What you may not have known is that I took over the blogging organisation side to help make this happen this year and we managed to pull it off in a little over 2 weeks.
Not only that but I’m helping out the lovely Mummies Waiting in the background for support for her Christmas Themed blog hop extravaganza #12daysofparenting.
So what do you need to do to run a successful blog hop competition?
What is a Blog Hop Competition?
A blog hop is exactly what it sounds like you hop from blog to blog via links in the post. I am specifically talking about a closed loop blog hop; the links went in the post before they were published and followed a set circular order so you could jump in at any point and, in theory, hop right around the themed posts until you ended back at the post you started with.
The competition element? Each post will hold ways to enter, and you decide on the rules. So for example someone might need to visit at least 10 blog posts and enter on each of them to validate their entry.
Decide on your theme; KBBF was fairly simple, all around breastfeeding for World Breastfeeding Week. The blog post daily themes were set and could be interpreted however you liked, but needed to sit within the title theme.
Next step, get the bloggers on board. A hop isn’t really a hop if it’s only you taking part (though I guess you could do a hop through all your posts). I took to the various Facebook groups that I was in and put out blogger requests, same on Twitter with appropriate hashtags. In the end we had a 135 blog posts written by our bloggers.
So you have the bloggers all lined up and itching to write posts for you. You need to stay organised.
Ways to get organised
Set up a group and invite all your participants. It’s a fast and easy forum to use. Not only that but if someone had a question other people could be around to answer it. Especially helpful when you are in a different time zone.
1. Listing all the bloggers, emails, URLs, Twitter handles and Facebook
2. Listing all the bloggers with what days they had committed to take part in
3. One for each theme day listing each blogger, the order of the hop and their appropriate Rafflecopter code
Email lists were key to keep up with which blogger link was coming in where. As soon as a link came in it went on the spreadsheet ready to go out the day before publishing for the bloggers to add their links.
The Organisation via the Daily Email
2 days before the posts were due to be published I would send out the daily email to all bloggers involved that day. Some days that was 16, some days 30 plus.
Each email contained the following information:
1. The introductory paragraph to theme and links to sponsors.
2. The closing paragraph sending you onto the next blog
3. The branded logos
4. The magic spreadsheet listing the links you needed in the order of the hop and that all important Rafflecopter code.
Once all the Bloggers had everything, posts were set to publish at the same time every day and the fantastic part of having the Facebook group was people were starting to hop round themselves early in the morning listing broken links.
And keep to them. A hop can go wrong if one link is missing or doesn’t get published. Especially a circular one where the reader wants to keep clicking through.
Get a Purpose
Why are you running the blog hop? To raise awareness? For a grand prize? As a promotional tool?
In our case we were promoting positivity in breastfeeding with a grand prize bundle to be won at the end of the week. Which brings with it a whole other set of problems.
Getting a competition going
The Grand Prize
As Karen from Boobie Milk has been running the scavenger hunt for the past few years she sourced the Grand Prize for us and we gave away over £700 of breastfeeding goodies to one lucky winner. I totally recommend pulling in all the favours you can from all the bloggers involved in the hop to utilise their contacts. The bigger the prize the bigger the potential audience.
We had 16,000 entries over the 135 blog posts and this is where it gets tricky.
There is no way to run a multi-blog rafflecopter code despite lobbying Rafflecopter for this. Which means you need to do an individual Rafflecopter for every blog post involved. Then export every entry. Then pick a winner.
So yes. 135 rafflecopter codes were created during this process. This is the biggest time drain and where it helps to be organised.
Promote, Promote, Promote
Facebook. Twitter. Google+. Instagram. Use the Bloggers Network to promote the competition and drive traffic to the hop.
What you don’t want to happen while you’re running the hop….
Your Toddler to stop napping and your baby to wake up from his newborn slumber days…..
And that sums it all up in a nutshell. It was a fantatsic experience, promoting something I am really passionate about Would you run a hop?You can follow our adventures from the sandpit (and beyond) over on Facebook, see you there!