Guest post by Brent McCoy. Running a blog contest can be a great way to build up social proof for your brand new blog, and it can also be used to encourage increased interactivity to help develop your blog’s community. These few guidelines should help point you in the right direction when it comes to running your own blog contest.
1. Decide On The Theme
This is the hook that lures the reader in, and refers to the subject your blog contest will be about. Usually you should aim to make this fairly generalized, but still on-topic enough to cater to the needs of your blog’s niche and existing audience.
For example, I run a blog that is mainly focused on online business issues and my first contest was themed around how Twitter should monetize its own site. There were some people with very knowledgeable responses, but also others that knew just enough to make an attempt – but this was good because it allowed everybody to get involved.
2. Decide On The Prize
Quite often this will be a small cash prize, though if you have a relationship with people in your niche you may be able to arrange for them to sponsor your contest and provide the prize. The easiest option is if you already have a product of your own, such as an e-book, as this costs you nothing extra and offers the added advantage of being able to promote your product.
The main thing to remember is your prize should be something the audience of your blog would be interested in, and seem worthwhile for the time it takes them to enter your contest.
3. Getting People To Enter
When encouraging people to enter your contest, you should aim to make it as easy for them as possible. I also suggest requiring an “entry fee” – for me, this is usually a re-tweet to help spread word about the contest.
The simplest way to get as many people entering as possible is to let them post their entry as a written comment, rather than have them submit a photo or video to enter. This makes the contest accessible to just about everyone.
4. Promoting Your Contest
The first step to promoting your contest is usually getting in touch with your existing audience (via email or social networks) and telling them about it. I usually also like to remind them once or twice before the contest finishes in case they forget to enter. For me, running contests on my blog is about rewarding my readers so I like to give them as much of a chance as I can for them to enter.
You can also promote your contest through forums related to your niche by mentioning it in your signature, or by posting a link to your contest on Online-Sweepstakes and other similar sites. Once people start to enter, they will also talk to other people about it (hence the re-tweet requirement) and help promote the contest for you.
5. Keeping People Updated
As the entries come in, keep posting them on your blog and sharing them through your social networks. This will encourage other people to get their entry in, as it shows your contest is alive and well. The effect of this will generally see a lot more people entering as your contest draws to a close.
You can also provide feedback during the contest, so that people get some form of acknowledgement for posting their entry – even if they don’t end up winning.
6. Wrapping Up
Once the contest is over, make sure you reward the winner as soon as possible. They can also provide a valuable testimonial to you in future if you ever need it. One of the main advantages of running a contest is it does provide the opportunity for a “wrap-up” post, in which I usually give the winner added exposure and mention some of the interesting things to come out of the contest. This usually provides you with very valuable content that you don’t have to spend too much time writing.
All in all, there are many advantages to running a contest on your blog and I hope you enjoy using these tips when it comes to thinking about your own blog contest. Good luck, and hopefully I’ve helped you out today!
Brent McCoy has universally been known as “the ideas man” wherever he’s gone, and has recently established Millionaire Studio in an effort to share his various insights on life and online business.