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5 Tips for Directors to Expand Your Pageant System

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Janice Celeste, American Beauties National Elite 2016 – Photo: Afif Cherif

The goal of every pageant director is to expand the pageant so they can continue hosting the pageant and make it better each year. But it is one of the hardest and most time-consuming things to do. Yet, without expansion, there is no way to really host your pageant long term. (Read: 3 Misconceptions Contestants Have of Pageant Directors)

Recognizing the importance of this, Natasha Monique Coleman, National Executive Director of American Beauties National Pageants, provided five tips to expand your pageant system.

5 Tips to Expand Your Pageant System

1. Use marketing skills.

Marketing is the number one thing you have to do to expand your pageant. You have to get the pageant out there in front of people to get them interested. No customers, no product.

You have to market yourself as the director, the brand of the pageant, and the benefits of being a titleholder in the system. (Read: Pageant Question About Marketing Your Pageant System)

“When you are marketing and advertising for pageant contestants you need to portray your pageant platform,” Coleman said. “If you want your pageant foundation to be community leadership, you would need to have a history or hands on knowledge of that background.”

You have to walk the walk; you can’t just talk the talk.

2. Practice good communication.

“Next is communication skills,” Coleman said. “You have to have the skills to clearly communicate your expectations of what you’re looking for in titleholders and steady stream of communication for people on the staff.”

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen conflicting information on pageant websites and social media. It can be not only confusing but also a red flag when you can’t get quick and clear information from a pageant’s website and social media.

So, get organized, get all your ducks in a row, and make sure your message and important information is clear across the board.

3. Have a team.

When directors take on pageants all by themselves, it often becomes too overwhelming for them. While not impossible, it is best when you’re just getting a pageant going or expanding to have all hands on deck. It’s just like any other in-home type of business you take on, so you need everyone on board before you decide to embark on this ship. (Read: 10 Ideas to Recruit More Contestants for Directors)

“A pageant is a huge event with several moving parts; it can’t be a one woman/one man show,” Coleman said. “You need several opinions and suggestions from people in the age groups that you have advertised divisions for.”

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Michelle Larson, Ms. American Beauties National 2016 – Photo: Gary Yellalus

4. Make it fun.

A pageant doesn’t have to be flashy to be a success, as long as the contestants enjoy themselves and the parents/guardians/sponsors see that their money wasn’t wasted then it was a success.

Sometimes directors bite off more than they can chew and max out credit cards in favor of a flashy production, but it’s not necessarily necessary. (Read: How Pageantry Can Help You Develop as a Woman)

“…You want contestants to enjoy the experience because it’s still an investment for them,” Coleman said. “And if they don’t leave with the crown, you want them to be a return ‘customer.’”

Remember, the contestants and parents will talk about the experience, not the appearance, at the end of the day.

5. Be accessible.

When seeking to expand, make sure to be available at hours that benefit all time zones in the location you are seeking to expand. Often the east coast forgets that the west coast is three hours behind, so we miss a lot of live shows and see results online.

Be sure that deadlines accommodate these hours, too. A 10 a.m. deadline in the Eastern Time zone is 7 a.m. in Pacific Time zones, meaning late nights rather than early mornings for many. 5 p.m. Eastern is 2 p.m. Pacific, right when schools get out and about an hour before rush hour hits out here. This means that those deadlines don’t favor the west coast at all.

“Its very important to accommodate people of all regions and cultures, especially when directing a national pageant,” Coleman said.

Consider the location of your pageant, too. If you are wanting to host a national/international pageant, be sure to host it where a relatively central airport is available and hotels are easily accessible for the pageant so contestants don’t have to drive too far to compete from the airport. This cuts down on their travel costs and makes it more affordable, and appealing, to participate.

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Christiana Obey Sumner, Mrs. American Beauties National 2016 – Photo: Afif Cherif

American Beauties National Pageants

American Beauties National Pageants hosts areas of competition for ages 13-40 and above in Teen, Miss, Ms., Mrs. and Woman divisions.

There is also a Plus division for sizes 14W and up (Teen is size 10 and up), Classic Woman for ages 50 and above, Mr. Ambassadors (who assist with pageant production), Princess categories, and an online Classic Beauty pageant.

The live pageant areas of competition include Interview, Fashion Wear, Evening Wear and Onstage Question.

This year’s pageant takes place in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Holiday Inn South Airport on October 11-15, 2017.
The entry fee is $500 and includes a $200 deposit. The entry deadline is September 15, 2017.

Interested in competing in this growing system? Contact American Beauties National Pageants for more information.

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Maria Beall, American Beauties National Woman 2016 – Photo: Afif Cherif

Going Forward

Just like a business is nothing without its employees, a pageant is nothing without its working and engaged staff members. Also, in order to keep titleholders and grow your pageant system, your titleholders need to have a great experience. They also have to have the pageant’s best interest at heart, and that starts with the good work ethics.

The staff goes through the communication of getting all the administrative things taken care off, to having a smooth pageant week experience from start to finish, which means delegated responsibilities so titleholders know who to go to for assistance throughout the pageant as needed, and a fun and relaxed atmosphere for everyone involved. (Read: Top 10 National Pageant Directors of 2016)

So, take a deep breath, determine your why, make a plan, and get your pageant out there to the masses.

Good luck!

Which dress do you like better?

2 thoughts on “5 Tips for Directors to Expand Your Pageant System

  1. I have been a part of the American Beauties Nationals family since 2012. It’s an amazing organization that is family oriented. I attend travel to Atlanta every year to attend the pageant with my family.

  2. ALL of these are so true.. I have encountered through my yrs of pageantry with having to wait a long time for a question to be answered or email, etc. Natasha has gone above and beyond and done an amazing job as Director of the ABP/ABNI Pageant. And a pageant is only as good as its director…So thrilled and excited to be competing at ABNI this October.

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