Blog carnivals might bring to mind lion tamers, elephants, and pink popcorn balls, but in actuality, they’re pretty tame. In a nutshell, a blog carnival is a group of blog postings on a particular theme.
Blog Carnivals typically collect together links pointing to blog articles on a particular topic. As bloggers we love to write and to connect to our readers —by hosting a blog carnival it gives us and opportunity to increase traffic.
Case Study: Melanie Neslon, Bloggy Giveaways.com
Melanie Nelson hosted a blog carnival, called Bloggy Giveaways.com. This event was held on a quarterly basis. She invited other bloggers to host giveaways at their own sites. Melanie’s site, Bloggy Giveaways.com became the central blog to host a list of links to blogs with other giveaways. People could find everything in one place and did not get lost going from one blog to another.
That carnival regularly generated over 1,000 links and traffic increased by 300% during carnival weeks.
Numerous website owners and bloggers post content on that topic at a particular time – usually the same day of the week – and include links to each other’s posts, or to the blog carnival host. It’s an easy and fun way to share traffic and develop relationships with like-minded bloggers and business owners.
You can leverage yourself through dozens of other bloggers in your genre. Greg Mc Farlane, who hosts a blog, Control Your Cash also hosts the weekly Carnival of Wealth. The Carnival of Wealth goes live around 2 pm (GMT) every Monday and features bloggers from four continents.
You have two options you can either host your own blog carnival or you can just participate in one. The key to hosting a carnival is having an idea that people are going to be attracted to and want to be involved. A great example of this, is the Virtual Potluck, which is a unique idea and people want to be a part of. Everyone loves a great party, food, drinks and conversation. Why not have a party on-line? Where food bloggers our linked together and share their love of cooking, eating and sharing.
Hosting Your Own. It’s very simple to organize your own blog carnival; you simply pick a day and theme, and publicize it through your normal social media channels, inviting others to take part and explaining the concept to them. Sometimes the themes are very narrow (“30-Minute Recipes” or “Social Media Horror Stories”) or broad. You can make your carnival open (anyone can participate) or closed (only people you invite can join in). Typically, participants include a link at the bottom of their post, linking back to the hosting blog so readers can find the rest of the posts in the carnival.
The hosts selects a date that suits them (popular carnivals schedule their hosts for months in advance). In the period leading up their scheduled date, they collect submissions from bloggers, and organize them into a single article chalk-full of links, often with their own comments. This article is published on the scheduled date, and everyone leaves comments on their blog telling them what a great job they did.
When hosting a blog carnival, you may want to use a free linking tool such as LinkyTools (http://www.linkytools.com/) or MrLinky (http://www.misterlinky.net/) that will allow participants to easily add themselves and their posts to your carnival link list.
If your blog carnival goes well, you might choose to make it a regular event, occurring every first Monday of the month, or even more frequently. If it becomes a regular event, you might consider creating a blog button that participants can add to their site
for more visibility.
Joining in the Fun. If you’d rather test out a few carnivals before you start hosting, you can find lists of carnivals by topic on a number of sites, including BlogCarnival.com and BlogCarnivalDirectory.com. Or google “blog carnival YOUR NICHE,” such as, “blog carnival parenting,” for a list of individual carnival opportunities. To be a good participant and get the biggest results from your efforts, here are a few tips:
1. Stick to the guidelines. Read the theme and deadline information carefully to make sure you’re meeting all the requirements, including the links you must include at the bottom of your post. Participants can be rejected from carnivals, and you don’t want to spend a few hours creating a perfect blog post, only to find you didn’t follow the directions!
2. Think about your title. Some blog carnivals have dozens of submissions, and you want yours to stand out. Usually, the list of participants includes only your blog name and post name, so an evocative, descriptive title will get you more readers.
3. Do your best work. Your carnival submission may be the one and only time some visitors may be introduced to you, so show your stuff. Don’t toss off a half-baked post unless you want half-baked results. First impressions count!
4. Thank the organizer. Carnival hosts are not paid, so go out of your way to thank them for their work. A simple email telling them you appreciate their efforts will go a long way towards developing a good relationship with them –which may result in a different partnership further down the road!
Whether it is hosting a carnival or being a participant, in the beginning it can be a lot of work in the embryonic stages but it can help your online business relationships grow and draw more traffic to your website.