Benefits of Blogging Challenges
In the years since its inception, the blogosphere has managed to transition from its unfortunate reputation of amateur, grammatically-challenged, narcissistic diary-keeping to a place where writers, chefs, business owners, agents, illustrators, photographers, videographers and creative minds of every type rush to share their expertise. Blogs are chock full of knowledge, personal insight and the camaraderie of built-in support systems, and there are plenty of published professionals to go around.
There are four key components that lead to blogging success:
- quality content
- frequent updates
- blog exposure
- direct interaction with readers
If any one of these components is missing, the blogger is unlikely to maintain the connections and momentum necessary to garner success. While the onus of quality lies entirely on the blogger, the other three components can easily be satisfied by participation in blog challenges.
What is a blog challenge?
There are three primary types of blog challenges that I see:
One Day Blog Hops - a group of bloggers sign up on a "linky list" and agree to post about a particular topic on a designated day and visit fellow blog hoppers.
- Pro: quick, minimally invasive, topic inspires post
- Con: may not develop long-lasting relationships
Hosted Competitions - the host posts a competition on any topic, such as flash fiction or poetry, and awards winner(s) a blog badge or prize, frequent promotions via Twitter
- Pro: Twitter exposure, potential prize-winning, traffic increase to host's page, good writing practice
- Con: can be time-consuming for host to maintain (and expensive if paid prizes), does not significantly increase traffic to competitors' blogs
- Examples: #5MinuteFiction, #MenageMonday, #WeekendWritercize
Sustained Challenges (generally lasting a month) - challenges that encourage a group of bloggers to post a certain number of times in a month, or write a certain number of words.
- Pro: long-lasting relationships, large pool of participants, increased blog content, may improve quality of writing due to regular practice, themed challenges offer inspiration
- Con: large time commitment, participants may lose support and momentum midway without a theme (i.e. 30 posts in 30 days may not be enough to inspire content)
- Examples: A to Z Challenge, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month every November), NaNoRevMo (National Novel Revision Month)