4 Tips for Holding a Contest On Your Blog

Sunday, September 18, 2016
I am currently holding a contest on my new blog. I don't have a new book out, which is often a reason writers hold contests on their blog; but I want to draw people to my blog to sign up for email posts or my newsletter and to make them aware that I have a new URL on the web. I decided one easy way to do this was with a contest.

Tip #1: Choose Your Contest, Making it Fun and Easy:
One of the subjects I want to write about in the next year is sayings and memes used for inspiration in our daily lives. So I decided my contest would focus on these sayings. The best and easiest way for people to enter the contest is to write their own sayings in the comments. Besides it being interactive and maybe fun to read everyone's comments, I could also use some of these for ideas for more blog posts.

Tip #2: Use Rafflecopter:
To run the contest, I decided to use a Rafflecopter form, so people can easily enter the contest and be encouraged to sign up for emailed posts or my newsletter, to follow my Facebook author page, to tweet about my contest, and more. If you want to check out how I set up my contest or enter it yourself, you can visit my website at the link here. I chose the tasks added to the Rafflecopter form based on these goals: I want to build a platform, an audience, a brand--and so I'm happy if someone likes my Facebook page to enter the contest--because I caught this reader in the one place he or she is comfortable in.

Tip #3: Offer Prizes to Fit Your Intended Audience: 
Since my goal for the contest is to direct attention to my new project and build an audience, I'm offering a variety of prizes (cost about $25 in total) that will appeal to many different types of people--male and female--old and young. That $25 is part of my marketing budget, and something that every writer has to be willing to have. You really do have to spend money to make money. My prizes are not only books. I think books are fine to giveaway, but blogs and social media are inundated with book giveaways, and Amazon is full of free book offers. So for this particular project, I decided to give away a gift card to Starbucks or Amazon, a free 10-page edit, one of my books (I would love to gain a new reader or two also), R-E-A-D magnets, and a journal.

Tip #4: Advertise Your Contest--People Will Not JUST Find It:
Advertising the contest is probably the most important part of this. Yes, I should follow tips 1 through 3: I have to set up an easy, fun contest; draw attention to my blog; offer prizes, and get people to sign up for things...BUT if I don't let people know it's going on, no one will enter it. I am currently building my audience, so I have to find these people somewhere. I posted about the contest on my personal Facebook page, and I tweeted about it. I plan to boost a Facebook author page post, and I put a screenshot of my blog on Instagram. Of course, this spin-off article on The Muffin is an advertisement for it. I will also create my monthly newsletter, which will highlight the contest, the new blog, and some of my recent posts. Creating the contest or the new content will not be enough to get attention--I have to market/advertise.

I love hosting contests; it's fun to interact with people. It's great to give out prizes, and it's nice to have new people involved in my creative life. To sum up if you are thinking of holding a contest, it's extremely important to think of your goal for the contest and what type of prizes will attract the same people who will like your content. Then put your plan into action and watch the contest unfold.

Share with us in the comments a successful contest you've had to market some type of writing or project, or any questions you might have about my contests.

Margo L Dill is a teacher, writer, children's author and editor, living in St. Louis, MO. She has a blogging website at http://www.margoldill.com and an editing website at http://www.editor-911,com
She teaches the novel writing workshop each month in the WOW! online classroom. 

Trophy photo above by Brad K. on Flickr.com


Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--None of my contests have been connected to a writing project. BUT you've given me something to think about... if that day ever DOES come along.

I think your contest is drawing in people because it appeals to everyone. Everybody has a phrase they love.

Thanks for prodding my brain into thinking how I can help market a book with blog contests.

Margo Dill said...

Thanks, Sioux. :) I think contests are hard because sometimes we don't think of how to get the best use out of them OR how to keep getting people over to the blog to enter the contest. :) I am not saying I have all the answers (Gosh, I wish I did). But I have learned some things over the years and through my work with WOW!


Great advice here: tactical and practical. Thanks, Margo.

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