5 Contest Ideas for National Poetry Month in April

It seems like poetry used to get a subtle scoff and eye roll from onlookers as it was viewed as a pastime for ultra-moody, beret and sunglasses wearing hipsters slapping bongo drums in a quiet coffee shop. But with society’s growing obsession with social media, even poetry has taken on a modern makeover.

Poets and writers like R.M. DrakeRupi Kaur, and Christopher Poindexter have turned their Instagram accounts into mini poetry collections where people can affirmatively like and tag their friends in the comments saying, “Why am I crying in the club” and “This is me AF.”

While most people know April for bringing notorious rainy showers and pastel spring blooms, most people probably don’t know that April is also National Poetry Month. To give your small business a boost of creative inspiration, we are dishing out five of our favorite poetry contest ideas for National Poetry Month in April.

Ideas for Poetry Contests for National Poetry Month

Idea #1) Word Contest

If you’re looking for poetry contest ideas for National Poetry Month in April, try your hand at a word contest.

Use words as the creative prompt and a source of inspiration. There are a few ways to conduct a word contest. You can choose one word and have all the poem entries be focused around this one word, or you can propose a list of words or phrases and allow people to choose one that resonates the most. In need of word inspiration? You can find out-of-the-norm words of the day on Dictionary.com, open a book and point to a word, or choose words that reflect your brand.

Amazing prizes could be the winner’s poem published on your social media or website, a framed copy of their poem, or their published poem along with a few of the childhood poetry book classics from writers like Shel Silverstein or Dr. Seuss. For more modern poets, books from the people we mentioned in the introduction like R.M. Drake and Rupi Kaur are great gifts for aspiring poets.

Idea #2) Photo Contest

If you are a more visual company, it might make more sense to host a poetry contest using a photo as the creative prompt. Wherever you decide to announce your contest (social media platforms, blog post…etc), post the photo with detailed instructions on how the poetry contest will work. As a prize, you can send a framed version of the photo to the winner with their poem printed on top of it.

Idea #3) Product-Based Contest

Another contest idea for National Poetry Month in April is doing a poetry contest based on one of your products. Preface in the contest’s instructions that their poem does not need to be literal. If you’re a skincare and beauty company and are wanting to highlight your new illuminating bronzer, you can tell your audience that you’re not looking for a creative product description (unless of course, that is what you’re looking for). Instead, encourage your entrants to use their ingenuity to write a poem that relates or reflects the product. If we’re sticking with the bronzer idea, poems can be about how having flawless skin makes them feel, the warmth of a summer glow, or being at the beach.

Tell writers to think outside of the box and consider feelings associated with the product, environments they would use the product in, and what type of adventures they might encounter while using your product.

Idea #4 Movie Contest

Is there a movie that resonates with your brand? Find a movie that correlates with your company and host a poetry contest about it.

You can propose a movie with qualities that are similar to your brand. For example, if you sell cookware, pick a movie that is based on the subject of cooking. Movies like Chef, Ratatouille, and Julie & Julia are all great examples that hover around the theme of cooking. If you own a pet shop, pick a movie about animals like The Secret Life of Pets, Marley & Me, and 101 Dalmatians. Choose movies you think most people have seen already in order to reach more people.

There are many ways to incorporate a movie into a poem. Ask writers to create a poem that correlates with the themes found in the movie, the characters, the setting, or quotes from the movie. As for the prize? Sending your winner a few of your products plus the movie they chose to write about would be a great way to thank the winner for their support.

Idea #5) Song Contest

Another poetry contest idea for National Poetry Month in April is a song contest. Propose one to three song choices for people to write a poem about. You can choose pop culture songs that are current right now or older classics that are similar to your brand’s style.

General Tips for Poetry Contests

Regardless of what poetry contest you choose to do, always tie it back to your brand. Whether you choose a song, a movie, or a photo, it won’t seem random or off-brand if it’s somehow rooted back to your mission, your aesthetic, or your products.

Be creative in your poetry contest ideas and give entrants the ability to “wow” you. As long as you have a great foundation for people to base their creativity off of, you have a great start to your contest.

Follow the Rules

As always, be mindful of the types of contest and giveaways you post on social media. Each social media platform has their own set of rules that need to be followed, or else your contest will be put at risk of being denied.

Optimize & Strategize

When the time comes to pick a winner, using a platform like Woobox will make the process of contest entry collection, selection, and display galleries a seamless task. Take advantage of their features like user-generated content contest templates, giveaways and sharing options, and simple winner picker feature to optimize and strategize your National Poetry Month contest.