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Apr 4
Business Blog Tips: How to Announce A Blog Contest

Gold%20Trophy%20Collection.jpgWednesdays are for pro blogging tips as Business Blog Wire becomes a HOT blog (Herculean, Outgoing, Tipsy) this month.  Char was kind enough to let me mention some essential blogging tools of mine at Essential Keystrokes (feed) this morning, but here is another tipsy post for ya.

Have you ever considered running a contest at your blog?  Have you found it difficult to decide how to announce your contest so as to maximize buzz with minimal time and effort (and expense)?

If so, you should carefully study these tips on how to announce a blog contest SEO-style (i.e. with search engine optimization in mind) and SMO-style (i.e. with social media optimization in mind)):

Study These Articles ...

1. eMoms Birthday Party Contest (ongoing through end of April 2007)
2. SEM Search Engine Marketing Scholarship by Marketing Pilgrim (deadline tomorrow, April 6, at 9 PM ET)
3. Blog Contests for Fun and Profit by Mark Shead at Problogger

... And Do These Things

1. Write the blog contest announcement post.  Think CUPS: clear, urgent, powerful, simple.  Pay close attention to the different keywords and phrases used in your post and tweak it until it is filled with a wide variety of relevant terms.  Include several relevant links to blogs whose authors are the sort who respond quickly to incoming links.

2. Show the post to a few blogging friends. Talk individually with each blogger about the announcement and let 'em know it's top-secret.  Get their feedback and adjust the announement as needed.  Urge them to keep quiet until the moment you launch the contest ... and then have 'em shout it from the blogosphere rooftops.

3. Schedule the contest announcement to be published at a peak traffic moment for your blog if possible - but also when people are more likely to meet the announcement with enthusiasm.  Early Monday morning or the first day of a month are natural starting points, and Fridays, Sundays and the last day of the month are natural ending points.

4. Prepare a viral video.  Why not?  It's so easy - get out your digital camera or camcorder or webcam, briefly record yourself being goofy/estatic/mysterious in announcing the contest, and prepare to upload it to YouTube and its muchos amigos in the online video sharing community.  When ready, quickly upload the video, tag it liberally, embed it in your contest announcement near the top of the post, and hit Publish.

5. Prepare a press release.  PRWeb is cheap and effective.  This will get the attention of media outlets, Google News, mainstream media, etc.


spamlite.jpg6. Prepare a mass email to everyone.  Everyone = your blogging friends and contacts, bloggers with similar blogs to yours, people who have commented on or linked to your blog before, local newspapers and TV stations, your congressional representative, etc. :)  Make it short and sweet and leave a blank for the URL of the blog contest announce notice.  The moment you publish the post, paste in the URL and dash off the email.  Send it to yourself and BCC everyone else in.  Invite everyone to participate and to tell everyone else (forward the email, blog about your contest, etc).

7. Prepare a friendly Digg posse.  In other words, a small group of your faithful blogging friends who have Digg / Reddit / Fark / StumbleUpon / del.icio.us / YouTube / etc. social media website accounts.  Have them ready to submit your contest announcement to lots of these sites immediately after it's published, complete with enthusiastic descriptions.  Bonus: Have them all "seed" the post by giving it several Diggs or Stumbles or votes, etc.  This makes it more likely to snowball its way to the front page of various social media sharing sites.  Double Bonus: Prepare a list of blogs to comment on (think high-authority and/or highly relevant) and bloggers to contact and organize the contacting/announcing efforts with your friends so as to create maximum immediate buzz.

8. Prepare your schedule.  The day of the announcement should be meeting-free.  Get errands out of the way beforehand or put them off until after the announcement rush hour is complete.  Get ready for the flood of blog comments, questions, email replies, obsessive-compulsive backlink and traffic and social media vote checking, and other stresses.

9. Prepare yourself.  Get some rest.  Trim your toenails.  Take a bubble bath.  Whatever helps you relax and get in the zone.  Buy snacks.

10. DO IT!  Hit Publish!  Throw down the checkered flag!  Raise the alarm!  Get out the megaphone! Twist and shout!  Make some noise and raise the roof!

Smiling%20Llama.jpgCongratulations.  You've just announced a contest at your blog with awesome SEO and SMO.

Someday, remind me to talk about all those teeny details of what to do AFTER you've announced the contest. :)  Actually, just ask Wendy - she's in the thick of that right now!

Now then - your thoughts?  What other things can you do to announce a blog contest for optimum search engine placement and social media appeal?

8 Comments/Trackbacks

Well done Easton! Lots to learn from here. Thanks for sending it my way! Bravo!

Easton - thanks for sharing your blogging tools at Essential Keystrokes yesterday.

I love all the acronyms lately! They work well with this how to style.

You are the master. You go for it!

Easton -

Great post/points.

One thing to add would be is if you're going to submit to digg, try to befriend a Power User! We've all seen how they control the content.

If you can come up with something catchy enough to make it to the homepage, you're guaranteed an insane amount of traffic on top of what you already have.

How did this blogger get 3000+ diggs without being a power user?

Thanks guys. And nice to meet you Doug!

While the Spam Lite image in my post is facetious, the idea of telling just about everyone about your blog contest is not. Doug brings up a good point - it's not just what you say or where you say it, but *who* you are and *who* you know and *who* says it. So tap into your friends in high places as much as possible when spreading buzz about a special announcement!

Well done, Easton! Phenomenal post!

I can add a few things as well, now that I am knee deep in the contest:

-Make sure prizes are valuable - one of the reasons my contest has really caught on is because my focus is on making sure this contest adds a lot of value.

-If you get a lot of publicity, be prepared to be pretty much swamped with contest administrative work! ;)

-Tie in extra-special content and interviews with the contest - the themed approach is working REALLY well

-If it is really successful, people will jump in and want to donate prizes of their own (I really hadn't planned on THAT!!). Just be sure that the prizes you accept into the contest also add value and keep with the contest theme.

-Above all - HAVE A BLAST! :D

Thanks for the mention, Easton! (AND for the uber::flattering comment on ShoeMoney's site!!!)

Great tips Easton.
Especially about taking a bubble bath :)

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