Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest Winners

winnerThis has been an amazing month for Firepole Marketing, and it’s largely because of how well our finalists and community have done at making the Awesome Engagement Strategies contest such a gigantic success.

I am floored, blown away, honored and thrilled that everyone worked so hard, and did so well.

Not only have we gotten a taste of a huge variety of amazing engagement strategies, but I feel like we’ve really gotten to know many members of this community in whole new ways.

That, for me, is the best prize of all – but I imagine that our long-waiting finalists and their amazing commenters are anxious to hear the final results.

Quickly, let’s review what’s at stake…

What do they Win?

1st Prize

$500 in cash + 3 consulting sessions with Danny ($750 value!) for your business + recognition and acclaim on the Contest Results Post.

2nd Prize

$250 in Cash + 2 consulting sessions with Danny ($500 value!) for your business + recognition and acclaim on the Contest Results Post.

3rd Prize

$100 in cash + 1 consulting session with Danny ($250 value!) for your business +recognition and acclaim on the Contest Results Post.

Special Commenter Commendations

The 5 best comments (as judged by the Firepole Marketing Team) over the course of the entire contest will also be included on the Contest Results Post, so anyone who misses them throughout the contest can bask in their glory.

And because we believe that good commenting is vital to good online communities, we’ll give each of those 5 commenters $100, too!

A Quick Review of the Finalists

  • Rita Schulte‘s post about podcasts taught us how to pop our brands, and keep them front and center in the audience’s mind.
  • Cindy Brown reminded us that real relationships don’t usually start with “I do’s!”
  • Lindsey Rainwater taught us that doing what scares you is sometimes the best way to get what you want.
  • Tom Treanor outlined 10 excellent tips to supercharge everyday engagement.
  • Neal Abbott spoke about the importance of giving to build relationships – even when it feels counter-intuitive.
  • Natalia Goloskokova has mastered Facebook success, and shared all the info, so we can do it too.
  • Tommy Walker stepped up our technology competence by teaching us about 3 live video broadcasting strategies.
  • Murray Gray revealed the one single video strategy that sparks the most engagement.
  • Carmelo Bryan bared his soul telling us how to make the most out of our failures.
  • Laura Leigh Clarke gave us step-by-step instructions to creating a stream of 1-on-1 clients.
  • Fiona Prince with her excellent post on using Meetups taught us how to use live-in person contact to bridge the gap in your engagement.
  • Tom Bentley regaled us with the power of story and how it allows us to make real connections instantly.
  • Tea Silvestre filled us in on all the juicy details about Gamification and how it can help improve your relationships.

It was not easy to select the winners – let me tell you.

Happily – we had some metrics to help us out.

A Quick Reminder On The Rules:

Each contestant had 5 days for their post to gain as much traction in the form of top-quality comments and social shares as possible.

Overall, the contest generated over 70,000 words in the comment section, spread out between more than 800 comments, and posts were shared more than 800 times on Twitter, and another 1,400+ on Facebook.

First up – Our Favorite Comments

We read through all of the wonderful comments and discussions that were started by our finalists, and with great, great difficulty, selected the following five comments to win our special commenter commendations. Each of these commenters will win $100 – if one of these is you – please write to me at Megan@firpeolemarketing.com to claim your prize.

From Cindy’s Post: Harish

Absolutely loved this post Cindy! Thank you! And thanks Danny for featuring it on your site!

You made some great points on engagement and I see your words in action everyday and I could not agree more. It is probably the reason why people love going to small stores where they are recognized by name and engaged with. You know, have a human talk to you and express interest other than just trying to make a sale.

In fact, some big companies have also embraced true genuine people love and interaction in their daily operations. I still remember the day when the friendly checkout lady at Trader Joe’s broke open a dark chocolate bar and gave me a piece to try out just because I expressed interest. No sale requirement, just genuine interest and engagement.

And that is the reason that I keep going back-for the experience. And for the positive engagement. Great companies and blogs and establishments really love to engage with others and offer them an experience. And oh yeah, they may also happen to sell products that we feel for and associate with. We buy not because we are made a sales pitch but because it feels natural to do so and then we broadcast to the world as to how great it was. I think that this genuine engagement cannot be pretended. It has to come from the heart with the intention of love and connection and giving true value and creating relationships as you mentioned.

Thanks again for a truly wonderful post!


