How to Win a 25 Words or Less Competition

Constructing a catchy phrase with a tight word limit such can be the easy way for you to  win big.  Here are some tips and tricks to help you find success with words or less.

What is a WOL? – Words Or Less Competition

Words or less competitions or WOLs as they are known by compers (people who actively enter a number of competitions as a hobby) are contests require entrants to complete a written entry containing a certain number of words or letters.  This means using creative writing.  Unlike sweepstakes or lotteries, chance has nothing to do with the chosen winner.

Legally, anyone can run a competition if the conditions of entry require the entrants to demonstrate an element of skill.  Otherwise the competition requires a permit, so this is the loophole for promoters.

These kinds of competitions are found in magazines and on the internet.  The competition will state ‘Tell us in 25 words or less why you think you should win a holiday to Hamilton Island’ or, ‘Share your favourite memory of your best friend in 25 words or less’.

WOLs are a favourite of marketers and serious compers mainly because they are easy, which means you’re in with a chance!  Most people shy away from entering because they don’t want to spend the time it takes to formulate an entry, so those who do have less competition.

Winning With Words.  – How to Win Words or Less Competitions

So how should you tackle this kind of comp? Simple, you just dive right in!  These tips will help your entry gets picked.

Ask yourself why the promoter has asked the question and what sort of answer would most appeal to them. Usually the competition is around promoting a brand so an ideal answer makes the judges’ lives easier and describes it in a positive light.

  1. The Golden Rule – mention the product or brand being promoted.

This sends a message to the judges that you know and like the product and that you are a worthy brand ambassador.  It might feel a bit cheesy to be advertising something for them – but you want to win the prize, don’t you?

  1. Put Yourself In Their Shoes – make you answer stand out.

The judges might need to sort through hundreds of entries, which means they are reading through a pile of bad grammar, poor spelling and the same old story a hundred times. Give them a break and make your entry shine against the rest. In this article, you will learn how to formulate a winning response.

The Write Way To Win – How to Write a WOL Competition Response

Start the brainstorming process and jot down all your ideas in response to the question. Keep in mind most people submit their first idea.  If you want to stand out from everyone else, your aim should be to write something truly unique. This might take a bit more time than just putting down the first thing that comes into your head.

First, write down what you want to say in as few words as possible without paying attention to the word limit. Just get down what you want to say.

For example,

I like to eat Jolly’s ice-cream because it tastes delicious and is refreshing during the summer months. My personal favourite is the cookies and cream flavour, because of the big chunks which are like flavour explosions in my mouth. My friends all love it too. It is the best treat for a hot day!

This is 54 words long, double the words you need. Going over the word limit will automatically disqualify you, so it’s essential to get your copy down to the prescribed length.

Revise, Rewrite, Review!  – How to Edit Your In A Words or Less Competition Entry

After your first brainstorming session, you will need to edit down the length of your entry. To begin with try rewriting the sentence so it doesn’t use the passive voice. It tends to be wordier than just getting straight to the point.  Combine sentences, use contractions (‘does not’ can become ‘doesn’t’) and remove unnecessary words. You might need to tweak your sentence structure too.


I eat Jolly’s ice-cream. It’s deliciously refreshing during summer. My friends and I love the cookies and cream flavour-bomb. It’s a treat for hot days!

(25 words)

Make your words playful and energised (e.g. ‘flavour-bomb’) and your writing will pop. With careful editing you can craft a sentence or two that will catch a judge’s eye, packs a punch and keeps under the word limit.  With many competitions hosted on social media platforms like Facebook, the more powerful your wording, the more ‘likes’ your comment will attract from readers.

To Rhyme or Not To Rhyme – The Poetry Trick

Some compers will swear by the poetry technique others claim it’s a sure way to be overlooked by a judge.  A little rhyme or jingle you can weave humour and another element of fun into your entry.

Don’t be daunted by poetry. The trick to answering these questions is actually simple; make your entry funny, unique and mention the product or brand – it need not be a masterpiece. But you might make the judges chuckle which could win you the grand prize.

Haikus can work well for WOL competitions too. The traditional Japanese poem has a strict structure of 5 syllables for the first line, 7 on the second, 5 on the last line.


Delicious Jolly’s                               (5 syllables)

A summertime flavour bomb       (7 syllables)

Ice-cool, nom nom nom                 (5 syllables)

(11 words)

Check… then Double Check – Exercise Caution Before Proceeding

Spellcheck your response because a spelling mistake will instantly disqualify you from the competition. No one would ever select a response with an embarrassing mistake in it. Follow the instructions, count your words carefully, don’t submit your entry in CAPS and try and get in early for your best chance to win.

Good luck!

We LOVE competitions!

Leave a Reply



  1. Lauren

    Thanks for these tips! I just entered my first WOL competition thanks to this article. I’ve always been too scared, LOL 🙂

  2. Rae

    Thanks for the tips! Never been bothered to enter these comps as too hard, but am about submit the winning entry thanks to your help! london here I come!! Lol

  3. jessica

    now i going in.ok maybe not Lol !!!

  4. Sarah

    Thanks for these great tips

  5. Rosaya

    Thankyou, just entered one in a newspaper now (50 hampers to giveaway) , fingers crossed. x

  6. Jem

    Hi there, on your advice, I’d like to mention the business name in my entry. I was wondering if abbreviations are classified as one word? For instance, in the business name J.B. Hifi – is the J.B. classified as one word? Thanks!

  7. Sally

    Thanks for sharing your great tips! I always find this 25 or 50 words competition too hard for me. I think one needs a strong language skill and be creative to win 🙂

  8. Suzanne

    I’ve been using a new iphone app that helps me win prizes while I do my shopping! It tells me what products have competitions attached to them and all I have to do is scan the product barcode to enter once I have bought the product.

    So far I have won a coffee machine from purchasing 2 packets of Extra from IGA, a $10 gift voucher from Coles for buying chocolate, and I set of glasses for buying Finish dish washing tablet! I have the pictures for proof if you don’t believe me!

    It’s called Nabbit and if you have an iphone you can search the app store for ‘nabbit competitions’. 🙂

  9. Courtney Spratt

    Another summer!? It’s too good to be true! Endless beach days, trying to tan but sadly turning pink and spontaneous adventures! Oh summer please return!

  10. Raven

    These are good tips. I am hoping to win a 25 wol with, “strong and reliable, classic blue all the way. With a silver metallic clutch, silver jewellery is here to stay. These timeless colours, not going away.” Do you think I have a chance of winning? (I don’t care if I don’t)

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