These days we could see a great rise of bloggers and one of the best ways to get noticed or best ways of promotion is to conduct a Blogging Contest. Even sponsors too are seeking for opportunities from bloggers or people who could conduct contests and promote their sites or products. Most of the contests are focused on promoting their own blogs by luring some good prizes or cash prizes for a certain period of time. If you are planning to start a contest then this post would give an idea on how to make the contest go viral and successful too.
There are many reality shows going on in television like American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Survivor, Hell’s Kitchen, Master Chef Etc. All these contests are popular and all are having good standing with the audience and they do good to increase the TRP ratings of a channel. Above all they are not a one time show or contest but are being continued year after the year increasing the popularity and toughness among the contenders.
Good Reality Show = Many Worthy Participants = Many Spectators = Good TRP ratings(I recommend you to steal the same formula to make a blogging contest go viral)
These shows have established a brand and people are crazy about to participate and at the same time see these shows. They even roll out these shows annually as season 2, season 3 and so on. So some of the questions you need to ask before you plan a blogging contest is
- Whether your blogging contest is a branded one which is conducted annually?
- Does it go viral as soon as you announce it?
- Will there be many spectators apart from participants?
Then you need to read this article to plan a successful reality blogging contest in fact a branded blogging contest. Below is an example of a banner on how one should create for their contest and SML is not hosting any such contests specified in the banner.
So if you have already conducted a contest you might have seen how people would try to use unfair methods to win the contest. In order to avoid such unfair means or to really give your contest a good standing here are few things to consider.
Tips for conducting a successful contest on your Blog
Have Judges to your Contest:
This is one of the important things a blog contest lack these days. Having a Judge or couple of judges is good to your contest as it increases the value of the contest and chances of getting more participants who love to get judged by some one who is good in that field.
Try to choose some good judges who have good social networking authority and probably an internet celebrity. You have to give clear-cut information on what factors to judge and tell them to assign the points.
You have to figure out most of the things for them as these people will be always busy. Just give them work load such that it can be completed by 15 or 30 minutes and they should not be burdened or feel overloaded with work. See that you give them everything ready and they enjoy their work, I mean judgement.
You just need to hand over the proper links, factors to judge and mark sheet to put points. Don’t try to judge all by yourself, you are just the host who should bring coordination between judges, participants and the spectators. All reality shows do have popular judges and television people just host and market the show. Don’t give judgment to your sponsors or any friends of yours at any cost, see that people who judge do it fairly by rewarding quality over quantity.
Use Social networking to make your contest viral:
This one depends upon your goals with your contest. Are you trying to create a brand value? Trying to get more social media subscribers? Email Subscribers? Or to create an authority in your niche. Social media is your best bet to go viral, get more participant for your blog contest, and also to get search engine advantage due to social media sharing and bookmarking.
As a blogger, we usually create a separate post for running blog contest, and ask users to share those pages. They do have advantages for the limited time-frame, but once contest is over, you are diluting the value of those social media votes. A good strategy is to craft your contest page with a vision. For example: When makeuseof organizes a contest, they write a review and put the simple contest term at the end. This way, it’s a win-win situation for the blogger and readers. Though, when writing the contest rules, don’t make the contest dependent on Tweets and Facebook likes. If anyone is desperate enough to win a contest then they can buy as many Facebook likes as possible because there are many people who are selling likes, tweets etc starting from 20$. Let it go genuinely as whoever likes to share let them share let it be a part of promotion but not as a part to determine the winner.
Innovative rules which benefit the Sponsors:
You have got good sponsors then try to hold them well so that if at all they want to sponsor next contest it should be only with you. See that you set some rules which will benefit your sponsors too. Try to give some small gifts as gratitude, need not be cash prize plan something else small but should be of some value to them as a token of appreciation and gratitude for sponsoring your contest. You can give them a good book of their interest or a good T-shirt with your blog name on it. Search for more such ideas and offer them some value and respect so that they would love to sponsor the next time too. A good strategy is to add some rules like (Join sponsors Facebook page, Join Sponsors Twitter profile), and so on to give some social media love to contest sponsors.
Reward the Spectators:
Hey so you got your contest going on, you are benefited, sponsors are benefited and participants are benefited now what about spectators. Don’t leave them like that. they are the ones who make a show or contest successful. Let them in and ask them to participate and plan some small goodies. Set aside 10% of your contest prize money to your spectators so that you can draw many visitors in this way too. Tell them to comment and send feedback on the posts, say a good comment will be rewarded. Or tell them to ask the participants a good question and if that question is worthy enough you get some cash isn’t it cool. So you can get some cool spectators too participating in the contest. Spectators are nothing but a way to increase your traffic so its a bonus and don’t let it go in vain.
Call of action to contestants and visitors:
After you get feed back and points from the judges just update their points and along side ask the spectators to vote for their favorite blogger via poll daddy or similar voting widgets. Ask the other contestants to vote who is the best contender they are afraid off. Keep these points too for determining whenever tie of sort happens or even you can give some percentage to user votes along with points given by the judges. The contest would look dull without spectators so keep them engaged.
Prepare Leader board with stats:
If you are running a contest for a month see that you update the leaderboard with necessary stats or points every week. This is a way of telling your participants and spectators that you are transparent and you are playing it clean without any partiality.
Plan the right way and avoid flaws in your Blogging Contest:
Planning the contest is what should make your contest look unique and stand from the crowd. Consider doing this before planning a blogging contest.
- Give an unique name to your contest.
- Design good banners and promotion tools.
- Frame perfect rules and explain clearly on what basis they would be disqualified.
- Write a disclaimer so that people would not fight with the host (Something like judge’s decision is final)
- Try to allow limited participants as it is good to calculate stats and easy for judges to judge.
- Set proper targets for contestants on what they need to do or achieve.
- See that all participants have equal eligibility criteria. You can’t bring in a pro contender and ask newbie’s to compete.
- Planning a good contest will not only bring good name to your contest but people who would sponsor keep sending you mails to let them sponsor the next contest.
Make the contest exciting by final Battles or face off Rounds:
Make the contest even exiting by eliminating the poor contestants and letting the strong compete. Keep face to face rounds and let the excitement be going between the two strong contenders. Doing this creates some interest among the spectators like it happens in the last few overs of an IPL match.
Calculation, announcing the winners and rewards:
As your contest comes to an end give an exact calculation of the points and the factors based on what the winner is chosen. Announce the winner and say what all he or she has won and what made them to win the contest. Coming to rewards as I have said earlier, distribute all the rewards like giving off the promised gifts to the spectators, token of appreciation gifts to sponsors and also for the judges. If every thing has gone well and your contest did become popular then start planning for season 2…
A good idea is to use services like PunchTab to organize your contest. ShoutMeLoud usually use Punchtab for organizing blog contest and it makes it easier for contest organizers and participant to make it a successful contest.