The past few weeks have been a sterling illustration of the world of blogger competitions. At least once a day, I’ve received an email asking me to write a blog post as my entry in to a ‘fabulous competition’ in order to be given the chance to win a prize of varying quality.
Now, I like to win things as much as the next person, but there’s a reason why these blogger competitions need to be stopped. A traditional competition that’s open to the wider public is often about profile raising for the brand in question – you might get to win something exciting in exchange for providing your name and email address which they will probably then use to send email marketing to you.
Blogger competitions are really just cheap SEO tactics put into play. Not only does the brand get a whole load of mentions in blog posts that would usually fall into the category of ‘sponsored content’ and which would usually be charged for, but they also get to build up the amount of inbound links coming into their website – a condition of entry to a blogger competition is usually that you have to include a link to a specific link on their site. Again, this is something that brands usually pay for as part of a sponsored post.
Link-building is a part of SEO that’s open to much debate – it used to be that the greater the number of external links you had coming to your site, the more Google would consider it to be trustworthy and important. Now the emphasis is shifting to quality links over quantity, but these old school SEO methods are still in force. If you’ve spent time building up the reach and influence of your blog, do you really want to be passing it on to brands without any kind of reward? I’m not just talking about money – it could be things like social sharing, or a mention on their website. The day Urban Decay shared a link to a review I wrote on their recent mascara, my traffic went up over 10 times what it normally was. I’d consider that a (very) fair trade!
I’m not against people entering these competitions, but if you are going to do it, please have a think about what they are asking you to do and why. Yes, you *might* be in with a chance of winning a wonderful prize, but is it really worth the free coverage and link that you’re being asked to provide? It’s definitely a no from me.
Rant over. What are your thoughts on blogger competitions?