This guest post is by Kiera Pedley of Binkd.
Running a contest on your blog can be a great way to generate new readership, reactivate stagnant subscribers, and increase the engagement of your readers.
Competitions can be a lot of hard work for little or no results, unless you run them to a plan and have a clear objective in mind.
Here are five tips for running an awesome blog contest campaign.
1. Set a clear objective
As bloggers we love readers, we love engagement, we love community—a contest can help you achieve any or all of these things. When planning your contest, set a goal as to what you need to achieve.
Do you want more:
- email Subscribers
- RSS readers
- social media fans
- sales of your product
- comments and engagement?
Set your goals as numbers—if you wish to increase your email subscribers, how many do you want?
The true measure of a successful competition is in its metrics, and without a clear, numerical goal in place, you won’t know if your hard work is paying off.
2. Don’t go it alone
If youíre hoping to attract new readership to your blog, you want your contest to be seen by as many people as possible. You can do this using a few strategies:
Use a third-party social media competition platform to help send the contest viral
Increasing your contest’s visibility is the key to success, and the easiest medium to send your contest viral is social media.
A third-party app helps you to encourage your fans to share their entries on social media. You can either use a blog plugin to run your contest, or use a Facebook based application such as Binkd or Wildfire App. (Full disclosure here, Binkd is my product!)
Joint venture with partner
Leveraging someone else’s list is a powerful way to attract a fresh audience. Team up with a non-competing colleague in your niche and share the rewards of your contest. In exchange for the cross promotion, you could allow them to market to the list generated by the contest.
Getting a high-profile sponsor of your contest to assist in the promotion or in the donation of a prize is another way to help market your contest. It also adds credibility to your contest by transferring trust.
3. Choose your contest carefully
If you’re using a competition app, there are several types of contests available:
A skills contest requires your entrants to perform a task to be elligible to answer. Short story contests, answer a question contests, and write a jingle skills contests are popular. Entrants can then either be drawn randomly, or encouraged to share their entries to get their friends to vote. Skills contests are similar to sweepstakes, but the entrants can influence their success or failure in the competition.
You can select to have the entrant with the most votes win, or have each vote count for an entry, and drawn similar to a sweepstakes contest.
A visual form of skills contest, here, your entrants upload a photo, and then appeal to their contacts to vote for the photo. This is a really good way to visually promote your brand. Getting a photo of your fans using your product, or performing a stunt related to your brand spreads the word about you far and wide!
A challenge contest can send your entrants on a virtual scavenger hunt around your site and social media pages, searching for answers to your questions. This type of contest is powerful for creating engaged and interactive entrants.
Your entrants submit their entry, and the winner(s) are randomly drawn. Sweepstakes are a game of chance, not skill.
4. Build engagement
Increase the stickiness of your contest by increasing the engagement of your entrants.
Multiple entry steps
Statistically, contests with multiple entry steps deliver more engaged and sticky entrants. A challenge contest gives your entrants the opportunity to explore your site, and interact with various articles on your blog.
Make the contest goals achievable for your entrants to complete. For example, if you’re running an article contest to generate some awesome new articles, don’t set word counts or criteria too high or tight.
Don’t make your challenge contest questions too difficult to answer, or be too cryptic in your clues.
5. Automate the process
You can effectively run a contest just on your blog, or by a forum and email management system, but it’s a lot of hard work and can be an administrative nightmare!
There are several applications on the market that automate running a contest and allow you to keep the list of entrants to market to during and after the contest.
Some of the most popular are:
- Binkd a contest platform that offers a WordPress plugin and Facebook Sweepstakes and Challenge contests
- Wildfire App, for Facebook Sweepstakes, Photo Contests, and Vote to Win
- Bulbstorm, for Facebook Sweepstakes, Photo Contests, and Vote to Win.
Running a contest can really help you build up your readership and drive quality, qualified fans to your email subscriber list and social media platforms. You can simplify the job by using a third-party application to handle the grunt work of administering the contest.
Have you used a contest to promote your blog and engage readers? Share your experiences and tips in the comments.