Tech Tuesday with BenSpark #15

This post was originally posted on FuelMyBlog’s Blog.

I have a great idea for a Tech Tuesday post but things came up so I was unable to do the proper research. So I am going to do that one another day. Oh well. Things have been crazy with the baby coming and I am in Minnesota on my last trip for a while.

Today I am going to talk about hosting contests on your blog. This seems to be the thing to do lately. I myself have hosted three such blog contests and my third one is actually ending tomorrow.

First you have to have a clear idea of what you are trying to accomplish with your contest. Do you want more comments? Would you like more linkbacks, or would you like more new readers? Having a clear goal in mind will help you decide what type of contest to run.

Next you have to figure out what you are going to give away with your contest. Maybe you want to start small and offer a review of someone’s site. Maybe you have a piece of tech equipment that you no longer need but someone else would love to have it. Or maybe you make things and sell them on your blog and you want to get a wider audience for your products. And you may even post about products that a sponsor company can send you.

I started my first contest after I won my first contest. It was called the One For Me One for you contest and was hosted my FuelMyBlog’s own Christine who writes Christine’s Sunday Lunch. So I wanted to host one of my own. I must have said something about that on a blog post and I was contacted by a great company that wanted to work with me on a contest. My intention behind the contest was two-fold. I wanted to promote my blog and at the same time promote a product that I was very enthuses about. I partnered with Soda-Club to give away a home soda maker. I have one of them myself and made a little video. I asked people to go ahead and write a post about why they should have a home soda maker and then I put up a voting box so that each contestant could gather votes for their own cause.

What this contest did was it built some brand awareness for Soda-Club and it also built many linkbacks to my own blog. Plus, it was fun. I had a great time reading all the contest entries and at the same time I was commenting on each new post that went up. There were about 2000 visits to my blog in that two week voting period. Many were repeats and that was cool. I figure that once a few people came back on more than one occasion I would get a new reader or two if they saw one of my photos and it made that person stop and read a post and not just vote. The Soda-Club also got some traffic from the contest and some orders, they were very happy with the results.

My second contest I partnered with to give away three XShots and I gave away a Flickr Pro account, and some gift certificates to Kodak This was a great contest because approached me to test out and review their product. And with this contest I asked people to send me a photo of themselves and loved ones or friends or even strangers taken at arms length.

The main purpose of this contest was to build brand awareness for the XShot and get as many people from all over to enter the contest. The photos were great and I had about 9 contestants and when the time came for voting I got many more people visiting the blog. I also got some great new readers from the contest. It was a success. I wanted more readers and I wanted to tell more people about this great new product.

And this past month I decided to host the entire contest myself and fund the prizes. I went a tad overboard on the contest rules and made it rather complicated but tried to keep it fun and exciting. My main purpose for this contest was to build brand awareness of my own brands, and projects as well as to build community among my readers and contestants. I wanted to introduce more people to all of my blogs, my photography and my videos. I offered points to each contestant for things like leaving comments, writing posts and hosting my Photo-A-Day widget on their blogs. Sure there were things I had to do each day to keep up with all the points being earned by the contestants but I loved every minute of it.

And as far as the return on the investment I can’t even begin to describe how beneficial this contest was to build brand awareness to the BenSpark media that is out there. Because of the comments to my photos on Buzznet I got 4 of my photos featured this past month. I had been on Buzznet for over 3 years and never had a featured photo. And the featured photo nominations came from people who were not in the contest either. But I see the daily comments and feedback from the contestants as very constructive and beneficial to my improvements this past month in my photography. Since I knew that there would be comments coming in about my photos I took extra care to take some great photos.

Each day contestants could earn points for comments on certain posts of mine as well as comments on posts on each other’s blogs as well. I wanted to also build community with this contest, even though it was a contest I wanted people to meet each other online. With all the ways to earn points I had to keep track of everything. So I used an Excel spreadsheet to capture all of the points. I even found out how many columns you can use on Excel. It goes from A – IV for anyone who wanted to know a technical thing on this tech Tuesday post.

So each month I am going to try a few different contests to meet new people, get a few links and add some fun to my blog. One of things that I am going to make sure and do is keep the contests something that ties in with the theme of my blog, like next month I start a brand new contest where I will once again team up with Stop by The BenSpark on September 1, 2007 to see what it is all about.

I encourage you to all to try out a contest of your own or attempt to participate in one on someone else’s blog.

BenSpark Writes four blogs, is an avid kayaker and a Transformers fan, he also takes at least one photo every single day and posts it to his BenSpark Blog. You can visit him at The BenSpark, BenSpark 2: Electric Boogaloo, Flatwater Tech or The Wired Kayaker.