Hold a Competition – Day 13 of 30 days of blog post ideas

Welcome to day 13 of my 30 days of blog post ideas series. Today we focus on WINNING! …

It’s well-known among the brainy scientist types that people are TERRIBLE at estimating odds. They tend to over-estimate the likelihood of good outcomes, and play-down the likelihood of bad outcomes. What all this means for you is that running a competition is a great way to draw in new people – people love entering competitions for free.

It’s not going to win you any new fans – because holding a competition doesn’t really say anything about you, your company, or your blog. But it is a great way to catch people’s interest and once they are on your blog some of them may stick around and read some of your other posts. There is a little trick to increase this conversion rate, which I’ll explain below.

You’ll need some sort of prize for the competition. It may be something you can give away for free, such as a product you make, a service you offer, or some swag that has come your way (E.g. a customer may have given you two tickets to a local ball game). If you don’t have anything you can give, then just go out and buy something. Buy something that will create a desire among the audience you are going after – e.g. don’t offer a tech gadget if your audience is not into tech.

You can play the honesty card and tell them you are trying to increase readership of your blog, and ask them for help in finding new readers by passing along word of the competition to others they may know. You could even go as far getting new readers to enter the name of the person who recommended the blog to them and the person with the most entries (i.e. the person who made the most recommendations) will win the prize.

Launch your competition and ask people leave a note in the comments to enter themselves into the draw. Ask your readers to publicize the competition to others they think might be interested. You can get a bit more out of your audience if you make them work a little to win the prize. Some ideas are:

  • Ask people to comment with the year your company was founded to get them to read up about your company a little
  • Ask people to give an answer, fill in a survey, or take part in a poll, to give you some feedback you’re looking for
  • Set a challenge, or ask a tricky question to get people thinking and engaging a little more. A good example of this is Ann Emery’s Microsoft Excel challenges (although she doesn’t offer a prize other than bragging rights)
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