Instead of having all those credits go to waste, I've decided to host a competition to promote my blog, the Necro Files. Since I've never hosted a competition before, I had to do a bit of research to find out how I can use this competition to promote my blog the best.
What the blogging experts say regarding competition
Dosh dosh seems to be negative about holding competitions with the explicit purpose of marketing your blog. I agree with the dosh dosh approach: forget about gimmicks. Minimise noise and maximise signal. This implies rather working on great content instead of increasing the noise in your message.
You have some responsibility to your loyal readers to keep up the level of intensity and to provide them with content they are interested in - or stand the risk of losing them. Despite agreeing with dosh dosh, I am still stuck with more than a thousand entrecard credits.
Pro blogger's tips on how to run a competition
- You need to work on traffic first. This seems a bit hairy, especially since the competition is essentially a promotion to try and get traffic to your blog. According to Pro Blogger, a competition rather engages your current reader base instead of finding new readers.
- Identify the goals of the competition. You should decide what the purpose of your competition is. Do you want more subscribers? Do you want to reward loyal readers? In my case, my goals are spreading Libertarian propaganda and getting rid of Entrecard.
- Offer relevant and worthwhile prizes. While I have become disillusioned with the high bounce rate that Entrecrad traffic brings, some others who start out blogging are still quite happy with the service. I believe that the prize of all my Entrecard credits would be a relevant and worthwhile prize to them.
- Make entering easy. Well, I have never been known to take the easy way out. I expect my readers to have the same kind of drive, so entering won't be easy. Perhaps the success of my competition would suffer, but so be it.
I would require entrants to write a blog post on Libertarianism. The post should be at least 250 words and it should adhere to the laws of an intellectually honest debate. This implies that entrants would be penalised for logical fallacies. Entrants could write from a favourable or critical viewpoint, as long as they can back up their stance.
- Set a reasonable competition time. This is tricky. My own blog posts take about 2 days (in between work and other commitments) to complete. I understand that researching a blog post - especially on a topic one might be unfamiliar with - could require more time. I also haven't decided on exactly how I would judge the competition.
I could run a poll on my blog to let readers choose the best entry. However, this opens up the process to the failures of a democratic system. The other option is evaluating the response their entries get on their blogs. The amount of traffic and the amount of comments could count, but this leaves the quality aspect behind.
I would rather focus on quality than quantity. Since it is my competition, I will be judge, jury and executioner. While I will employ caprice, I would encourage entrants to view other entries and digg and stumble them if they find them interesting. The amount of diggs and stumbles could then be used to evaluate the quality of the post.
- Promote your competition. Viral marketing is the latest craze. I will offer a widget on my blog that shows up on each page to promote the competition. For the viral element, I will offer a banner that entrants can copy into their entries. Furthermore, I will use forums and my social networking contacts to promote the competition.
The proof of the pudding
You may view my first attempt at hosting a competition to promote my blog here:
Enter the Necro Files Liberty Essay Competition.
Feel free to enter!
- Blog about your blog offers 6 great tips for hosting a blogging contest.
- Dosh dosh claims competitions are gimmicks and add noise to your signal. They offer tips on alternative ways to increase your subscribers.
- Pro blogger offers a post on how to run a blog competition to find new readers and make your bog sticky.