To be perfectly honest, this was my first hackathon. Now, I didn’t get to participate, but I was able to answer questions, cheer on our participants, and read all of the posts. And what I learned is that there are some really inspiring people out there. One of my favorite parts of the hackathon was reading through all the posts and seeing the positive comments and interactions. It was hard to choose the top projects or posts in many cases, but you can find the full list of winners here. What stood out among these participants and the others we ranked high on our list? How can you make your hackathon submission stand out in future hackathons? That's what we're talking about today. Let's explore five ways to make your hackathon submission stand out.

Grab the Reader’s Attention

When you’re submitting to a hackathon, you want to stand out. The quickest way to do that is to grab the reader's attention. This could be through the project's topic, usefulness, or playfulness. By pulling the reader in early in your submission, you’ve hooked them into reading more and invited them to go on the journey with you.

Don’t Shy Away from Storytelling with Your Hackathon Submission

You might remember from my Technical Writing: A Developer’s Guide to Storytelling that storytelling connects you to the reader on a more personal level. It takes it a step deeper than getting the reader’s attention. How will you stay in the reader’s memory? Think about what your reader needs--I wrote more about this in Technical Writing: a Beginner’s Guide if you want to learn more. Can you help solve their problem? When they read through your blog, will they say, “I could really use that!” If they do, you’ve pulled them into your story, and they’ll remember you.

Create a Clear Purpose and Explain your Project Approach

Hackathons are ultimately about solving a problem. The reader should know what problem you’re trying to solve. This is one of the reasons why writing a blog post along with your submissions can be helpful. You can clarify what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it and provide the reader with the context they need to understand your project.

Don’t Underestimate Creativity when Using the Product

Each of the winners gave a unique take on a problem that was solved or improved with Deepgram’s Speech-to-Text Technology. If you read through all of our submissions, you’ll notice that some projects overlapped or were trying to solve the same problem. How can you differentiate yourself from similar projects?

Include a Live Preview or Video Demo

Having a way for the reader to understand what your project does- whether through a live demo or a video recording- helps tell the story of the code you’ve created. Although we did go through and run the code of other projects that ranked high on our list, seeing a project and interacting with it in some way helps grab the reader’s attention and remember the project.

There are a lot of benfits to entering hackathons beyond winning prizes. Entering hackathons is a great way to create a portfolio project, work on project-based learning, and see how others approach a problem.

Congratulations to all of our participants. Thank you for sharing your stories and your projects with us. We took a lot of inspiration away from this event, and we’re looking forward to continuing to learn from you and sharing what we’ve learned. If you’re interested in hearing more from us, you can check out our Community Conversations: Getting Started in DevRel meetup in a couple of weeks or follow us on Twitter at @DeepgramDevs to catch our next Twitter Space.

If you have any feedback about this post, or anything else around Deepgram, we'd love to hear from you. Please let us know in our GitHub discussions .

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