Today I am pleased to bring you a guest post from Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction. Her Wrap-Up Round-Up meme was one of the first I discovered and I have happily participated in each month (I’m actually hosting the April Wrap-Up Giveaway starting on May 8th). I am happy to have her join me for the last guest post for my blogiversary. Nicole is a very interactive blogger and she is always kind and thoughtful. Your choice of a BunnyHell* mini book necklace (INT as long as the shop delivers to your country) is on tap for one lucky winner. Will run April 29 – May 5, so enter via Rafflecopter below. *I am not affiliated with these companies, I just like their stuff.
First of all, I want to wish Laura a very happy blogiversary and to thank her for inviting me to participate in her celebration! AND for providing me with a great topic to write about … a subject that’s very near and dear to my heart – the challenge of running a successful meme or challenge.
Over at Feed Your Fiction Addiction, I run the Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up Link-Up and the Book Blog Discussion Challenge. Both of these have been very rewarding – especially the discussion challenge, which is definitely my proudest accomplishment as a blogger. It’s been a huge success, and better yet, I’ve made so many great connections with bloggers via the challenge!
But what does it take to make a meme or challenge really work? How do you get it started? How do you get people interested in it? And then how do you keep people excited about it so it doesn’t fizzle out?
Well, I don’t claim to be an expert (about anything – trust me, I know my limits), but I’ve definitely learned a thing or two along the way, so I’m happy to share my wisdom!
Come Up with Something Unique!
This seems kind of obvious, but the first step in starting up a meme or challenge is coming up with something unique. If you’re just going to put up another version of Top Ten Tuesday, most likely not many people are going to jump on board. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to make sure that no one anywhere has ever done what you have in mind. You don’t have to scour the internet for any and all posts that might remotely match your meme idea, but you might want to do a quick search to make sure you’re not blatantly unintentionally copying someone else’s idea.
For me, inspiration struck when I saw all the reading challenges that go up at the beginning of the year. I LOVED the sound of all of those challenges, but personally, I wanted to write more discussion posts. It occurred to me that a discussion challenge might be a great inspiration for all of us – and there was nothing out there like it! As Mr. Bigweld says, “See a need, fill a need!”
Don’t Go It Alone.
When I came up with the idea of the Book Blog Discussion Challenge, I was super excited about it, but I knew it might be a bit of an overwhelming undertaking if I did it alone. So, I immediately contacted the fabulous Shannon over at It Starts at Midnight to see if she’d want to co-host with me. Not only does this spread the work and the expense of the giveaways out a bit (we take turns writing the link-up post and hosting the giveaway), but it’s also much more fun to host a challenge with a friend along for the ride! Plus, it’s easier to get the word out when there are two of us promoting it. Speaking of which …
Promote. Promote. Promote.
When I first started the Book Blog Discussion Challenge, I promoted it like crazy. I even paid for a FB ad so that it would show up in people’s feeds (not sure if that actually paid off or not – hard to say, but I DID get a great sign-up response, so some form of my promotion paid off). I was super excited about this new challenge and I wanted people to know about it and join in the fun!
Now, I know this might be a bit controversial because some people aren’t a fan of promoting via giveaways, but I have to say that it works. Never underestimate the power of a giveaway. The fact is that lots of people are drawn in by a giveaway – and people who might otherwise have drifted off and forgotten about your meme or challenge will be more likely to keep linking up if they know there’s a chance they could win something by doing so. Having people tweet as a giveaway entry also helps with promotion. Now, if you’re just not a fan of giveaways, that’s okay – skip this step.
Make It Simple.
Streamline the process of signing up and linking up as much as possible and make sure the link-ups are always easy to find. If you go to my blog, you’ll see buttons for both the Discussion Challenge and the Wrap-Up Round-Up in my sidebar. You can also get to the Discussion Challenge from my menu bar. Every month, I update the main sign-up page with the current month’s link-up so that people always know exactly where to find it. No one should have to hunt for your latest link-up! (This was a huge pet peeve for me with challenges I participated in before I started my own.)
Participate! (And Encourage Interaction)
A meme or challenge only works if it’s interactive. After all, a link-up isn’t all that exciting if no one clicks on the links. That’s why I always try to model participation in my challenges and encourage everyone to do the same. I literally read and comment on every discussion that’s linked up to the discussion challenge. This might be a little extreme, and someday it might just get too overwhelming, but I plan on keeping it up for as long as I can. I LOVE discussion posts, so it’s not like it’s a hardship. I also always create giveaway entries that encourage participation – not just by linking up, but I also give entries for sharing or commenting on other people’s linked up posts. The more I can encourage people to interact with each other, the more fun the challenge is and the more people want to keep up with it! Plus, it’s a great way to build deeper blogger friendships because you interact with your challenge (or meme) participants often!
That’s about it. I hope my advice has been useful! Thanks so much for having me, Laura!
Have you ever hosted a meme or challenge? Would you like to? Feel free to give your own advice or ask questions in the comments!