From Lindsey’s post: Rodney

Some posts have good information but they don’t move me. It takes good (not just competent, as Stephen King would put it) writing to move me. This was some epic shit right here. I’m fired up! I’m going to wager that even though blogging keeps your blood flowing, you still have a lucrative freelance career somewhere in the distance ahead of you, Lindsey.

What’s more… your suggestions are actually tried and proven. My writing is improving by leaps and bounds from keeping a journal like you suggest. I use penzu.com so I can access it any time  anywhere as long as I can be online… and its more secure. For the branding part, I took Tea Sylvestre’s “secret sauce” course and came to some of the same conclusions and plans you did. Laura’s post here on FPM also resonated with me. And thanks for the reminder about time management. I’ve run from it all my life too, so there’s hope for me yet.

About overcoming fears.. again, nothing new in your post.. just the way you say it speaks to me in a special way. If you can overcome a lisp that you are STILL sensitive about, something tells me it won’t be long before you are inspiring hoards of raving fans to get out of their comfort zones. I feel like I’m just a few blocks behind on the same road you’re travelling.

Thanks for letting us know where the potholes are. Thank you, Lindsey. Thank you, THANK YOU!

From Fiona’s Post: Stephanie

What a wonderful stream of comments!

I am a member of Fiona’s Workplace Communications Meet Up group, so I can tell you a bit about what it’s like from the “user” end of things. I’m a small business owner in Victoria, and I had heard of Fiona and actually did know what she does. I had joined Meet Up to find both business support and social groups, and I was absolutely delighted when I saw that Fiona had started a group! I signed up right away.

I’m interested in communication strategies both in my business and generally. I’ve been to every session Fiona has offered, and I’ve enjoyed every one and learned something about communication at every one, and I will continue to make it a priority to attend. That’s what Meet Up has done for me, but what has it done for Fiona?

Even though I was aware of her business, I would very likely never have become a client. The services she offers are not something I’m ever likely to need, just something I have an academic interest in. However, now that I’ve had experience of her skills, expertise, and teaching style, I will happily pay to attend further sessions, or to hear her speak or teach at other venues. She won’t ever make a pile of money off me directly. But — I talk about her a LOT to my clients, friends, and colleagues. I brought a guest to one of her Meet Ups, who also now talks about her. I have a much greater understanding of exactly what it is she does. Whenever and wherever I see a potential need for her services, I am able to recommend her, and to talk knowledgeably about what she has to offer, and to feel confident that I am referring my client, friend, or business associate to someone I know and trust, and whose skills I’ve witnessed first-hand. There are probably other companies in Victoria who do what Fiona does, but I don’t know about them and don’t care. When someone needs help with workplace communications, I will always think of Fiona.

And isn’t that what “social marketing” is really all about?

From Carmelo’s post: Katharine

Sometimes even a minor personal glitch that doesn’t really apply to your profession can inspire true love.

I wrote about the morning I locked my keys in the car and told it in a forehead-slapping-murpheys-law style, with oodles of thanks for all my rescuers. The lesson was obvious and everyone could tell I probably had not yet learned my lesson.

However, not only did it make a huge giggling comment response, but it won me a job writing human interest for a newspaper, the editor’s comment being, “I LOVE it!”
That was a job I did not actually want and did not keep long, nevertheless, it shows how that type of essay resonates.

I still get cute comments from folks who know me, such as, “You got your keys, right?” with a wink and a smile. I’m astonished at how many know who I am and desire to connect with me about that one small piece of writing.

From Carol’s postDave

I think the dinner method of engaging with your community Carol, facilitates perpetual home run hitting in three ways.

If one’s community is from the same industry, it’s easier to engage online than that of boundary crossers. The chance for boundary crossers to meet in person strengthens their ability to engage online.

An audience will stick with you longer when they are sticking with each other. Dinner engagements strengthen all-around stickiness.

Finally, stronger synapses will course throughout your community due to the common ground being established in person. Your dinner engagements are producing cells comprised of multiple nodes. A system of multiple cells will produce a greater degree of amplification than that of loose nodes.

Drumroll please!

And now, for what I know you’ve been waiting for – our contest winners!

We looked at content, traction and word counts to help us decide on these.

3rd Place in this year’s Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest goes to Murray Gray with his post: The Single Video Strategy for Sparking Massive Engagement.

