How to Host an Effective Blog Contest, Step by Step!

October 13, 2008 by admin  
Filed under Ask Prizetastic

On my post announcing that I would be building a directory of Australian Blog Contests I’ve received a question from Nerys asking for some advice on how to host an effective blog contest. (Nerys has an absolutely gorgeous etsy store by the way!!)

So here goes, if you are wanting to host a competition or contest on your blog, follow these basic guidelines to get you started. Let me know if you want more clarification or ideas at all :)

Every day I enter at least one competition, and although blog contests are slightly different from your normal, every day corporate competitions, there’s still some important similarities, and simple rules you need to follow to make sure the contest is effective and both you as the blogger and your readers find the entire process fun and worthwhile.

Step One: - Legalities!!!

The thing I notice most about blog competitions is the lack of understanding about the laws that govern competitions, promotions and giveaways. I am in no position to offer legal advice, so please do NOT consider this legal advice of any kind, but I DO advise you to check what the legal requirements are for a person wishing to host or conduct competition style activities.

In Australia, specifically New South Wales, if you are hosting a “skill based” competition there are very few if any regulations. These types of competitions are not considered random as the entrant has to be creative in some way, via a written answer, photograph or similar which is then judged and awarded. Many blog competitions fall into this category as they require a blog post or similar in order to enter. It is VITAL that you check your own country or state competition authority to see what may apply in your area.

Similarly in NSW prizes under $100 do not require a permit, so again, this will apply to many blog competitions. AGAIN, please check out details for your area. (I will try and track down links for states and countries to make it easier for you guys to find this information)

Step Two: - What is the purpose of your Blog Competition?

There are many reasons for running competitions. The first essential step in running an effective competition is to decide why you want to hold one in the first place? Lay out your reasons, goals and expectations. Do you want to increase traffic, reward regular readers, promote a new product? What is the goal? Set yourself a measurable benchmark, for example do you want to attract 50 new readers to your site? Make 30 product sales? Whatever it is, write it down.

Step Three: - Prizes, Prizes, Prizes

What prizes do you have to offer that will tie in with the theme of your competition, site, product or even something weird and unique that might have a viral buzz effect? What amount can you afford to spend on prizes? Are prizes being donated? If so by who, and what are their expectations for promotion during the competition?

Step Four: - Write Your Terms and Conditions

Using the outline you’ve got from steps one to three, write a clear and concise set of terms and conditions to place on your site. You will need to include details of Who can enter (age, location and any other restrictions). What they must do to enter. What prizes are on offer. How the winner will be decided. What date the competition will open and close, and the date the winner will be announced.

Step Five: - Promotion!

Just like everything else online, a successful competition requires taking some action to spread the word and get traffic to your site. Set a plan with the exact details of how you will attract people to your blog and your competition. Will it be via the use of blogger friends who will help spread the word? Web 2.0 Social bookmarking sites? Forums? Decide an action plan and write down what steps you will use to reach your goals planned in step two.

Step Six: - Track your Entries, Be Transparent and Draw a Winner.

People like to know that a competition of any kind is above board. Sometimes this is impossible, but depending on your desired goals you set earlier, giving your readers and entrants piece of mind that you are hosting an honest blog competition is important.

Keep in touch with entrants, keep your blog active and try to take some photos or offer screen shots of the prize draw or judging results.

Announce your winner on the date you advised and you hopefull have experienced an enjoyable blog competition and hopefully gained some new friends and readers along the way :)

GOOD LUCK :)

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Comments

5 Responses to “How to Host an Effective Blog Contest, Step by Step!”

  1. Bettina (9 comments.) on October 14th, 2008 5:32 am

    Thanks for that. It’s always handy to have a little extra info even with something as simple as giving away some of your own handmade stuff :)

  2. Steps To Holding Effective Blog Competitions | WassupBlog on October 14th, 2008 11:18 pm

    [...] a post about it and getting good results. I was lucky enough to come across Prizetastic’s How To Host An Effective Competition as it contained certain information that had never crossed my [...]

  3. Gyutae Park (1 comments.) on October 15th, 2008 3:36 am

    Great post! I’m used to running some big contests on my blog. In fact, I’m running a pretty big one here: http://www.winningtheweb.com/ranksense-seo-launch-contest.php

    You bring up a lot of good points that I haven’t really focused on in the past, including legalities and terms and conditions. It’s probably something that I should definitely do, but have taken it lightly.

    Thanks for the tips!

  4. admin on October 15th, 2008 10:53 am

    Thanks everyone, I’m glad this post has been some help to people. There’s so many considerations to make when running competitions, but generally these basics will cover it for bloggers :)

    I will try and have a closer look at some of the legislation for different Australian States as well as the US and UK and see if I can find some basic guidelines… :)

  5. Rodney@Blogging with WordPress (1 comments.) on November 7th, 2008 9:02 pm

    Good advice - thanks. I wasn’t aware competitions are regulated in this way, but it makes sense. I’d be interested if you manage to track down more region-specific stuff, particularly for the UK.

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