To Fine Tune your Blog and Build More Readership using Contests
By John Alexander
I'm going to give you some ideas
for your Blog to help you build
its readership by using contests. These are just a few tips and ideas
which are meant as suggestions for you to think about. At
our Workshops, most people want to focus on the technical
aspect of optimization or linking or other types of
elements. But for this article we will be focusing on a few of the
Have you read Robin Nobles past article
with a Purpose? If not, I recommend it first as a good
start. Then come back here.
One of the effective aspects about Blogs is that they
are social. People love to read and then leave
comments or express their opinions. Think
firstly about writing for your readers (once you've defined
the purpose of your particular Blog) and give your readers
lots of content based on serving that purpose as opposed to
how some people are limited to trying to continually show
off their products.
The Human Interest Angle is
Powerful - Especially when you're publishing true stories
from your readers.
Contests are ideal for Blogs because of the frequent
interaction between Bloggers.
FACT: Blogs are continually being updated on a steady
consistent basis will get much more activity and
interactivity than a Blog that only gets updated once a
month. It will get spidered more often and more deeply just
based on being frequently updated.
often should you update your Blog? That depends on the
purpose of your Blog but the point is to 1) have a purpose
and 2) Make a consistent effort to update it often.
you were to create a contest on your Blog, think about ways
to maximize input from your readers.
What if you were to build a section on your Blog for posting
true stories that you would collect from your customers that
involve the impact of some event that occurred when they
gave someone one of your products?
For example some products
might be more suited to this than others. But let's pick and
easy one. Gift baskets,
Flowers, Awards or other types of similar businesses. What types
of stories might be out there that happened when someone received a gift
basket or flowers from someone.
Remember the human interest angle is very
powerful when a story is being told and (especially if you
can say it really is true.) People are not only just
interested in products or services. They are also interested
in people and stories. So let's talk about a simple format
to create a contest.
For example a customer
purchases a beautiful orchid for a friend and gives it to
them only to discover that the orchid had some special
hidden significance to the person ( or whatever the angle
was.) Here within this could be a very special story.
I am not suggesting to
manufacture stories, but collect them as is from your
customers or even online readers. Your customers could
e-mail them in or write
them out and send them in to you as part of an "essay contest."
Then you could offer them
something in exchange if you choose to use their
stories. For example a discount or perhaps a free download
or a small gift. You could even treat it like a contest that
will also help get the name of
your Blog out to your customers to readers
once in a while.
EXAMPLE of a Contest
Pitch for perhaps a Gift Basket Business:
Do you have a SPECIAL story that you would like to share of
something that happened
to you when you gave someone a gift basket on a certain
Simply write us a short essay
and tell us your TRUE STORY of what happened:
- It might be something
unusual, or something very touching as a result of sending
a gift basket.
- It might be something
memorable that you will NEVER ever forget.
- It might be something that
was funny or unbelievable that happened when you gave or
received a gift basket.
Send in your TRUE story as a 600
to 1200 word Essay to (Whatever your Company) and if we
publish your story, we will give
you a..... ( whatever you decide upon...maybe a discount or a
free something .) Last year Wordtracker conducted an
essay contest and had their readers submitting all kings of
essays. First prize was an all expense paid trip to the SEO
Workshop. The Blog was busy with entries and a team of
judges chose from the submissions to vote on the winning
prize. First Prize Winner was Bennie Jean Kuehnle.
First Prize Essay Winner Bennie Jean Kuehnle
John Alexander & Bennie Jean
Kuehnle & Robin Nobles
Bennie Jean Won
the Wordtracker Essay Contest in 2007 and won her Tuition and all expenses paid trip to the
5-Day SEO Mastery Workshop in Orlando.
Now here are a few
See what's out there. Collect
a few stories before actually publishing them. Once you have a few
stories (let's say you collect 5 or 6 contributions to
start.) Do not publish them all of the stories on your Blog
right away. Publish them
at regular intervals for example Monday, Wednesday and
Friday every week. If you
have more stories collected, you might want to publish them
The main key here is consistency. Content freshness factors
are a big deal with Blogs and with Web sites too.
Ideally if you could publish one story every day, that would
be super (but probably not too realistic) unless you had a
flood of contributions right away. But the more consistent you are at
posting regularly to your Blog the more the search
engines are going come crawling consistently and crawling
EXAMPLE: Gift Baskets - Other things to think
For example: Let's say that someone was
talking about the impact of what happened when he gave his
sweetheart just a single rose and what happened on this
occasion. So as the story wraps up you write something
- Now you have incorporated
interesting true stories that actually happened when
people gave or received flowers.
Think about this:
If the people who contribute the stories know their
stories are alive on the blog they will be telling all
their friends to go and read THEIR story. This is the
viral effect of customer generated content. The more
reader's stories you publish, the more folks that will be
pointing other people to your Blog and creating a buzz
about their stories that are published on your Blog.
- You might want to have a
written acknowledgement for people to sign that gives you
their permission and to post their story as part of the
- You want to keep adding new human
interest stories on a consistent basis. It does not have
to be weekly - it might be monthly to start, (but the more
often the better.)
- You might want to ask people
for an image of the person involved or you might want to
choose something that is professionally photographed, but
try and get more than just pictures of Gift baskets alone.
Focus on human interest stories.
- Remember that most visitors
love to look at examples, but what they really relate to
is the emotional expression on the person's face who
is with the gift basket in the photo. People relate mostly
around the expression in the eyes.
- Don't forget that where you
can nicely tie the end of a story together with a prompt
to click on a link - use natural flowing text.
Do you want to
instantly send someone special a single rose?
Click here to send it on it's way!
- Try and come up with unique
and different twists for your user input or contest
concepts. Instead of copying what somebody else is doing,
lead the way, be the first to do it differently and get
the buzz happening.
- What would happen if you
involved your contest winners in an opportunity to Blog
further for you after the prizes were won?
- Of course it is always wise
to consult with a lawyer or legal counsel in your area
with respect to any legal requirements of running a
contest in your Province, State or Country before getting
Blogging is uniquely social and
getting more so every day. Many Blog readers have the desire to participate and/or
comment or express their thoughts about what is being said. In many cases, Blogs
can literally become highly
authoritative resources that nearly become like living
breathing entities all on their own because of the
information, the links and not surprisingly the
You can build huge readership on just
about any types of topics imaginable. Contests are not
necessary, but when done correctly, they can create a
tremendous buzz as well as huge traffic spikes for to topic
that would be pertinent to your industry. Be creative, have
fun and write for your readers first.
Here are few Search Engine
Marketing Blogs of friends and associates that you may want to
visited the Idea
Motivator Blog by Robin Nobles?
visited the Affiliate
Idea Factory Blog by Ginette Degner?
visited the KEI
Observation Deck Blog by John Alexander?
Have you visited the Internet
Marketing Secrets Blog by Michael Campbell?
Check out the Search
Engine Academy of South Carolina's Blog by Tracy
Check out the Search
Engine Academy Southwest Blog - by Emily Leach?
Bay Search Engine Academy Blog by Steve Scott?
you like a Free SEO Tip of the Day?
About John Alexander
John Alexander is Co-director of Training at Search
Engine Workshops offering live, SEO Workshops with his
partner SEO educator Robin Nobles, author of the very first
comprehensive online search engine marketing courses. John is author of an
e-book called Wordtracker
Magic and has
taught SEO skills to people from 87 different countries world
wide. John is also Director of Search
Engine Academy with localized Search Engine Academy
training centers where the Complete SEO Mastery Workshop and 6
Month Mentoring program is taught locally to business
owners and individuals in
communities across North America and
Internationally in Asia.