2nd Place goes to Natalia Goloskokova with her post: Mastering Success on Facebook by Becoming a Welcome Guest.


1st Place goes to Tea Silvestre with her post: Gamify to Tighten up Relationships and Create a Close-Knit, Highly Engaged Tribe!

Congratulations to all of our finalists!

You all did a marvelous job, and I thank you, as well as the amazing community here at Firepole Marketing, from the bottom of my heart.

Megan Dougherty
Megan Dougherty
Megan Dougherty is the Director of Education at Firepole Marketing, and loves developing new training content, working with students to achieve their goals, and talking about online education of any kind. You can drop her a line on Twitter or Google+.


  1. Murray Gray says:

    Woot! Third place! Thanks to the team of Firepole Marketing for setting up and running such an awesome contest. It was a really fun experience! :)

  2. Ruth says:

    This was really great!! :)

    Very interesting, so versatile, fun and…. engaging!!

    Congrats to all the winners – you deserve it :)

  3. What an awesome, awesome surprise! Thanks for allowing me to be a part of this. But even more, huge thanks and gratitude to the Word Chef family (aka my “Audience”) for supporting me and helping to spread the word about this post/contest. I. Am. Floored.

  4. Sarah Arrow says:

    Congrats to all the winners, you deserve it for all your hard work, and great content.

  5. janet says:

    this is awesome!! Go Tea! :)

  6. Cindy Brown says:

    Oh my goodness, one of my commenters won the cashola! I’m so excited! Great contest and I was proud to be selected as a finalist. Thank you!

  7. Carol Ross says:

    I have the same reaction as Cindy. One of my commenters was also picked as part of the top 5 and it makes me feel so good that he won! Thanks, Danny and Megan, for a really fun contest and a chance to interact with the audience here on a topic I feel passionate about.

  8. Wow, 2nd place, it’s really great news, and such an honor to be between Tea and Murray, thanks to everybody, now I am ready to build something real with help of all materials you have here at Firepole.

  9. Thanks so much! Wow! I am totally shocked and jazzed!

    I came here to read all the best from this contest, knowing I had probably missed some, with my “intermittentnet”. It’s just normal follow-up for me, part of the price of living where it’s quiet enough to write, and folks help each other and remember each others’ stories. Never thought I’d see my name here.

    Anyone wanting to read the original story: http://katharinetrauger.wordpress.com/2011/09/24/the-keys-in-the-car-caper/

    Thanks, again, and I’m working on getting that email to go through, Megan!


  10. […] commented on a great post that was part of a blog marketing lesson at Firepole Marketing (I know, I’m not selling anything, right?) and they gave prizes to […]

  11. Fiona Prince says:

    Congratulations to Murray, Natalia and Tea. I learned a lot from you an all the other finalists.

    Thanks also to Firepole Mareting for holding this contest, and all the people who took the time to comment…especially Stephanie, who confirmed that I am on the right track with my local engagement strategies and provided me with an awesome testimonial.

    • Stephanie says:

      You’re very welcome, Fiona. I don’t envy the judges their job in choosing the 3 best of all the excellent articles submitted, nor the task of choosing the 5 winning comments. I’m thrilled that my comment was chosen.

      It’s been great to have the opportunity to appreciate Fiona publicly, and to get to know about these other writers too.

      Thanks, Firepole.

  12. […] about the wonderful experience we had launching the Audience Business Masterclass, running the Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest AND some of the exciting plans we have for the […]

  13. Anup says:

    Hi Danny,

    I’m referred to this blog from your recent guest post at ProBlogger. I really enjoyed it and that’s really great idea!

    I’m so sad I was so unlucky to enter into the contest. I would have participated in commenting contest at least. But it’s never too late. I’m quite sure that you’re gonna have another contests for sure — I’ll wait for that 😉

    Thanks again,

  14. […] The following post is an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcase their ideas, and whoever gets the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication will be crowned the winner! This was a wonderful contest with lots of great entries – you can see all of the winners right here! […]

  15. […] The following post is an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcase their ideas, and whoever gets the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication will be crowned the winner! This was a wonderful contest with lots of great entries – you can see all of the winners right here! […]

  16. […] Over the last month, I’m sure that you’ve been enjoying the posts submitted by our finalists in the Awesome Engagement Strategies contest. (Check out the winners right here!) […]

  17. […] NOTE: The Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest has ended. Please take a look at the winners here. […]

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