How To Find Low Entry Competitions – Mastering Search Engines

How To Find Low Entry Competitions – Mastering Search Engines

Finding low entry competitions is a great way to increase the number of competitions you win.  If you only ever enter competitions from a competition prize listing website you will likely win every now and then, but not as often compared to searching for your own.  This is the first in a series on how to find low entry competitions.  You can find how to master twitter lists and Tweetdeck by clicking on the respective links.

Why Bother Finding low entry competitions

There will be far less entries on competitors that are not listed on a competition website.  So the more of these you enter it will greatly increase your chances of winning.  Although at first it will take a bit more time to find your own, you will get quicker with practice.  I have found taking the time to search for my own competitions well worth it and it has increased the number of prizes i win.

My favourite place to find low entry comps

I’ve been requested by many of my fellow compers to write blogs posts about tweet deck and twitter lists.  I’ve learnt so much from other compers over the past few years I’d love to give back to those just starting out.  Tweetdeck is my favourite source for finding low entry competitions.  It is however a rather large – ok nope make that mahoosive topic.  So I’ve decided to break it down into a mini series of blog posts.  These quick and easy bite size blog posts will allow you to learn skills slowly and build them up until you’re a comp finding whizz!

 Mastering Search Operators

Our first lesson is all about mastering the search bar!  It’s important to know exactly how to use a search engine on any platform to be able to easily and quickly narrow down what you are looking for.  We can do this using something called a search operation or search parameter.

What is a search operator

In complicated terms a search operator (or search parameter) is

a character or string of characters in a search engine query to narrow the focus of the search

In simple terms a search operator (or search parameter) is

A word or simple symbol used when using a search bar to help narrow down what you are looking for 

how to find low entry competitions

THE Search operators

There are many, many search operators but I’m going to talk to you about the ones I most commonly use to find competitions and narrow down what I am looking for.  As you read through these go ahead and open up Google or Twitter (or both).  Try out some of the examples and see the difference when you include the search operators and when you don’t.

Quotation Marks “XXXXXX”

Quotation marks around a set of words you are looking for means you are looking for that exact term.  Let’s say I want to search for (and I’m being totally unimaginative here) cat litter.  You decide to buy a cat and the next thing you know you have 7 cats and you’re the crazy cat lady.  You now have an urgent need to buy cat litter but you decide you want to win some!  Searching with this would work

“Cat Litter” win 

“Cat Litter” #win

The words “Cat” and “Litter” do usually go together so you wont see a massive difference when searching with and without the quotation marks.  A great of example of when these are really important is if you where searching for your own name to see if you have won any competitions.

“Nikki Hunter-Pike” Congratulations

“Nikki Hunter-Pike” winner

“Nikki Hunter-Pike” “runner up”

You’ll notice on the last search I used two words in quotation marks.  This is to make sure I don’t get back any results about running that include my name.


When you type the word ‘OR‘ into a search bar such as twitter or Google it acts as an instruction.  You must type the word and in capitals for the search engine to recognise it as an instruction.  otherwise the search bar will look for the word “or” instead.

OR is a pretty self-explanatory search operator.  You are asking for results that contain one thing or another.  This can be a great way to get more results for looking for similar things.  Let’s do some examples.

You’re the crazy cat lady i mentioned earlier.  You want all the cat litter in the world.  You find that some promoters refer to it as kitty litter rather than cat litter.  Changing your search to this would help widen your search;

win “cat litter” OR “kitty litter”

#win “cat litter” OR “kitty litter”

Another great use of the search term OR that I use regularly is

win photo OR selfie

#win photo OR selfie

This will give you a great range of competitions that want you to enter with a photo or a selfie to win all in one search as opposed to having to do two separate searches.

Excluding words or terms from your search –

This operator (the minus symbol) is really useful if you get a bunch of results that include a term you don’t want.  A basic example of this would be you search for the word Manchester and get a load of results that include Manchester United.  If you change this search to be

Manchester -united

With this you will get all results about Manchester that do not include the word united.  Thus removing all of the Manchester United results.

So how is this useful when comping? Sometimes when you do a search on twitter you will notice a bunch of tweets that show that are useless to you.  I tend to find some American competitions that are not open to me have people tweeting the same thing over and over an I want them all removed from my results.  The way to do this is to find the word that is common in all those tweets and then add it to your search with the – command in front of it.

