From what I have seen there are several mistakes that bloggers make when hosting contests. First is that some make it too easy to join the contest so that contestants become one time visitors that wait for results via email. Second is the opposite. It is so hard to join the contest and there are too many exclusions (buying a product, writing long essays, etc.) that you automatically turn off the majority of those who might have wanted to join. And last, is offering something “worthless” as a price (like a backlink when your blog obviously has only two readers – no value).
From these observations I came to realize that for a blog contest to be successful you need to do the following:
- Have cool prizes. What is cool will depend on your target audience. While being added to the blogroll or having a post written about them is great note that this won’t be seen as valuable unlesss your blog has lots of traffic. Online gift certificates are great because winners get to choose their prize.
- Have 3 or more winners. Having just one winner is discouraging. Always give away prizes to 2nd and 3rd place winners or to category winners.
- Give varied ways to join and win prizes. For example while some may win a small prize by simply leaving a comment and thus be included in the random draw (easy way of joining) others can hope for bigger prizes by linking back to your blog (Yay for links!), posting a related story there or posting a picture. Buying a product from your online store can also earn them points for the raffle draw. This way you will get more people to join the contest as well as get something out of it automatically.
Image Source: MK Rules – Keeping it Positive; Keeping it Real