Any tips for winning contests?

I REALLY want to win a macbook air, because working a fifteen hour day, at one dollar an hour just isn't going to pay for it. (I work at a cub scout day camp, plus half of the money goes into savings :p)  So, what should I do to get/win one?

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Follow the rules to a T. If it says use a particular product, then use that product and have it next to your items. If it has a "theme" then follow the theme closely.

Macro photos, the judges love good quality macro photos, Borrow a camera if you can, avoid using web cameras or cellphone cameras under 5mp.

It don't have to be a brand new idea. I placed on a contest with an idea i had been doing for years that no one has posted.

If you have the grey robot shirt, then wear it during the instructable.
Kiteman5 years ago
Be original

Take lots and lots of well-lit, well-framed photos of every stage of the build. Crop and tweak in photoshop if desired. Be selective about which photos you use.

Try and arrange your photos so that they tell a story.

Be very clear in your write-up. Make sure your language is accurate, both in spelling and in grammar. Do not be afraid to use humour, but don't force it.

Do not use huge chunks of text - break it up visually, and break it up into steps.

Keep saving and checking the preview version as you create, to make sure everything looks right.

Read it out loud before you post. Get friends to read it before you publish.

After entering, remain active - send the link to friends and family, post it on facebook, tweet about it. Send the link to relevant blogs with high readerships.

If people comment, be quick to reply, but do not beg for votes. Just be friendly and helpful, not needy.
bwrussell5 years ago
If you want to win the Grand Prize everything must be A+. This means the concept behind the Instructable needs to be unique and innovative, the execution of the project needs to be near professional, the documentation (pictures, write up) must be error free and easy to read and follow, and realistically it should be submitted as early into the contest as possible.
In the end these contests are judged by people, and each one by different people depending on the category, so you never really know what they will be keying on.

You could put more of your pay into savings and where do you live that they can pay you $1/hour?
He is working a day camp for cub scouts. They only pay like 200 bucks a summer.
I almost did that one year.
furrysalamander (author)  thematthatter5 years ago
You are correct, took so long to reply 'cause I'm grounded :p
Also look at previous winners in similar contests to see how theirs look. Also, if you're not passionate about the project you're doing it will show. The one contests I was a winner in I poured over 5 months of work into my project and write up and even then only managed to be a runner up.
furrysalamander (author) 5 years ago
Thanks for all the great answers! I will pick the best answer in a bit, because I'm grounded from the computer. :p
Start creating some outstanding instructables around the theme of the contest. Make allot of them. The more original and interesting it is the better your chances are. Sometimes its the simple and innovative things that win and sometimes its the very involved projects that cost a good bit of money to do.
canucksgirl5 years ago
That's a tough one.

I think you need a really good idea that is made well. It needs to be documented with good instructions and photographs and you have to hope that your effort is better than everyone else's.

You might find the Feature Checklist helpful in respect to publishing a good Instructable. :)