How to Run a Blog Contest – 21 Tips on Crowdsourcing & Community Engagement
Running a contest on your blog is a great idea, but it’s not as easy as it seems.
From a technology perspective it’s certainly much easier than it used to be. I crowdsourced content ideas for my board game back in 2005 and it took some custom coding. I don’t think the term even existed. Today there are many solutions. Listly is clearly one of those – a rather good one but don’t take my word for it. I guess that was one of the things that I used as a benchmark to evaluate Listly before joining as co-founder.
Beyond the technology the big challenge is people. Getting people to act. I don’t see Crowdsourcing as an alternative to Collaboration. At the end of the day this is all about people and human motivation. It’s all about inspiring and engaging your network.
- You need people to see your content.
- You also need to make an emotional connection
- You need to entice and coax people from lurking to actually contributing to your project
What matters is the metrics. What matters is both eyeballs and emotion. Emotion is the most critical. Your list is living breathing social proof, so if you begin your list correctly, you will get more input. Some engagement brings more engagement. Beware you cannot multiply by zero.
Being successful is a gently act of coaxing and persistence. Be seen to be trying. Share your successes and be über inclusive.
Since joining Listly I’ve talked to many people and contributed to many unique projects. I find myself reiterating a basic list of tips and tricks. So when I was imparting this accumulated wisdom on Denise Wakeman she asked me if I had a blog post on “How to Run a Contest on Your Blog”.
I didn’t. So I’m now fixing that with this post.
Here’s three examples of contests or submissions via Listly. They are worth exploring.
- GSummit – by Gamification Author Gabe Zicherman – > 65k views in 10 days via 6 lists
- BizTech Magazine > Blog Contest > Almost 10k views and 800+ curators.
- The Nines > Crowdsourcing Speakers > 2010, 2011 & 2012 > 100k+ view 5k+ curators.
Here’s my list of 21 tips on how to create and manage and curate a crowdsourced contest. Feel free to vote on them and suggest new ones. I’m always learning and so should you. What works one month may not work the next.
If you work to understand motivation you always refresh your tactics over time.
- crowd rank
Don't be afraid to change it or test the response for different names.
Jon Morrow offers a great free resource to help you create interesting titles
Follow the link on the this item's title.
Celebrate your successes
Thank people who add stuff
Share the stuff they add
Show people you are making progress
Follow this check list to utilize all of Listly's features
Add a Headline Image
Embed your list on your blog
Make sure you have a publisher key
Make sure you install our Wordpress plugin
Add a Credit URL back to your blog post
Don't add more than three items.
Too many items makes it look like you don't need help. If you add to many items you make it harder for the average person to contribute. When people see many people contributing, they will make more effort to identify and share their ideas for your list.
Encourage people to embed you list
Show them how
Don't assume people know what they are doing
Assume they are busy and distracted
Don't add someone else's content
Ask them to do it
It's important to show that other people are helping
Begin by Participating on Listly
Vote & Comment
Add to other people's lists
Embed somebody else's list in your blog
Promote somebody else's content
It's much easier to be effective when you have not need to succeed
Use @mentions in the Item Titles
Share each item as you add it
Share the items other people add
Don't be afraid to call out people to celebrate their inclusion.
Leave People Room to Contribute
Leave of Pele, George Best and Beckham from a Top Soccer PLayer List.
Create an incomplete list by design. Keep it short and make obvious omissions. Leave people space to contribute
Set Clear Expectations
If you want 50 items then say so. Is you need help then ask for it. Ask in your blog post. Ask in the list title. Ask every chance you get.
Tell people about why you need help. Share the goals and vision for your project. Keep it short and if you can make it visual.
PS There’s two live contest running right now
Go check them out. Try voting. That’s the place to begin.
You will not succeed unless to begin by watching and particpating. It’s now different the blog commenting. You start by reading and them commenting and then when your blog you may well get some comments back
Any thoughts? What have you tried? What’s not worked for you?
Image Credit: opensourceway via Flickr and Creative Commons