Do you enter competitions online?
Competitions are often used by blogs to build up their audience, and savvy bloggers know that competitions can build traffic and also increase followers on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Brands too know that the right competition can attract traffic to a particular website, or perhaps drive awareness of a brand among potential customers.
But in recent months, competitions on blogs have begun to change. And Laura from LittleStuff argues it’s not necessarily for the better.
I’ve noticed in recent months that some clever, blog-savvy companies have been contacting blogs, offering a prize in return for hosting a competition. The prize is a good one, and the blog hosting the competition will likely see an increase in traffic and links from Twitter etc from people entering the comp.
But a condition of entry is that the entrants need to write a blog post for their entry and their entry MUST include a link to the company promoting the competition.
Simple, perhaps, but it does throw rather a new light on the whole competition principle.
Most bloggers are familiar with the idea of sponsored posts and paid links. Companies need you, and not just for word-of-mouth marketing. They want valuable anchor text – when you make the word “pink slippers” into a link to a particular website, you’re telling Mr Google that the site you’re linking to has something important to say about pink slippers.
So, when you post that link on your blog, the company pays you for the space – typically somewhere between £50 and £100.
As bloggers, we’re comfortable with this concept. But the link-to-enter a competition model works rather differently. One blog runs the competition and perhaps earns a fee in exchange for posting and hosting the comp.
But everyone else effectively offers up their links for free and the company effectively gains a whole raft of completely FREE sponsored posts, each including a lovely anchor link to their site. As one blogger recently commented to me – why would a company pay £1,000 to buy 10 sponsored posts, when for £100 plus a £100 voucher, they can get 50 posts?
You can’t blame the company – but I would suggest bloggers think carefully before accepting a fee for this kind of competition, or entering one. Think about the value of what the company is getting for the competition, and ask yourself: is this worth my while?
As a competition host, you might consider charging more for this kind of post – remember, you’re limiting entry to ONLY other bloggers, so you won’t get the same sort of traffic/comments you’d get for an open competition. A higher fee might be compensation for this. You could maybe offer a tiered fee – an up front fee, and a bonus if you gain more than 30 entrants, for instance.
As for competition entrants, consider how much time and effort entry will take, and whether the prize being offered is worth a link on your blog. The Tots100 recently ran a competition asking entrants to blog for a chance to win a family holiday overseas with up to £500 in travel expenses – but some competitions of this nature are offering prizes worth between £50 and £100.
If enough bloggers begin to understand their own worth, stand up and say ‘we are worth MORE” then PR agencies have to start paying attention. Obviously, not all blogs are equal and there is a limit to what individual blogs can charge. But if we all start to think about the value of what we’re doing to the brands involved, things might change for the better.
What do you think? Do you enter competitions that require a blog post entry? Does it make a difference if a competition entry also asks for a link?