Thinking about Thursday
Even before the grand announcement from Facebook and Twitter that they are banning contests, I had been thinking about blog contest and their effectiveness.
Ashley March has a great post that lays out the new Facebook rules in plain English. Grace Burrows also had some terrific points about why these new terms may not be as catastrophic as some authors believe.
But, I have been thinking about blog contests in a different way. Basically, what is the purpose and are they effective?
If you follow/leave a comment on a blog, "like" a page or retweet a link for the purposes of entering a contest, when the contest is over, do you become an active member of that page or is it just another name on your Google reader?
If you have held a contest on your blog, did you find it significantly increased your traffic in the long-term or only for the duration of the contest?
What prizes do blog readers prefer? Free books? Critiques? Small gifts?
Please understand, I am not knocking contests. I am genuinely curious if the contests are an effective tool ?
What do you think?
From a contest enterer (is that a word? lol) point of view, they're pretty ineffectual. If a blog is holding a contest for something I think would be neat to try for, I leave my comment then never go back.
I'm of two minds about Twitter banning contests. On the one hand I think they're fun if the contest holder is creative. And I've won one before. Tweeps I followed for the contest usually stay on my feed. The down side is the spam. I have a very low tolerance for feed spamming about anything, so in that regard, I'm glad contests are banned.
I tried holding a blog contest one time, but I have so few followers, I only got one "entry". lol Next day I wore my "Nobody reads my blog." tee shirt. hehehe
I have started following quite a few blogs because I entered a contest there, and many I still follow (and actually read daily). Many I ignore.
I think they're a good tool, myself. I'm sure it increases followership, and for a blogger, is a good way to see if anyone is reading you and paying attention. But blogs are like books: You might read one book by an author, but if it doesn't hook you, you won't go back.
A few of my favorite blogs hold regular contests, but I don't always enter them...many others that I read regularly don't do contests at all. I read a blog because I connect on some level with the blogger.
And that is all I have to say about that.
I've held a couple of contests but more to help promote other authors. I don't like the feeling that I'm bribing the general public just to get my followers up. I'd rather earn them b/c of word of mouth. But they hold their purposes. I don't enter the ones that make you do like twenty different things to enter. I'll comment and tweet. That's about it. That's why I don't do a lot of blogfests either.
Thanks for the great comments, Ladies.
I agree some contest are better than others, like Miss Snark's First Victim, is great and I enjoy her contests.
Others, seem very much aimed at only raising their numbers, which made me curious if after numbers were raised if those people return to the blog or not.
I totally think you have to develop a connection with the blogger. That is the most important element.
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