Do you think you have what it takes to win an InfoBarrel Contest?  I bet you do.  I have won four contests for InfoBarrel so far and finished second once.  I am working on number five, but it’s still too early to tell if I will win it.  While the contest has changed since I won the first one, most of the stats remain eerily similar.  I would like to share some tips with you about how you can win the contest, earn an Amazon gift card for $100, and get a nice star achievement on your profile.

The Points System

Each article on InfoBarrel that you write during the contest month can potentially earn points.  Article length determines how many points you will get for each article you write.  This is the model that has been in place since June, 2009.

500+ Words = 1 point

800+ Words = 2 points

1000+ Words = 5 points

Clearly, if you are motivated to win the contest the focus needs to be on 1,000 word articles.

Look at the Numbers

I won my first InfoBarrel contest back in May, 2009.  I finished up with 61 points.  At that time, the contest was one point for one article, not the current method where longer articles earn more points, which started the following month.  You’ll find that 61 articles will get you the win more often than not, if you write 1000 word articles.

The majority of the contests have been won with under 300 points.  While 300 points will not get you a guaranteed win, you will have a pretty good shot with that total.  300 points works out to be only 60 articles, if you write them all of over 1,000 words.  If you break it down a little further, that works out to be about 2 articles per day for the entire month.  This is a very workable number.

Using Winning Strategies

The only strategy I have ever used, other than the preparation strategy, is to write 1,000+ word articles, post them and move on.  There are, however, some strategies that could help you win.  You can decide for yourself if you think they are within the spirit of the competition, but they are all within the confines of the rules.

Preparation:  Take some time, before the month begins, and get your keywords and topics ready.  You can also jot down some notes while researching.  This will allow you to devote the majority of your time to writing.

Saving Content as a Draft:  You could easily write and save some articles as a draft, then post them during the last hour of the contest.  This would help you sneak in at the end, since your competition might be gaging how many articles they need to win without realizing what you were doing.

Adding Words Late:  If you have some shorter articles that didn’t hit the 1,000 word mark that you wrote during the month, you could add content to them and increase your point total quickly.  If you had some 850 word ones, for example, you could gain 3 points each just by adding 150 words to them at the end.

Buying Content:  It is not against the rules to purchase content on InfoBarrel, but keep in mind the author is responsible for making sure it is a quality article that sticks to all posting guidelines.  There has been, as far as I can tell, at least 3 authors that won contests while purchasing the majority of the content they posted.

Massive Late Posting:  You could simply write or purchase all of your content and post it near the end of the contest.  This tactic was used successfully about 2 years ago, when a writer posted hundreds of short articles near the end of the contest.

Saving Content for the Following Month: If you know you cannot catch the leaders, you could write a bunch of articles and save them for posting the following month.  There is nothing against the rules with this method.  It might not be within the spirit of the rules, but that is for you to decide.  If you want to stockpile for a few months, there is nothing that says you cannot.

How to Lose an InfoBarrel Contest

Lazy Finish:  I finished up second in January, 2010.  I had a healthy lead going into the last week of the contest and got a little lazy. OsarakasticO kept plugging away.  On the last day, she passed me and won by a few points.  She did a good job and stuck to it until the end, unlike me. 

Settling for 800 Words:  I don’t think you should fluff your way to 1,000, but if you can get there and provide good content, you’ll earn two and a half times the points.

Removed Content:  You have to keep the articles up on InfoBarrel to win, and the articles must follow all posting guidelines or it will be removed.  The admins have stated they reserve the right to disqualify anyone that posts poorly written articles or doesn’t follow the rules.  If you are preapproved, you must still follow all the rules or you could lose a contest you actually won.

Consolation Prizes

If you try to compete for the win and don’t get it, you will still earn some great consolation prizes.  If you finish in the top 3, you will get an Amazon gift card.  You will increase your revenue share for the following month and you will earn money on your content for years to come.  What is the worst that could happen if you write 60 articles and finish 4th?  You’ll pay for your time with your articles and continue to reap the rewards of competing for a contest win.

Don’t Forget to Submit Features

To maximize your earnings, be sure to write at least 5 articles from the editorial calendar and submit them to be featured.  This will give you an extra 1% revenue share for each article you submit, up to 5%.  This is a great way to earn a little more off your content the following month.

Anyone Can Win!!

I love the InfoBarrel contests.  You don’t have to be the best writer, have the most time, or make the most money.   If you make sure most of what you post is worth 5 points each, you will have a great chance to win with about 60 articles.  Most of us can manage 2 per day.