You must accept that random draw comps, when run correctly, are just that. Random. By their very nature, you cannot legitimately increase your chances of winning. You have the same chances as anyone else. Let the chips fall where they may.

How unsatisfying is that? Maybe you’re happy to be a slave to chance and rely on dumb luck. Maybe, however, you want to increase your chances of winning a prize and you’re willing to put the time in to do that.

If you do want to try harder, there’s two routes to take. The first is to simply enter more random draws. Yawn. More of the same dull stuff, pounding web-pages, auto-filling forms and hoping for the best. Or you could consider the creative route.

Here, then, are the top five ways to increase your chances of winning competitions while having fun!

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It’s been said loads of times before. Creative comps are low entry so, from the outset, you’ve got more chance of winning.

There are lots of competitions for kids to get involved with too. You get them involved, and they catch the comping bug too. Who knows – maybe it’ll result in a prize, and how awesome would that be for them?! This is the perfect time of year too. There are loads of creative Halloween competitions for both costumes and pumpkin carving. I made a pocket-sized pumpkin with my youngest daughter Eve last year. We didn’t even have a competition in mind. Once it was done, though, I found some appropriate competitions to enter it into.

Start early – carve away and get yourself some wins! There will be Christmas competitions too – loads for Christmas jumpers and decorating trees. Plan well, have fun, take pics and you could win. Even if you don’t, you’ve had fun. (More fun than filling a form!)

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Whenever you go somewhere, take loads of pictures. Build up your own library of snaps and tag them. Plenty of competitions ask for you to submit pictures of a particular scene. The Café Latte competition over the summer was a prime example. Half of the photos I submitted were ones I already had on the hard-drive. Mind you, I didn’t win so take from that what you will.

Photo comps are another type of effort competition. If you’re taking snaps specifically for a competition, bear in mind the sponsor. Try and include something that alludes to their product. Don’t be bland – be outrageous. Catch their eye with something that nobody else would ever think of doing.

Don’t be afraid to use that video camera in your phone either. Editing video footage is ridiculously easy. You could shoot and edit an entire movie nowadays on your phone – it’s insane.

The Prize Finder’s sidebar allows you to choose photo / video competitions. See what’s there and get filming.

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Don’t rely on the competition websites to list every competition going. You have to work hard sometimes to find local competitions, which will also be low entry. I have a google alert to ping me whenever certain search terms crop up. Let’s say you live in Leicester. Set an alert for “Win a meal” Leicester and you’ll get an email whenever such a competition is run. That’s quite a specific example but you see what I mean.

Find local newspapers and groups that run competitions and bookmark their pages. Check them regularly. Follow them on Twitter. Do the groundwork and their competitions will cross your path. Look for tourism pages for anywhere that you’d like to go on holiday. You’ll find that they give away breaks.

The bottom line is that there are far more competitions out there than those on the top few competition sites. If you can’t find them easily, then the chances are that others won’t either. Take advantage of that and claim those wins for yourself!

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There are so many different types of writing competitions. It could be a slogan or a caption for a photo. There are competitions for rhymes and limericks. Then there’s the short story and poem ones.

If you’re thinking that you couldn’t enter these competitions, think again. Anyone can. Anyone can write what’s needed. The only way you won’t win for sure is if you don’t enter.

Use websites like RhymeZone and Thesaurus to keep yourself inspired and ticking over. Don’t be overly critical. The best thing to overcome writer’s block is just to write about anything. Once you start, things will just come out. It’s a mechanical thing.

I’ve found this to be a very rewarding type of competition to enter. You get a real sense of accomplishment. Once you’ve finished one, I guarantee you’ll be looking for another one to enter. Again, low entry, so a good chance of being picked as a winner.

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Whatever your favourite style of cooking, there’ll be an opportunity to win something.

Some competitions call for you to submit a recipe. This seems daunting but it’s not if you approach it like this. Find a basic recipe for a dish, then alter it to make it your own, make it original. Make it topical. How can you change a dish to make it more like something apt for Halloween? Would it suit pumpkin? Or pumpkin spice?

Don’t copy and paste someone else’s recipe. That’s basically cheating and any decent promoter or judge will find you out. Make it original.

Take loads of photos. There are lots of articles on how to photograph food to make it look awesome. Read them – it’ll help.

Again, photograph your food even if you’ve not got a comp in mind. There are competitions that merely ask you to send in a picture of your favourite bake. If you’ve already got that picture to hand then that earlier work will pay off!

Get the kids involved with this too. They get messy, they make something then they get to eat it. That’s a good day right there.

Wins from creative competitions are more rewarding than random draws. The feeling that you’ve won something on its merits leaves you with a sense of satisfaction that just isn’t there if you’ve had your name picked out of a rafflecopter.

As always, GOOD LUCK!