prize package. Photo: Nicole Miller International Junior Miss Teen 2017, Ariah Alba, shows off her custom doll in her winning evening gown by Shrink3D. The winner of the 2018 pageant will also receive a replica doll as part of their prize package. Photo: Nicole Miller

Getting on news media Traditional news media is another tool available to directors in marketing their pageants. The key with finding success with traditional news media is to start small. Contact local news organizations before going to regional or national organizations. The best way to get a foot in the door with traditional news media is to buy an advertisement for your upcoming pageant. By placing the ad, you will be able to open the dialogue with the organization about covering upcoming newsworthy events. Local events, like the fundraisers mentioned above, provide an excellent opportunity to reach out to the paper about coverage. Easy leads are always welcomed, especially during weeks where the newsroom may not be as busy.

International Junior Miss titleholders from Washington and Oregon pose during a promotional photoshoot. Photo: Eric Choy. International Junior Miss titleholders from Washington and Oregon pose during a promotional photoshoot. Photo: Eric Choy

Using social media The age of social media has brought about more marketing opportunities for directors than ever before. You can now run an entire page and post updates about events, contestants and even live stream parts of your pageant or titleholders' appearances! Bonus, marketing through social media provides you with days where you can get almost all your work done from the comfort of your own home! "I utilize media strategically by promoting consistently online at the same time daily when I feel my target audience would be using social media, increasing my chances for visual likes, comments and sharing," Brown-Walker said. "I found that this increases the possibility of new contestants as well as ticket sales."

Mrs. Maryland United States 2017, Katya Avdeev, behind the scenes at a photoshoot for the 2018 state program book. Photo; Teri Brown-Walker Mrs. Maryland United States 2017, Katya Avdeev, behind the scenes at a photoshoot for the 2018 state program book. Photo; Teri Brown-Walker

Facebook groups While Facebook is in hot, hot, hot water right now, there are hundreds of pageant search groups located on the site that can serve as a goldmine for marketing. Using the search bar, simple type "Pageants in ..." and you are met with hundreds of results for groups dedicated to pageants located in certain areas. These type of groups do not require a fee. It is free advertising. More filters can be placed if you have a very specific type of pageant. Glitz pageants, for example, are the subject of many Facebook groups. Other categories include charity, natural and scholarship pageant groups. (Read: Types of Glitz Pageants and What's Best for You)

Hashtags Hashtags also serve as a great marketing tool for directors. According to McGrane, they serve as a way for contestants to identify and search for your pageant. "Hashtags are used to promote businesses and help people find their brand," McGrane said. "Hashtags can bring in new followers, reach their target audience and stand out. Each system should have a hashtag unique to their brand." One great example comes from National American Miss. On nearly every titleholder's post, you will see the hashtag #NAMily. The creative hashtag not only identifies the pageant but sells the pageant's brand about being a second family for titleholders. (Read: What is the Difference Between National American Miss and National All-American Miss?)

National America Miss 2018, Jordan Meachum, (left) and National All-American Miss 2018, Keisha Abelgas, (right). Photo: National American Miss National America Miss 2018, Jordan Meachum, (left) and National All-American Miss 2018, Keisha Abelgas, (right). Photo: National American Miss

Photos A picture is also worth a thousands words, or maybe in this case, dollars. A quality photo can sell your pageant all on its own. First off, do not skip on the expense of hiring a great photographer for your pageant. You will be thankful when all your photos from the pageant are crisp and clear. Contestants, of course, always love the option of high-quality prints from the pageant they can later send to family and sponsors. (Read: Top 10 Pageant Event Photographers of 2017) Some pageants that have had the most success with this include USA National Miss and Miss Universe. Throughout the titleholders' reigns, dozens of glamorous photos appear across social media platforms. Whether it is a casual outdoor appearance or a high-fashion photoshoot, these photos serve as a marketing tool to hundreds of thousands of followers.

Another example lies in designer Sherri Hill. While she is not a director, her marketing strategy with her models has launched her to become one of the most sought after gown designers in all of pageantry. In addition to having many models who are former contestants, like Olivia Jordan and Pia Wurtzbach, Hill has managed to style her models to appear as the Victoria Secret models of the prom and pageant world. (Read: National American Miss National Queens Taking Over Sherri Hill Headquarters This Weekend)

USA National Miss titleholders pose for their official crownshots to be displayed on the USA National Miss website year round. Photo: USA National Miss USA National Miss titleholders pose for their official crownshots to be displayed on the USA National Miss website year round. Photo: USA National Miss

Socialmediaexaminer.com While you can put all these marketing strategies into play, it will not do you much good if you do not know how they are working. Social Media Examiner is a website that will examine your businesses social media accounts to find out how to better use your social media in marketing. The company examines traffic, posts, comments, nearly everything. The result is a comprehensive evaluation that allows to see the social media trends that are working for your pageant and the ones that can be improved.

International Junior Miss titleholders from Washington and Oregon pose during a promotional photoshoot. Photo: Eric Choy International Junior Miss titleholders from Washington and Oregon pose during a promotional photoshoot. Photo: Eric Choy

Successful marketing is crucial is the success of your pageant. With so many advancements in technology, there are marketing tools never available to director's before. Pageant Planet, community outreach, news media and social media are just a few of the opportunities for directors to utilize and build your pageant. Have you or do you currently direct a pageant? What types of marketing strategies have worked best for you? Comment below!

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Title Holder Of the Day

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Was a classical ballet dancer under the Royal Ballet-London!

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