15/10/2014

Rant - blogger competitions

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?
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36 comments

  1. They are awful. Just awful. I blog about this on a regular basis in the hope that just one company will read my blog and back away slowly thinking, don't send her the email, but NO, THE EMAILS KEEP COMING.

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  2. Oh hai,
    Would you like to be part of an advertising campaign where we don't pay you and you may possibly might get the chance to win the product you're talking about in a positive manner?
    Kaitnxbai

    I hate these damn emails, they make me so angry and insult my intelligence!

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  3. I agree with you 100% Kat, I've always felt it was a bit of a cheek from companies and couldn't understand why some bloggers entertain the thought of getting involved. Like you, I love to win prizes but I'd rather an RT or use my email address than an evening of my time writing a blog post.

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    1. Ditto - writing a blog post takes hours and lots of care and attention for what is really a disguised SEO campaign. I'd love to see them stop and just focus on decent blogger relations instead x

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  4. Completely agree, it's so much effort for a 'chance' to win something. And it's not exactly great content for blogs either!

    India / Touchscreens & Beautyqueens

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    1. Very true - i'm not sure how much our readers care about the fact we entered a competition x

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  5. Well said, time & time again you have people preaching from both ends of the scale but this all makes sense. Unless, it is a company I love, respect and want to work with in the future to create opportunities but really, everything you sre saying is on point!
    Rebecca xxx
    www.queenbeady.com

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    1. Absolutely. I love working with brands, but I feel like the opportunities have to be mutually beneficial. Otherwise it's just not a fair exchange of our time x

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  6. I'm right there with you, I outright refuse to take part now, sin e it is just out of date link building, no thanks!

    Georgina
    www.makeup-pixi3.com

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  7. Bookmarking this link to send as future responses. Xx

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    1. I'd love to see what replies you get! x

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  8. Well said! I entered one once and afterwards I thought "what a waste of time" aha! They do need to be stopped, it's really cheeky x

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    1. I've entered one previously and thought exactly the same thing. Never again! x

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  9. No, no, no! I think they're actually a bit demeaning - not only do the brands want the coverage but they want you to jump through hoops for them as well. The only way that these will ever stop is if bloggers stop entering them.

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    1. Very true Jane - I hope over time the blogging community will stop entering them and hopefully then we'll see the ridiculous amount of competition emails start to decline.

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  10. I HATE blogger competitions!!!! I get several emails every week asking me to do this, the thing is, some people will do it so these PR's will continue to ask as they are getting free advertising from out hard work!

    Em

    www.emsmixedbag.com

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    1. So true! I find most of them come via SEO agencies who still think it's a great way to build up links for a client when really it's an out-dated way of trying to raise their profiles x

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  11. I've had lots of emails about competitions recently and anything is being linked to beauty in someway - I've had apartment rental, beds and weddings in the past month! I don't participate but I really hope that these people actually pick and give a prize to a winner, for those that do enter! xx

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    1. Gosh - that's a good variety! I really hope there are some winners out there too x

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  12. I'm no longer doing them, I've done two I think, put hours of effort in and didn't even get a thanks... x

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  13. Well said Kat! I absolutely refuse to do enter these as I don't believe in providing free content to brands just for the "chance" of winning something. Quite frankly, I don't have the time! As some of the other comments have said - it's a lot of effort and often for no thanks whatsoever and this practice needs to stop.

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  14. I tend to respond by thanking them for thinking of me. I then explain to them that I won't be entering and what my terms are and ask them if they might like to work with me in some other way. I think it's fine to enter when you're starting out but when you are established why would you?

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    1. That's a really nice response Hazel - it definitely doesn't hurt to be polite, although I've often found that they never come back to me with 'real' opportunities, most are just in it for the free promotion and link-building x

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  15. I'm glad you said something about this. I can't stand these emails either, and they seem to be on the increase and not going away any time soon! Good to know I'm not the only one that thinks they're a flaming bloody cheek and an insult! I'm with Sheenie - sending this link as a reply in future :)

    Gem x | flutter and sparkle

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    1. They are the bane of blogging! I'd love to see what replies you get (if any) if you do decide to send them this link x

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  16. I'm in two minds about this. On the one hand, it's definitely a cheeky way to build links and increase SEO/publicity for the brand, with no guarantee of 'getting' anything out of it. But, at the same time, I've done a few of these competitions and have actually really enjoyed the challenge of working to the brief to create content I think is engaging and exciting.

    I won't enter for any old rubbish from anyone, but if the theme of the competition is one I feel like I can get creative with and enjoy writing, or it's a brand I'm genuinely interested in, then I'll take part. I'm fully aware of the issues around brands getting free marketing, and make considered decisions when I do want to enter one - but sometimes, I do genuinely enjoy doing them. So as someone who blogs for enjoyment more than anything else, I do personally get something out of the ones I want to do - even if it isn't in a business-minded way (e.g compensation, products or traffic).

    Like you said though, bloggers do need to think about why they're doing them and what they're getting out of it, and weigh up the pros and cons beforehand. And PRs and brands need to stop looking at it as purely free marketing, and think about ways they can devise exciting briefs that entrants who ARE interested can enjoy working on. (And stop spamming people who aren't into them full stop...)

    Milly // Mini Adventures

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