I have a search set up for

“tell us” win 

Unfortuantley an american promotor that has a comp that I cannot enter, and the competition is being aggressively tweeted and clogging up my results.  This tweet contains the word tarts.  As this word is a fairly unique one i can safely exclude this from my search, removing all instances of their competition tweets from my results.

“tell us” win -tarts

It’s quite important you don’t pick a common word as your exclusion word.  Otherwise you may also remove results from other competitions that you don’t want to filter out!  I personally find the exclusion operator most useful when using Tweetdeck.

Using the and operator 

This last operator is actually the most useless.  The default when searching for more than two words is always AND.  So basically in other words if you use it or don’t use it you will get very similar results.  I’ve always used it during my comping searches just in case.  When you search the search engine will always assume you are looking for the two words together.  If you did want to use it however (even though it’s sometimes total waste of time, but if your stuck in your ways like me) a great example of this would be as follows.  If I decided i want to win a tent, to look for competitions I might try searching

tent AND win

tent AND #win

Another example of one of my (pointless use of search operator) is below

upload photo AND win

upload photo AND #win

You can also use the + instead of the word AND.  It’s use is slightly different though as you need to make sure there is no space between the word and the plus symbol

camping +win

A word on hashtags

You may notice that I have included both hashtags and non hashtags versions of win when searching.  This is because depending on where you are searching they may or may not be needed.  On twitter however you will get different results from #win to win sometimes.  This is all depends on how a promoter has worded their tweet.  To cover all bases I like to search for both!


You’ll notice from doing these searches you still have a lot of results to trawl through.  Depending on which whether you are using these on Google, Twitter or Facebook you will get a very different set of results.  These results can be filtered even further by date, location, images.  The filtering you can do will also depend on where you are searching for competitions.

It’s important to note that these search operators will not work on Instagram.  They will work on Facebook, Twitter and Google.

I hope this mini introduction to finding low entry competitions has been useful.  There are other search operators out there but I thought I would start with the ones I most commonly use.  I know a lot of my comping buddies reading this already know this information but it’s the basics you need to be able to move on to more complicated stuff like mastering Tweetdeck!

Are you going to start looking for your own competitions after reading this post?  Maybe your’e a seasoned comper and have some extra tips that I’ve missed here.  Comment below and let me know.



  1. Rebecca MacBain
    July 18, 2017 / 6:45 pm

    Great post thank you. Loved reading that xx

    • July 18, 2017 / 7:01 pm

      Thanks Rebecca! Was really difficult to get the right balance between just spilling out everything I know and trying to keep it simple for anyone to understand!

  2. July 18, 2017 / 7:09 pm

    “Show us” is a great search for creative comps too especially paired with seasonal hashtags e.g. “Show us” #WorldBookDay

    • July 18, 2017 / 7:11 pm

      That’s another great one to have as a saved search isn’t it! Towards the end of the series I think I’ll try and dedicate a whole post just to recommended saved searches 🙂

  3. July 18, 2017 / 8:00 pm

    I didn’t realise it was worth searching for both WIN and #WIN – that’s a bonus extra tip – thanks!

    • July 18, 2017 / 8:04 pm

      On the occasion a promoter only includes the #win it means you’ll find more comps! It happens more than you think 😓

  4. Patricia Bond
    July 20, 2017 / 2:45 pm

    Great post, I would really love to get to grips with Tweetdeck it looks very complicated to me x

    • July 20, 2017 / 2:51 pm

      It’s quite simple to use if you learn each bit in bite size steps! Pleased you found the first part useful 🙂

  5. August 4, 2017 / 1:43 pm

    I need this. I’ve been having a go at creatives, but still not getting the wins I’d like (ie I’m getting none). So, either I’m rubbish, which is entirely possible, or I need to apply another filter and go for the low entry creatives.

    So, keep ’em coming

    • August 4, 2017 / 1:47 pm

      I beat myself up so much when I first started entering creatives! Low entry creatives are probably the easiest way to win – but if you can find enough regular low entry comps then you’re bound to win soon too! X

      • August 9, 2017 / 6:32 pm

        And I have! I got to grips with tweet deck, and using the Boolean operators, snagged myself my first twitter win. I owe you a pint.

        • August 9, 2017 / 7:35 pm

          Ahh that’s fantastic news!! So chuffed for you!!

