If I had to name my biggest frustration with blogging up to this point, it would be that I have yet to launch a really successful contest.
According to more experienced bloggers, hosting a contest is a wonderful way to generate traffic for your blog and expand your writing network. I can testify to the truth of this: each time I launch a new contest I see a spike in how many people have viewed or shown interest in my site. But while the idea of a contest seems to pique the interest of the blogging community, so far I haven’t been able to design one that encourages a great amount of participation.
I do feel like I’ve learned a great deal about contests from trial and error. I’ve launched three contests now, and each has been more successful than the last.
Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way:
Get A Little Help From Your Friends
Most of the successful contests that I’ve seen on other sites have all been collaborative. Several writers join forces to design a great contest, and they all work together on spreading the news, generating excitement, providing feedback, and judging the results. This is probably the biggest reason my contests have remained so small… I’ve attempted to do it all on my own.
When a contest starts out as a group project there will be obvious activity from the get-go, which will encourage other writers to jump in and participate.
Make It a “One-Stop Shop”
My first contest was a pitiful flop, and I blame it on trying to redirect my readers. In the post introducing the contest, I tried asking readers to click a link which would take them to the main contest page, where they could leave their comments and enter the contest. But in today’s fast-paced society, it simply didn’t work. I realized that redirecting readers to a separate page was killing my contests.
Instead, allowing readers to comment directly on the post they’re reading at that moment encourages greater participation. If you advertise your contest several times, it means the comments won’t be all in one place, but as the host you can find a way to work around this problem.
Make Everyone a Winner
More established blogs can get away with offering one coveted Grand Prize, which hundreds of writers will clamor for. For beginners, however, we need to think of creative ways to make everyone who participates feel like a winner. Offering a Grand Prize is not a bad idea, but also let every participant have access to something like a wall badge or group advertisement where they know their blog will be featured. This way they know that they will get something in return for their effort, and walk away from your site feeling like winners.
Help! I Need Somebody!
These are the things I’ve learned along the way, but I’ll be the first to admit that I have a long way to go in learning to design successful contests. If you’re reading this and have a helpful tip to share, please share it! My spring contest is looming on the horizon, and I need your help in making sure this one makes it off the launching pad!
What Tips Do You Have for Running A Successful Blogging Contest?
This post was submitted as part of IWSG, a fellowship of writers dedicated to gathering on the first Wednesday of every month to encourage one another, vent their frustrations, and share helpful tips for writers.