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When Is A Blog Contest Not A Blog Contest?

When is a blog contest not a blog contest?

Blog challenges and blog contests – they’re the same thing right?

Yes but no.

Are you confused?

First let me thank Janet Brent for this awesome question in the comments of Blog Challenges…Lessons Learned.

Now let me explain. Here is how I define blog challenges:

A blog challenge is an event that requires bloggers to complete a set activity or goal before the end. Blog challenges have a host and/or moderators that lead participants through the process and encourage community strengthening.

What does that actually mean?

First, blog challenges run for a finite period or at a regular interval. This might mean completing a set task every day for a week/fortnight/month or it could be a task completed on a predetermined day each week.

For example, during the London Olympic blogging challenge I set a specific task each day for the fortnight. Alternatively, Tina Gray’s My Week According To Instagram is published and linked to each Sunday.

The role of the host and/or moderators is to support every participant to reach the desired result including motivating and sharing expertise. In addition to increasing loyalty and support for their own brand, the host should encourage participants to get behind each other throughout the process.

By comparison blog contests tend to focus on short term incentive. The aim is usually to collect email addresses and social shares through entries, leading to increased blog subscriber numbers in turn.

Don’t think this is cheap or tacky.

A fun, fair blog contest is a fabulous opportunity to raise awareness of your blog and reward one of your supporters.

This challenge however is that although the blogger might be aiming to build long term relationships this generally doesn’t occur during the contest. You need to form and strengthen your community of readers after the contest ends.

Contest entrants will not be as committed to your vision than blog challenge participants. A percentage of entrants will simply be seeking a freebie rather than valuing your efforts. There’s also a risk that any prize will be won by someone who has no intention of returning rather than a loyal supporter.

Blog contests compared with blog challenges

Blog challenge or blog contest?

Both options have their place. The key is to identify your goals prior to choosing a format. If you are looking for a quick traffic boost with little time and effort required a blog contest is the way to go. Alternatively, community strengthening and group achievement is better pursued with a blog challenge.

Do you agree? Is this how you would differentiate? Please share your thoughts below!

Have you considered hosting a blog challenge but aren’t sure how to go about it? Let Marissa and I help you. Check out How To Host A Swingin’ Blog Challenge! Discount and bonus report offer ends 2nd January 2013.

Pic Source:  Tsahi Levent-Levi

10 Responses to When Is A Blog Contest Not A Blog Contest?

  1. Thanks for the distinctions between the two. I’m much more clear on it now. And I’m so glad my question warranted another blog post!

    It would seem that contests are like the ‘one hit wonders’ whereas blog challenges focus more on building a connection, relationship, and long term gain. Sounds great to me!!

  2. Great descriptions, Caylie. I never really thought that much about the difference, but you listed some very good points for doing one or the other. I’m starting something over at my own blog, but it’s a bit more of a personal challenge than anything. I suppose it won’t really lead me to the benefits of either of the two you mentioned, but hopefully people will still want to come see my art! 🙂

  3. I rather the blog challenge over the contest. I have done contests for some years now. They do bring in traffic, but not return traffic. I have not hosted at all, I do however like to join more. Let me know when and where to find such challenges and I can join in.

  4. I always thought a contest was something you did as a one off where a prize was involved – maybe that’s just the writing contests I’ve entered where I write a post on a topic and they are judged. A challenge is not judged & something to participate in 🙂

  5. Hi ladies,
    I think you’ve defined the differences much better than I did. Love the clarity of your definitions.
    Best wishes Kim with your personal challenge. It’s a brilliant idea!
    Marilyn, there are five blog challenge case studies in the ebook but we plan to start reviewing one a month at shortly as well. Ultimate Blog Challenge started yesterday so it’s definitely not too late to join in. Register at
    Thanks again for your comments! All the best for 2013!

  6. Actually I think there are even instances of challenge contests! These are much better to me than the one-hit wonder contests too because they provide some measurement of growth involved. The best example I can think of is Joel Runyon’s latest fitness contest. Pretty nice prices include vibram shoes but you have to follow his exercise program and take before and after shots!

    • Hi Janet,
      Thanks for adding so much to this post! From my humble perspective I believe challenges are about achieving personal bests and supporting each other over time (this might include prizes). To me contests can be much more you versus me.

  7. I agree with your point that blog entries and blog challenges both have their place. It’s really about knowing when to use them. But yes, blog challenges are more relationship-building since they require more effort and engagement from the reader.

    • Hi Claire,
      I completely agree with your comment. You need to know your readers’ needs and your goals then choose the option that will work best for both parties.
      Thanks for visiting!

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