#HLSBlogChallenge Recap

by Heather on September 4, 2012

in 2012 Recaps

From the Healthy Living Summit Site:

Hosting a Virtual Challenge: Should you do it and how?

Are you looking to engage more with your readers? To grow your audience? To attract brand attention? Hosting a virtual challenge is one way to accomplish all three of these objectives if you invest your time wisely. Amanda Brooks will provide tips from her journey in hosting numerous online challenges for thousands of readers with prizes totaling over 10K.  Find out if this marketing tool could work for you!

MAJOR TAKEAWAYS FROM #HLSBLOGCHALLENGE:

  • DSCF6787Benefits to hosting challenges:
    • deepens your relationships with brands and readers
    • gives you an opportunity to participate in something you want to challenge yourself with – planning a challenge based on that gives you built in accountability to make it happen!
    • grow your readership
    • opportunities to grow your blog as a business
    • expands your social media following and content
    • share your passion with others through challenge
  • Drawbacks to hosting challenges:
    • challenges are extremely time intensive. creating content, planning, answering questions, and arranging prizes all take time!
    • challenges can take up blog real estate – you may be missing out on other content you want to post
    • can be expensive
  • Buy your own domain name. It makes it easy for people to remember your website, which makes them more likely to participate in your challenges.
  • Design a button for your challenge.  Make sure it has a design that other bloggers and participants will like and want to share with their own readers and followers.

DSCF6785

  • Stay connected with participants. Use a hashtag in your challenge for staying in touch on Twitter and Instagram.
    • Remember, you have a responsibility to keep things private if you’ve collected email addresses for your challenge.
    • Tools to make it easier: HooteSuite and TweetDeck allow you to follow hashtags on Twitter.  Statigram makes commenting on other people’s photos a breeze.
    • Pinterest: to see what has been pinned from your site, type the following in the address bar: pinterest.com/source/yourblog.com
    • Mail Chimp is a good service for sending out newsletters and reminders to participants.
  • Ask others for help. Ask other bloggers and health professionals to help you execute a great challenge. Consider asking for guest posts from those qualified to share on your challenge’s topic.
  • How will people participate in your challenge? There are several ways to track activity:
    • Google Docs are a great tool.
    • Progress picture submissions
    • Social Workout is a site that easily shows comparison which can lead to heightened participation and competition.
  • Rewards are key to a rise in participation.
    • Make a list of what products you use most often.  Reach out to these companies asking for partnership in hosting your challenge.
    • Look at your contacts: professional and personal!  Who do you know [friends, neighbors, other bloggers!] who has a product or service which would make a great reward prize for your challenge winners.
    • What companies are blogger friendly who may be interested in partnering in a unique way?
    • Remember, brands WANT to connect with bloggers.  Bloggers are powerful! Don’t be afraid to ask!
    • People like nut butter, clothing, higher ticket items and good coupons, when it comes to prizes.
    • When reaching out asking for donations for your challenge rewards, keep your email short and sweet.  Two or three sentences about who you are, and how your challenge will benefit them – the different ways you will promote them.
    • Create a disclosure policy and post it on your challenge content.  Give people a specific amount of time to claim the prize.

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  • Other helpful tools Amanda mentioned:
    • BeFunky.com
    • PicMonkey.com
    • SnagIt
    • Join.me
    • Bit.ly
    • Google Analytic
    • Framtastic
    • Label Box

 

FAVORITE TWEETS FROM #HLSBLOGCHALLENGE:

From 2010 to 2011, the Bootie Buster challenge went from 200 to 820! HUGE! Buy your domain, create a good logo. #HLSblogchallenge

I did! 30 day yoga..so much fun! RT @: Monthly challenges? Who does them? #HLSblogchallenge #HLS12 I would love to try them!
@SweetToothCourt
Courtney Horan

.@ Your #virtualgames challenge is being talked about right now at #HLS12 as a great example! #HLSblogchallenge

Lesson from #hlsblogchallenge : Share the workload when you host virtual challenges & work w/ another blogger + find guest bloggers! #hls12
@IamCre8tiveSoul
Erin Madore

sending emails helps keep readers on track! #hls12 #hlsblogchallenge using your own hashtag for things also works SO well!

It's easier stay committed to a challenge when you know other people are doing it with you! #HLSblogchallenge

HELPFUL TOOLS! http://t.co/0f4tgP41, http://t.co/DwRDACCT, Join.me, Bit.ly, Google Analytic, Framtastic, Label Box #HLS12 #HLSblogchallenge

Use Google Doc form to help with a great challenge! It can dump it into a spreadsheet for you! #HLS2012 #HLSblogchallenge

http://t.co/BB3r46Vh looks like an amazing tool to help do blog challenges!! #HLS12 #HLSblogchallenge it works as a great promotional tool!

When contacting companies for prizes, give an intro, how you'll promote, and make sure they know what's in it for THEM! #HLSblogchallenge

At the end of a challenge, make sure to get feedback from your readers!! Do a poll or survey. #HLSblogchallenge #HLS12

 

OTHER RECAPS OF THIS SESSION FROM AROUND THE WEB:
A Dash of Meg: Hosting a Virtual Challenge
It’s a Harley Life: #HLSBlogChallenge
The Wannabe Foodie: #HLSBlogChallenge Live Blog

ABOUT AMANDA:

Amanda is a passionate runner and writer, who started sharing her passion online five years ago with the popular healthy living blog RunToTheFinish.com. On Run to the Finish, Amanda provides tips, challenges, motivation and life experiences to show a healthy mind, body, spirit can be fun!

Follow Amanda on Twitter: @RuntotheFinish

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