Drafting a public message is easy but should be done thoughtfully. In this article, you'll learn when to send out a public message and how to craft the perfect public message to keep your contest moving forward.

It’s best to release a public message when…

  • You need to change direction. Perhaps you started this contest asking for practical, descriptive names like “Print Press” or “Publishing Link” that speak to what you do as a company, but after seeing a few hundred names, you realize that what you’re looking for is more of an intriguing name that speaks to your values, a name like “Trust Tree” or “Share Me.” Share these thoughts with your creatives so you can continue to see the best results. 
  • You need to clarify your focus. Sometimes, creatives read a brief and misinterpret a certain point. Public messages are a great way to course correct if you see people drifting from what you need. For example, if you stated in your brief that you want names that focus on ideas of collaboration, but then you start seeing too many names that are transmutations of collaboration like “Collabro,” you can tell creatives that you want to step away from using the word “Collaboration” and instead focus on getting ideas that capture the value in a metaphoric way.
  • Mini Brainstorming Activities. Brainstorming should allow you to explore many directions with your name. Public messages are a wonderful vehicle for kickstarting brainstorming activities like this: “After getting so many great submissions, I have decided to come up with a creative prompt. Please explore more ideas around creativity and idea sharing, but here’s a twist… I would really like to see some unique metaphoric story-driven names that relate to the early emergence of the printing press and the printing industry. Let’s find some great ideas that explore symbolism, mythology, and more!” Brainstorming activities like this can help you explore new directions, especially if you come up with one daily. 

Here are some tips for composing a great public message: 

  • Avoid saying what “not” to do. This can confuse some creatives or derail the brainstorming process by making people focus on the blocks rather than the new paths they can find. Instead, try to guide the creative direction with positive affirmation guidelines like “I would like to shift direction a little and start seeing more names that focus on a sense of coziness and community. Bring on the new submissions!”
  • Stay positive. Creatives are people, and too much negativity will discourage them from participating in your contest. 
  • Communicate openly. Because crowdsourcing takes place virtually and the contest holders and creatives never actually meet. 

Here is an example of a really good public message:

Hello creatives! 

First, I want to thank everyone for the great ideas so far. It really has been a great experience working with each of you. 

I have a good list of abstract names and would like to shift direction a little. Feel free to continue submitting along the original direction if you are consistently getting a good rating from me.

On the other hand, if you are in a creative rut or hitting a wall with the original guidance, then you can begin exploring any name you think best describe a modern publishing platform. This track will be more open to creative and intriguing ideas, so think disruptive and modern. Focus on names you think would standout at a tech/design conference. 

Here are some concepts you can build off of:

- creativity

- free press

- language

- access to knowledge and learning

- collaboration and education

I will continue to rate and give targeted feedback as best as I can. If you need additional guidance or have questions, then feel free to post a public message. I am happy to help you as best I can.

Good luck everyone!

Conclusion

As you can see, this message is positive and focuses on the collaborative aspects of the process. It sets clear expectations, communicates where the Contest Holder is at in the process, and encourages creativity. 

It's important to remember to focus on what the creatives are doing right and what areas they should focus on instead of what they're doing wrong. 

Have you read all of our contest engagement best practices? Click here to learn more.

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