Hosting a Contest for Link Building and Buzz

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Most of link building / linkbaiting techniques are used so often that they lost their effectiveness long ago. Unfortunately, hosting a contest is one such technique: that has become a common fashion to create a contest for the sake of creating a contest without much thinking behind it.

However the tactic may be still effective when done right. Your contest may be rather successful:

  • if you are popular enough to get enough attention for your contest boost;
  • if you are creative enough to earn the attention you deserve;
  • if you have carefully planned your contest.

MGH Word of Mouth blog lists very good points to consider when planning a good contest:

  • Take time to consider the users’ motivation. Why would anyone enter the contest? Would you join it? User’s motivation may vary:
    • An established / well-known brand can be a good motivation in itself. People might want to enter your contest just because they care about you and your company.
    • Valuable prizes are the strongest incentive for people to join any contest. Making sure the prizes are relevant to the society group your contest is targeting is also very important. I would probably never care to take part if the prize is “How to quit smoking” guide, no matter how popular it might be among people who smoke and want to quit.
    • Innovative idea / creative approach is the great motivation too. If you offer something completely new and exciting, people will be eager to join.
  • Longevity: the “golden medal” approach is of high importance here:
    • a contest should not last too long (people will lose any interest in it);
    • a contest should not be too short (as many people might hear about that when it’s too late; this will trigger nothing but overall irritation and disappointment);
    • a contest should be “strong enough to withstand the test of time“: even when it’s over, the buzz should go on (brainstorm some unexpected result: give away some funny prizes; praise most active participants; etc).
  • Take care about the buzz: carefully think where you will be promoting your contest to foster word of mouth campaign.
    • Go there where your readers / customers interact,
    • Take care to get ready for your customers properly: think over the contest pre-launch campaign. Create positive expectations, etc.
Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty

Brand amd Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas
Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann's expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing,... Read Full Bio
Ann Smarty
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  • Louis Liem

    Your readers will love you more by saving them the hassle of contacting the sponsor themselves to fetch their prize.

    • yana k

      the challenging part about hosting a contest is the promotion. I would spend a lot of time and money to research those possibilities first

  • Bloggeries

    Agreed! Most are just to artificially inflate RSS subscribers, to get link backs etc… I’m thinking of running one soon and will keep this in mind…

    I just want buzz so no link back required and giving away something great.

    Good read!

  • Deep Arora

    I agree with you that contests and other strategies that help build traffic into the site NEEDS to be well and clearly thought of. I would always advise clients that specific objectives need to be set so that targets are clearly defined and strategies clearly set.

    It is so easy to create a contest with “creating a contest” as the end of all. It is a pity that after such a successful, if at all successful contest, is performed, the adrenalin/drive to pursue banging the door is lost in oblivion.

    A great question is ok… sooo what’s next after that? and after that … and after that?

  • Dante Monteverde

    Thanks for the post Ann,

    Very timely, as I am launching a contest for a client next week.

    However we are doing a “video” contest where we invite participants to create a commercial and post it on YouTube. Whoever gets the most views wins.

    So it’s more branding/exposure for the client but hopefully a great linkbaiting tool as well. As we hope to create a “buzz” and have people write about and link to the website in addition to create online videos

    Has anyone else done a similar video contest? Any tips?


  • felix

    i think the prizes and partnerships with relevant pages are important.

  • Roy Scribner

    I’m trying my first contest right now – I agree with Bloggeries, though, it makes sense to do it for promotional “buzz”, but some I’ve seen go way overboard on the links and social media posts. It should be a complement to good promotional practices, not a replacement, IMO.

  • Software Testing Training

    Thanks for Article……

    Good Article Writing

    Software Testing Training

    Our Software Testing Partner

  • Kaila S | Boost Your Juice

    I agree, contests are a great way to help build links. We are running a contest right now, check it out if you are interested in boosting your juice!

  • yana k

    the challenging part about hosting a contest is the promotion. I would spend a lot of time and money to research those possibilities first