Photo by Mischaleigh
While I don’t have a lot of experience with blog carnivals, when Ana asked me to guest post I couldn’t resist. Considering the recent one I did was literally my very first, I am by no means an expert!
However, I did walk away with some new insights on how things work with a blog carnival, and that’s what I’ll share with you now. Ultimately it can be a great way to generate a bit of buzz and traffic for your blog, as well as expose your blog to new audiences that you wouldn’t normally be a part of.
And the best part is that participating in one doesn’t require any other investment of your time beyond entering your submission.
So let’s get to the nitty gritty.
How a Blog Carnival Works
Basically a blog carnival is just a compilation of posts from different blogs, all geared toward the same topic. Every blog carnival has an owner, or what you might call the organizer that keeps it going from month to month. You can choose to be an owner yourself and register on BlogCarnival.com, or…
You can either participate in a blog carnival as a “host” (or host-ess as I did) or as a submission. Obviously you wouldn’t do both, because the idea as a host is to highlight OTHER bloggers, not yourself.
However if you’re the owner/organizer, you CAN participate in a carnival hosted somewhere other than your own blog. Whew.
If you’re a blog carnival “owner” basically you’re the one in charge. You’re the one that accepts topic ideas for each carnival, you decide how often you want to run a carnival, it’s your job to rope new hosts into helping you out, and it’s your job to help promote it, both to gain submissions as well as when the carnival post goes live.
If you’re a host, you’re basically agreeing to keep track of and manage all submissions, and send responses as to whether those submissions are approved or not. It’s also your job to post about the carnival inviting folks to participate, and promote, promote, promote to get people to submit.
Then it’s your job, once all submissions are in to gather them into a post (sort of like a round up), with preferably a brief paragraph on what the post is about for your readers, and publish it on your blog.
Then you’ll want to share, tweet, and promote that post like mad, to help gain exposure for the folks who submitted. It’s also a great way for you to build your traffic and exposure as well, because generally folks who submitted will share the post with their own audiences. So it ends up being a win/win for all.
If you don’t host and you’re choosing to submit to a carnival, that’s awesome. It’s a great way for you to get a quality one way backlink, as well as exposure to your blog from the host’s audience, and the various readerships of your fellow submitters.
You’ll want to participate in a carnival with a topic that’s somehow relevant to your readers. It wouldn’t make sense to publish a post on your blog about dog training, when your blog is about cat training. And if the carnival calls for a post on dog training, then submitting one about cat training would make the host think you don’t know how to read instructions or think you’re a spammy worm… either perception sucks.
You’d also want to make sure the post you write for submission is well-written. Make it a top quality post because the chance for exposure will be much higher than if it was just a regular post on your blog. It’s not a regular post; this one will be promoted by other people and seen by other people outside of your own community… so you want to make a great impression with your submission.
That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. You can find a much more fancy-pants explanation of a blog carnival here if you’re interested in learning more about how they work. This explanation is recommended by Joella of BlogsWithWings, and if you’re looking to get your toes wet she runs a great monthly blog carnival herself.
BWW is where I popped the proverbial cherry as it were, to host my own blog carnival, and you can’t find better peeps than Joella.
Blog Carnival Odds and Ends
There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re considering getting involved in hosting a blog carnival on your blog, like I did.
1. The main thing is that you will get lots of spam submissions. They will drive you bonkers. Spammers suck, but they’ve found that blog carnivals can be great for building backlinks, and so they attempt to exploit them. So prepare to be blasted with lots of submissions that are crap, irrelevant, or totally off-topic. Simply send a polite message that the topic doesn’t fit, and let them know they are welcome to resubmit a post that fits the guidelines.
2. When you’re promoting and looking for people to participate, don’t be afraid to ask those in your community you like to participate. Even if you feel like they might never in a million years participate in your wee little blog carnival, people often surprise you. And since it takes virtually no extra work on their part, it’s easy to say yes.
3. Don’t be afraid to remind folks who have agreed to participate, if the due date is looming and they still haven’t submitted. People get busy, get sidetracked, etc and often just need a quick little nudge to get their submission in.
And there you have it. Blog carnival shenanigans that can convert into traffic and exposure for your blog. I found that I had an overly complicated view of just what a blog carnival was when I started, so I hope this simple rundown has helped to peel away the blinders a bit, and give you new ideas for generating traffic and exposure to your blog. If you have any questions or comments, I welcome them in the comments section below.
Marketing Takeaway from Ana:
Cori's blog carnival happened to be my first one as well. I was amazed how much traffic my blog got from it and how little I had to do for that – well, just be brilliant in my post, hehe.
My advice – do it! Make sure you find reputable blog carnivals like Joella's of BlogWithWings and submit, submit, submit. Unless that is you've got your traffic generation under control, but then again, you wouldn't be reading my blog in that case, would you?
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