What is a blog challenge?
That’s where a group of people commit to writing a blog post each day, usually for a fixed period such as 30 days, and publishing it to their blog.
Why would you want to be in a blog challenge?
Primarily there are two key reasons people participate in blog challenges.
- They want to increase their writing output. Perhaps they need the discipline of writing every day to build the habit of regular writing. Maybe they have a blog which needs populating and they are inclined to not write to the blog often enough.
- They want to generate some traffic to their site. In my experience this definitely works and if you have a great blog with captivating, useful content then you can actually build a good blog following using this method. More often than not though the traffic dwindles when you cease to participate in the blog challenge.
What are the rules for being in a challenge?
Each Challenge sets its own rules but usually things like no adult X-rated content, no pure pitch type posts, must include reasonable amount of text if a video or image post, things like that. Make sure you read the rules for any Challenge you join.
A common rule is that as a participant you visit other challengers blogs and comment on their post for the day. Often you comment on the two posts above yours in the posting thread but this can vary according to the rules of the specific challenge.
How does Commenting work?
The purpose of commenting is twofold:
- It’s a quid-pro-quo. You comment on someones’ post; they comment on someone else’s and everyone gets traffic to their site.
- It builds community. Over the course of the challenge you get to know some of the people in the challenge through the commenting process.
- By leaving a comment you are building a link back to your own site while the blog owner gets outbound links so helping both blogger and commentators SEO efforts.
The downside of allowing commenting is that it allows the potential for spam comments, not from the challengers but from bots and spam posters.
To combat this, some blogs install a commenting tool.
Enable commenting when in a Challenge
Here’s why I believe you should turn these tools OFF when you participate in a challenge.
1. The tool may force commentators to login to a third-party service such as WordPress, Disqus, TypePad etc.
That certainly cuts out the bots and spammers. But it also frustrates genuine readers. This means that to comment you have to hold your comment publishing by logging in to the third party site so that you can leave your comment. This takes extra time and when you are in a couple of challenges – you have to find your log in details, load them and that extra step or two can be very annoying as well as interrupt your commenting flow.
2. The tool may not enable a reader to comment at all but require a share on social media only.
That is great for the blog owner as they generate a bunch of extra links to their blog post however for the commentators there is no quid-pro-quo. The benefit is one way in the bloggers favor. That method doesn’t build community. It also doesn’t give the blog owner any extra feedback from comments which might be very useful as idea starters for other posts or even to use as testimonials.
Blog Challenges are set up as reciprocal systems. If you make it hard for people to comment or prevent them from commenting but only promote your post then that impacts the rule of reciprocity.
If people enjoy your post quite often they will share anyway so why not give people the option?
For Blog Challenges one of the best plugins is CommentLuv as it not only enables commenting but provides an automatic link to the commentators last post. Very friendly for fellow challengers and encourages commenting beyond the required two.
Once you stop participating in a Challenge simply switch back on your usual comment tool.
How do you get in to a challenge?
Simply find one and ask to join.
One of the most genuine Challenges I have been in is Bonnie Gean’s Article Writing Challenge. Don’t let the name fool you – most write blog posts but you can write anything so long as you do it consistently!
I’ve joined a couple of other Challenges but the participation rate is so large I don’t seem to have connected with many – they are more like a kiss and run event! With Bonnie’s Challenge I’ve made great connections with most of the regulars. If you’re after a friendly and supportive smaller Challenge group head there!
If you do an internet search for Blog Challenge or Writing Challenge or similar you will find quite a few. Most, like Bonnie’s, are free so if you like one that is paid make sure you get lots of extra value beyond what you’d get in a free Challenge.