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Winning Ways to Promote Your Blog Contest

Posted by on 23rd Jan 2009 | 10 comments

Blog contests and giveaways are a popular way to increase traffic. The most common blog giveaway is to simply announce it on one’s site and ask people to enter by posting a comment. You can build an audience this way, but wouldn’t you like to expand your reach even further? Increase not only the readers of your blog, but your followers on Twitter and other social networks? Let’s talk about ways we can do that.

The key to promoting your contest is to give your readers incentives to spread the word about your contest. This can either take the form of additional entries in the sweepstakes or earning points toward being the ultimate winner in the contest.

Before we go any further, let’s clarify some terms. Technically speaking, a contest is a judged competition. If you ask readers to leave a comment with a holiday horror story and you choose the best one as the winner, that’s a contest. If you choose one at random, it’s called a sweepstakes. If the first ten commenters win, it’s a giveaway. For brevity’s sake, though, I’ll just refer to all these as contests.

Blogs

Accepting comments as contest entries is the easiest way to run a contest. Most blog software requires an email address to comment, which gives you a way to contact the winner. You should also accept trackbacks/pingbacks as entries — it may be a little more difficult to contact the winner, but having other blogs link to your contest will draw a bigger audience than just comments. Also consider designing a small image that bloggers can put in the sidebar of their site that links back to your contest. Give the blogger an extra entry for every click through from their site, which you can track through Google Analytics or another website statistics package.

Twitter

Twitter can be a great way to promote your blog — and in particular your blog contest — as long as you don’t overdue it. Most people don’t mind the occasional tweet about your blog, but if that’s all you ever post they may go elsewhere. Be sure to announce the contest when it starts, and maybe remind folks once more before it ends.

Also, offer additional entries for people that tweet about your contest. Give specific text (or a #hashtag) for people to use when they tweet, so you can search for the entries at the end of the contest. It’s best if you set a limit on the number of entries that can be earned this way, though. Otherwise, some people might abuse it.

Social Networking

In a similar way, you can extend your contest into other social networking sites like MySpace or Facebook. By accepting comments there as entries, you encourage people to become your friend, and it’s another avenue to reach those people later.

Sweepstakes Sites

There are many sites (Online Sweepstakes, SweepsGoat, Sweepstakes Advantage, to name a few) that list online sweepstakes. Some allow you to suggest a sweepstakes, but may or may not add it to their directory. Others will post any legitimate contest someone submits. Be sure to follow the rules for submission on each site. If the site accepts comments, monitor the ones about your contest so you can answer any questions that come up. (Full disclosure: My wife and I operate SweepsGoat.)

If you do offer multiple ways for people to enter, I recommend tracking all your entries in a spreadsheet, so that at the end of the contest you can more easily choose a winner. Also, be sure to post rules for your contest, including start and end dates, how often visitors can enter, and how and when a winner will be chosen.

Have you run a blog contest? How did you promote it? Let us know in the comments.


Web developer and blogger, I love making software do things it wasn't meant to do.

10 comments - Leave a reply
  • Posted by Lowill on 23rd Jan 2009

    Thanks for the alternative contest directory websites in the last section. I avoid Online Sweepstakes like the plague now because they regularly game contests for their paid subscribers (by only publishing the announcement internally for a few people and not for the general public, while also not informing the person who submitted the contest that will happen), so I needed an alternative.

  • Posted by Missy (from Groovy Vegetarian) on 23rd Jan 2009

    I plan to hold a series of giveaways on my veg blog this month. I see giveaways and contests as a great marketing vehicle.

    I think more bloggers need to avail of this highly creative and interactive method of getting all sorts of goodies, such as traffic links comments and maybe even indirect revenue.

    Prizes can be expensive or not, books always do good and these go well with ANY niche. Great reminder. Thx!!!

    P.S. Plus (as you said) there are more avenues than ever to promote our giveaways and my fave is definitely social media, especially Twitter.

    Missy.

  • Posted by Blog Connection on 24th Jan 2009

    I think its not really about quantity it is about quality. On network of business software, the admin offers a Amazon gift card to the best comment on a specific topic. It generally not only increases the quanity of replies but the quality as well.

  • Posted by Dennis Edell on 24th Jan 2009

    Upping your commenting on commentluv enabled blogs is a great promotional tool….as long as you’re commenting anyway, which should be a must for all bloggers. ;)

  • Posted by dofollow backlink on 27th Jan 2009

    I think the contest it self must be interesting. If the contest give the contestant very beautifully reward, I'm sure the follower will visiting massively.

  • Posted by Jane on 21st Feb 2009

    Thanks for this post – it has been a big help. :) We just launched our contest today and doing everything we can to spread the word because it's so big (Almost $1,600 in prizes). We also submitted our contest on your contest site – which is also a great site! Thanks again :)

  • Posted by Gunjan on 9th Sep 2010

    Thanks for the wonderful ideas. We have recently started conducting giveaway contests on our blog. Currently we are giving away some cool t-shirts. Still trying to figure out the best to promote our giveaway contest though. Thanks for the tips. :)
    My recent post The F-Shaped Reading Pattern

  • Posted by Heart for the City on 21st Dec 2010

    We're conducting sweepstakes too, I could it is indeed a great idea to start off. Thanks for pointing it out.
    My recent post An exclusive 7-day Vacation Getaway Package in sunny Orlando- FL awaits the lucky Grand Prize winner of Heart for the Citys Sweepstakes and Charity Event Click on the Sweepstakes tab to find out more!!!

  • Posted by Tony on 14th Apr 2011

    This is a great post – I'm going to put my Daily Sweepstakes on sweepsgoat right after this.

    Agreed with the previous poster about Online Sweepstakes. I run a legit sweeps and they have been very hard to deal with.

  • Posted by Sherry on 1st Jun 2011

    I had a press release out before I launched my blog contest. I think it is a good way start a contest. I'm also participating with forum sites in line with my contest. Since the prize up for grabs are mazda items and accessories I participated with mazda forums..
    My recent post Mazda Jackets- Mazda Hats- Mazda Big Posters- Mazda Pins Giveaway Contest