There are several blog challenges throughout the year. Blogtober is over and Blogmas is now here.
Today I’d like to share my tips and thoughts with you on how to plan, survive and complete blogger challenges such as April Blogging from A-Z, Blogtober, Blogoween, Blogmas, NaBloPoMo, 20 Books for Christmas and 20 Books of Summer.
Blog challenges are not just about writing and promoting a series of posts. They are also a great way to meet and follow new bloggers, and introduce each other to new audiences.
Read on to find out:
* more about each event
* ideas of how to plan
* how blogging challenges can benefit your blog
* my tips for completing each blog challenge.
Why am I sharing this now? Because it’s never to early to start planning.
PLAN~ PROMOTE ~ INTERACT
WHAT IS A BLOG CHALLENGE AND WHAT BLOG CHALLENGES ARE THERE?
Blogtober is a blog challenge to post every day during the month of October. Some bloggers follow a theme where everybody writes about the same thing each day, but others choose their own ideas. There are a couple of Facebook groups where you can interact with other bloggers and join in with their link-ups.
Blogoween is the October blog challenge where all your topics are Halloween themed and might include recipes, outfits, crafts, etc. There are numerous Halloween Facebook groups that are active all year around for people who love the season – they are not just exclusive to bloggers.
October also hosts Inktober which is the sharing of an ink drawing for each day during the month.
NaBlogPoMo is the original blog challenge that was started back in 2006. It stands for National Blog Posting Month. There are no rules or themes, just one post a day during the month of November.
NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month held November. It is a writing challenge to encourage and challenge novelists to write 50,000 words and therefore, complete their novel.
Blogmas is a 25 day challenge to produce 25 blog posts leading up to Christmas. It is almost like an online advent calendar. Some people go on to post for the entire month. It is generally Christmas themed but many focus on winter and other celebrations instead.
April Blogging from A-Z
Blogging from A-Z is slightly different. You post every day during the month of April except for Sundays and use the alphabet for your guidance. You write about something beginning with A for 1st April, about something beginning with B for 2nd April, and so on. This challenge was started by Arlee Bird in 2010.
20 Books of Summer
20 Books of Summer is not strictly a blog challenge but participants are encouraged to read and review 20 books during the summer months of June, July and August. Many people blog their book reviews as well as posting to Amazon, Goodreads, etc..
20 Books for Christmas
Following straight on from 20 Books for Summer, 20 Books for Christmas is a reading challenge that I set up in 2019 to take up the next three months. Again you choose 10/15/20 books to read from 1 October to 31 December. The books don’t have to be Christmas themed.
There are also YouTube versions of these blog challenges including Vlogtober and Vlogmas.
HOW TO SOURCE IDEAS AND PLAN AHEAD FOR BLOGGING CHALLENGES
How and where you source inspiration for your blog challenge, will depend on what niche of blog you write. I’m an organised person anyway but I do find that it is a good idea to do as much research and planning as you can before the actual challenge. Remember it’s your blog, your rules. Here are a few ideas:
* Host Prompt
Check if there are any Facebook blog groups for that particular challenge. Sometimes the host will post a schedule of daily prompts in advance that you can follow if you want to.
* Awareness Days
Look at the Awareness Days calendar which covers national and international celebrations and awareness days.
* Writing Prompts
Seek out ideas from previous daily writing prompts on WordPress or Twitter.
* Photo Challenges
Look at prompts for daily or Sunday photo challenges such as photo365, Sunday Sunsets and Silent Sunday. Your blog doesn’t have to be all words. You could just post the photo, or even add a few lines with it. You may even find that you will have enough inspiration to write a full post around that photo.
Print off a lined calendar from Calendarpedia or use an online spreadsheet to work out what post will be scheduled for what day and make a note of any relevant hashtags to use.
* Regular Features
Make use of any weekly features that you already have on your blog. I was running An Afternoon of Tea and Cake for the Soul at the time, which was a series of interviews with other bloggers. I scheduled those in during the challenge month.
* My Blog Challenge Schedules
Look at my Blogtober and Blogmas schedules for ideas. I cover a wide variety of subjects on my blog so I had no shortage of ideas. You will see I have used a selection of awareness days, celebrations, recipes, book reviews, interviews, gift ideas, travel posts and more.
* Repurpose Old Content
Share and link up some of your older posts, especially if you have lots of evergreen content. You don’t have to post something new every day.
* Update Old Content for SEO
If you have been blogging a long time, chances are you will have learned an awful lot over the years. Use this as an opportunity to update some of your very old posts – add new photos, new keywords and interlink with internal posts to improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
* Guest Posts
I have seen some more established bloggers offer guest post slots to fill some of their days. Whilst you wouldn’t be writing on those days, we all know how long it takes to actually publish a blog post. It’s all good practice.
* Find some Blogger Tags
I hadn’t heard of this until 2019 when I joined in with a Halloween Tag. A tag is post where you answer several questions on a theme (eg, books, movies, blogging, Christmas, etc) and then tag a few more bloggers to join in after you. They link back to you in their post and then tag their friends and so on.
It’s an easy post to do as the questions are already set out and you might make some new blogger friends and readers too. Can’t find a tag – then why not start your own?
TIPS FOR COMPLETING BLOG CHALLENGES
I had no problem coming up with ideas for posts, or writing the posts themselves but I did find it far more time consuming than I had anticipated. Of course, you can just share your own content, but much of blog challenges such as Blogtober and Blogmas, are about interacting and helping to promote the blogging community. There are often linkies/link-ups and you can’t expect people to comment or share your posts if you are not prepared to return the favour.
Here are some of my tips for completing blog challenges:
* Write your posts in advance and schedule them to go live during the challenge. By doing this, you only have to concentrate on promoting your posts on social media, adding them to linkies and interacting with other bloggers. I say only but this will still take up a lot of time each day.
* Use hashtags on social media, both to promote your posts and search out other bloggers taking part.
* Make an introductory post with your schedule on the first day – you are more likely to complete something if you’ve said you are going to do it “out loud” or online.
* Join a group for that challenge, other bloggers will cheer you on and boost you up if you say that you are struggling.
HOW A BLOG CHALLENGE CAN BENEFIT YOU AND YOUR BLOG
There is no doubt about it, a blog challenge is hard. You might not be able to complete it and you might be wondering how it can benefit your blog. There are no rules but:
* Don’t just write something for the sake of it
* Make sure it is beneficial to your readers, and to yourself
* Make sure you ENJOY IT!
* You will find new blogs to read
* You will interact with new bloggers
* You might make new friends
* You might learn new blogging skills from others
* You will gain good planning skills
* Your writing skills will improve
* You might gain new readers
* You might gain new social media followers
* You might be able to improve your DA if you are linked to from other blogs with a higher DA.
* You could use it as an opportunity to improve your SEO
* If you blog as a business, you could use it to get to the important 25,000 monthly views for a Mediavine account.
* You will get a sense of achievement when you complete it.
Are there any other blog challenges that I’ve missed?
Have you taken part in any previously, was it beneficial to your blog?
Or do you intend to try one this year?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.