Search Engine Workshops - Intensive hands-on search engine marketing training during a 2-, 3-, or 5-day workshop Search Engine Workshops Home PageRegister for onsite search engine marketing workshopsContact us for more information about our onsite search engine marketing workshopsLost? Find it in our site map.

Search Engine Workshops . . . the premiere onsite search engine marketing workshops in the world! Click here to go back to the index of SEO articles.

Topics covered at our search engine marketing workshopsDates for future search engine marketing workshopsRegister for onsite search engine marketing workshopsArticles on search engine marketingTestimonials from our search engine marketing workshop guestsSearch Engine Workshops PartnersCommonly asked questions about search engine marketing and our workshopsLinks to useful sites and search engine marketing informationAbout Search Engine Workshops




 How 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 social aspects. 

Have you read Robin Nobles past article called Blogs 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.

How 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.

If 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 occasion?
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.

Wordtracker 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 tips...
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 every day. 

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 deeper too. 
EXAMPLE: Gift Baskets - Other things to think about 
  • 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 entry.
  • 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.
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 like.....

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 too involved.

In Summary:

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 "participation factor." 

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 visit?

Have you visited the Idea Motivator Blog by Robin Nobles?

Have you visited the Affiliate Idea Factory Blog by Ginette Degner?

Have you 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 Fredrychowski?

Check out the Search Engine Academy Southwest Blog - by Emily Leach?

Check out the Tampa Bay Search Engine Academy Blog by Steve Scott?

Would 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

Click here to go back to the index of search engine marketing articles

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed
under a Creative Commons License.

We'll keep you advised on all of our future training dates the moment things are firmed up.
Simply enter your name and e-mail in the box below.

See what other dates and locations are still available

Sign up to receive our NEWSLETTER, PLUS free SEO strategies 
and tips and notification of future SEO workshops by e-mail.


Your Name:

Your E-mail Address:

John Alexander



Click here to go back to the index of SEO articles

Search Engine Marketing Workshops | Site Map | Affiliate Program

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service