Call for Entry consistency

I just received an email from a Red Dog News reader who wanted to know why call for entry guidelines are sometimes sketchy (at best), but most of the time confusing. As submitters to contests, we should be able to read all the necessary rules and guidelines on one page without a lot of confusion and emailing back and forth.

I receive many requests to place workshop and call for entry information into Red Dog News, the enewsletter. Before I accept such a request I ask for a link to the particular website to find out if all the information a reader might need is posted in a place that is evident, readable, and user-friendly. You might be surprised at how many times people think they can put all the information on a post-card sized ad. There are far too many sites that do not have the necessary information for a reader to be able to make an informed decision on whether or not to spend megabucks to attend a workshop or enter a call for entry.

When this happens I do a bit of counseling in order for the advertiser(s) to know how to prepare an informative landing page that will tell the reader all they need to know on a single page, without a lot of traipsing around a site, so that the host can show off more of what they do. It doesn’t take long for them to realize, after much discussion of course, that it is beneficial to them if the reader can find the information he/she is looking for, first, then criuse around the site, looking for other items that might be of interest. When this happens, it is the reader who makes the choice to stay on the site. That makes for a “sticky” site, which as site owners is what we want!

So, here are some key points that need to be in all calls-for-entry. Once a future submitter has to click a link for more information, the chances are the site owner will lose that person.
• image size, in both pixels and inches
• dpi (dots per inch) size
• compression level, if needed
• total file size
• file type (rgb, greyscale, CMYK, etc.)
• a valid and functioning link with any additional information the submitter might want

For those site owners who are featuring a workshop, you need these items on your announcement:
• correct and functioning link to a landing page with ALL pertinent information
• sample pictures of the workshop location and some results images from past workshops
• postive comments from past attendees
• ALL costs, including meals, lodging, model fees, etc.
• location of area motels/hotels that offer reduced rates (if possible) for attendees
• list of workshop providers with appropriate links to their own site(s).

The above is a simple offering in order to enable those who are in control of calls for entry and workshops to know what we, the potential submitter/attendee need in order to make an informed decision. Don’t lose valuable business because you haven’t provided the correct information.

If you have had either a positive or negative experience with any of the above, let us know and we can share it with the world.

About Tim

Tim Anderson is the former publisher/managing editor of CameraArts magazine, and now produces Red Dog News, a bi-weekly photography-related e-newsletter that goes out to more than 15,000 subscribers. For his personal photography, he specializes in fine art nudes, and recently participated in the show, "1x15." Anderson is a co-founder of Rio Grande Workshops, and manages several photography Websites and blogs, as well as his personal site (www.timothybanderson.com). He has juried all around the country for Review Santa Fe, Review LA, Photo Lucida, The Center for Fine Art Photography, The Gala Awards, The Palm springs Photo Festival, etc. He is also a published poet, and recently released (www.cygnetpress.com) a collection of his work, "Frame of Mind."
  • Jim_shirey

    Good points, Tim. Here is something I’d like to add. Submittors do not need prospecti that show off somebody’s graphic design skills, nor do we need portals that show off somebody’s Flash cleverness. We don’t want our computers to freeze up while downloading a bunch of garbage. We just want it SIMPLE.