  6. Hayley Lynch
    August 20, 2017 / 3:43 pm

    Thank you so much for this article x

    • August 20, 2017 / 5:14 pm

      You’re very welcome, hope it helps you!

  7. Anna Lord
    August 24, 2017 / 5:06 am

    Thank you for this. I am a serial comper too (older than most) and also an avid follower of Di Coke who has inspired me tremendously. Your article has helped drive home the techniques of searching and I look forward to reading your guidance on Tweetdeck which I’m getting to grips with at the moment. Best wishes to you and your lovely family.

    • August 24, 2017 / 6:42 am

      Thanks Anna it’s lovely to hear from other serial compers! I’m looking forward to breaking down tweet deck for everyone to learn 😊

  8. Chrissy
    October 5, 2017 / 1:05 pm

    Fantastic post! Loved the YouTube video you made to accompany this blog post! Anxiously awaiting part two on “How to use Tweet Deck for filtering”… soon I hope !!! ;o) Thanks again! Happy Wins!

    • October 5, 2017 / 1:06 pm

      Thanks Chrissy! I was hoping to have it done by now but have been so busy. Hoping to have done by the end of this month!

  9. October 27, 2017 / 10:53 am

    Thank you for a lovely blog post that goes into great detail. I’ve been comping for years and really wanted to try something new and to get more creative. I’m only on part 1 of your tutorial but will certainly give this a try later.

    • October 27, 2017 / 1:52 pm

      Brilliant! If you have any questions just give me a shout on twitter!

  10. Lynn Neal
    January 2, 2018 / 2:35 pm

    Thanks for all the advice, I love to read about how other compers work!

    • January 2, 2018 / 4:09 pm

      Thanks Lynn! It’s great to see how other people do it, I always get so many great tips from other compers

  11. Hannah Davy
    January 2, 2018 / 3:57 pm

    Is there a way to find recent/still running competitions using these methods? I’ve tried, for example, to look for new bathroom competitions and keep getting ones from 2015 etc

    • January 2, 2018 / 4:13 pm

      Where is it you’re searching Hannah?

      When searching on google select tools, then go to the drop down for ‘any time’ and change it to whichever time frame you want (i would recommend past month)

      On Twitter just select to view results by most recent

      On Facebook you might as well abandon all hope as their search engine is currently a nightmare, but you can currently filter by year.

    • Kevin Will
      January 10, 2019 / 4:04 pm

      If your using Google once you search if you look along the heading underneath the search box and there is a tools button where you can amend dates of searches etc.

  12. tammi nutting
    March 8, 2018 / 8:10 pm

    i must be really dumb as it is not working for me on google twitter or fb ! x can you please help me x

    • March 8, 2018 / 8:15 pm

      Could you give me an example? Feel free to DM me on my twitter account 😊

  13. May 4, 2018 / 6:23 am

    thanks so much for this… im a total newbie to social media and comping so im really am in the deep end! one question do i search when you say search ‘ tent and win tent and #win’ in the one search or are they two diffetent searches? thanks x

    • May 6, 2018 / 2:02 pm

      They are two different searches, you’ll get different results for both, however if short on time I’d usually search the first of the two as the word win is always generally used in a competition tweet somewhere!

  14. Andrea Dimmick
    November 5, 2018 / 6:14 pm

    I bookmarked these yesterday and searched today for hampers, found aprox 8 that I hadnt come across. Thanks for the tips (a fellow LuckyLearner). Now onto part two 😉

    • November 5, 2018 / 6:16 pm

      Brilliant! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, love to see that the guides help!

  15. Louise
    October 6, 2019 / 9:29 pm

    This post is so helpful, thank you very much. I’ve just started comping and find the twitter demands to retweet and tag a total turn off.

    • October 7, 2019 / 7:01 am

      So glad it helped, good luck!

  16. Marie Lomax
    October 27, 2019 / 7:42 pm

    Comping is very different to when I first started out. After meeting you this weekend at superluckydi’s event I’ve been inspired to start comping again. So I’m going back to basics and hopefully going to learn how to find competitions for myself and not just follow others.

    • October 27, 2019 / 7:56 pm

      That’s fab news! It’s changed even over the course of the last 5 years that I’ve been comping seriously. Feel free to message me on my social media if you get stuck anytime searching for your own, and good luck! 😊

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