How To Organize A Successful Blog Contest

Since I have my own blog about contest for the last year, I started to slowly write this post on how to organize a successful blog contest. I see all kinds of methods, good or bad, being used. Some methods could even be very negative to a blog's traffic. I will write about each points and btw, they are not in any specific order.

1. Don't game the system

Don't ask people to Stumble, Digg or anything like that. In most cases, it goes against the Terms Of Service (TOS) and your blog could be banned. If banned, don't count on getting traffic from those.

2. Keep it short

Make it last for 2 weeks maximum. If it's too long(1 month), a lot of readers will not participate or forget about it thinking they have the time. You can always do another post to remained people it's still on 2-3 days before it end's.

3. Make it simple

No matter the value of the prizes, most are lazy or lack the time to participate. You can go with the more tickets per task method. This way, the longer tasks are more worthwhile to do and everyone has at least one chance. 1 - Subscribe to RSS by email 25 - Make a post about the contest 50+ - Make a video about the contest

4. Give back to sponsors

One simple way is to let bloggers post about the contest itself by listing all the sponsors at that time. Also, don't demand a minimum of words for that post. If you demand something more, do give extra tickets.

5. Don't "force" RSS subscribing by email

Yes, it does make it easier to contact the winners but It does not mean that you can't give 1 ticket to subscribe to the RSS feed by email. A person might still like to get the RSS feed via a reader. The same person can always make a post while losing 1 ticket. After the contest, most readers will simply unsubscribed giving you a false sense of new readers. If you want them to stay because of your content and not for the contest, have some content ideals in mind.

6. Have an end date

Don't over extend the contest unless you have a good reason. You may had been sick or had family reasons and people will understand that. Not enough participants is not a good reasons.

7. Promote The Contest

You should promote the contest to contest blogs. Be aware that most are doing it for free and are not full time. So, the contest might appeared a few days later. Make sure that the contest is already active/visible. Depending on the value of your contest, you could make a small donations or pay a fee to promote it better. I discovered that many contest blogs are now "dead". I started with a old list of 22 blogs and ended with 10 blogs that were still around. I added 7 more. The list below are blogs that made a contest post since June 2008. Being summer, some might be away on vacation. In the Contest blog only category or Also, use forums(Matthew) to promote contest.

8. Give the prize

Some were giving big prizes but failed to deliver them or something "fishy" occurred when the winner was announced. Your reputation will suffer so don't be tempted to give it to your friend.

9. Contact the sponsors

If you go with sponsors, you should contact the sponsors ahead of time like 2-3 weeks before the contest start. Some might take longer than others to reply to you depending if it's a company or another blogger. Btw, I'm sponsoring contests via

10. Don't have too many sponsors

Having too many sponsors will diminish the benefice for every sponsors. When contacting them, tell them you have limited spots(10-12) to maximize their exposure. Also, give them some info like readers(RSS), type of blog, type of contest...The sponsor might give more prizes depending on those numbers. If you did a previous contest, link it to them if it was successful.

11. Contact the winners/sponsors

When the winners are picked, contact the winner and the sponsor of the prize since you have the email. For example, I won but was required to claimed my prize in the comments of the new post about the winners. Unfortunately, my email was Askimet(bad luck) so could not claimed it. Also, a company might have forgotten about your contest. Write a simple template to make it easy for you and them.
Subject: blog name Contest Prize Winner's Message: Hi, You participated or was a sponsor in this contest below: Contest: URL here Contest's winner's post: URL here Prize: The prize description The winner(email here) won that prize. The sponsor(email here) will contact you about the prize soon. Thank you both for participating in my contest. Your name here

12. Use the comments

Once the person did the task(s), tell them to leave a comment in the contest post with the task(s) performed. Backlinks might failed and it's simpler for you to track what they did. Think of it as a backup for both you and the participant. Plus, if the person did not subscribe to the RSS by email, you will get their email.

13. Link to winners

When you do the winner's post, link to the blog if it's a blogger that won a prize. Don't publish the email of the winner. Yes, I even saw that. Example: Prize A was won by URL here Prize A [URL here] I mentioned this because the winner of a prize I gave recently had the same name of a blog that I knew. It was not the same person.

14. Be fair(Enkay)

Be fair with contestants by applying the rules for all. I once had to change the rules in one of my first big contest but I was fair in the way I did it. Nobody cried over it.


The ideal is to make the whole process fun, easier and give a good return for all involved. Edit 2008-08-28: Added 2 new contest blogs
Keywords: bad, Contest, Contest, good, prize, sponsor, tips, Traffic



For some, a contest is fun to do, a way to give back to readers and build a community too. Also, it's a good way to get notice by others.

Thanks Steve, I get your point.

stumbled, great post, it's similar to my


Yeah definitely, Im finding it harder to promote my contest and it has some great prizes.

Great post. And thanks for mentioning ABC!

No problem since your blog is not dead ;)

[...] bloggers, like Steve McGrath, aiming at rankings, visits picks, in one word competition more about writing “how to” [...]

Please add my blog to your list.

Great post - I'm running a contest right now if you want to check it out. Giving away a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor Classics Basketball Shoes. One week contest, Create a Caption. Thanks for the hints!

Thanks for mentioning SYC. Sorry for a late reply.

Hi my friend! I wish to say that this post is amazing, nice written and include approximately all important infos. I’d like to see more posts like this .


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