Last Wednesday I wrote a post called How to increase your blog readership: participate in carnivals. Participating in blog carnivals has been very effective for me in reaching new readers and developing a blogging community around my niche. I recommend this process to anyone as a very effective way of also getting new links.
Several people have visited this site and have left questions and comments as a result of Darren Rowse’s project called 31 days to building a better blog. In my original post I didn’t answer the obvious question: “How do you participate in a blog carnival?”
How to participate in a Blog Carnival:
- Search for a carnival appropriate to your blog’s niche. For example, on my blog about bird watching (Trevor’s Birding) I have found several carnivals specifically dealing with birds and birding. A good place to start looking for carnivals in your niche is on the Blog Carnival index.
- Read several issues of the carnival to which you wish to contribute.This is to get a feel for the types of posts people contribute to the carnival.
- Write a post to contribute to the carnival. You can also use an old post from your archives but it should be fairly recent. I prefer posts that are not more than a few days old – or a week or two old at most.
- Send the link to your post to the organizer or host. This can usually be done either by email or via the organizer’s blog home page. Take special note of any deadline date and any special conditions.
- Wait for the Carnival to be published. This can be anything from a day or two up to several weeks, depending on the frequency of the carnival and how close to the deadline you submitted your contribution.
- Read the contributions to the carnival. The carnival hosts can arrange the contributions in any way they wish. It can just be a list of links with no comments. It can be in the form of a story with the links embedded in the text. I have seen some very creative approaches and this is limited only by the host’s imagination.
- Comment. Be sure to comment on the blogs of other participants. This will encourage reciprocal comments on your blog.
- Link. Make links to those blogs you found interesting. In many cases they will link back. Some even list all the links, just like Darren does on ProBlogger.
- Get ready for the next carnival. Most carnivals are held at least monthly, some fortnightly and even weekly. I never prepare posts especially written for the carnival but you could do that. I prefer to just pick my best post from the last week or so. Remember to submit your link in plenty of time (I’ve sometimes forgotten!).
- Offer to be the host. I haven’t done this yet but I will some time later this year. It is quite a bit of work but very worthwhile I believe. This would be an excellent way of reaching many more new readers and a bonus is many new links. Note, however, that not all carnivals allow hosting.
An example of a carnival
One really good example of a carnival is the one I contribute to every fortnight (when I remember!) It is called I and the Bird. This link takes you to a page which has links to all previous carnival hosts (an archive). The organizer also includes plenty of information about what a carnival is, how one is run, hints on submitting and hosting.
Start your own carnival
What if you can’t find a carnival that your blog fits nicely into? Your only recourse then is to start your own carnival. Be prepared for plenty of hard work, especially in the initial stages, but the rewards could be wonderful. Promoting your carnival in your niche is just one of the enormous tasks I would see facing anyone contemplating this move. My advice would be to start small with perhaps only three or four contributors who are prepared to support you in the establishment phase. This sounds like the start of a completely new post.
Related articles and links:
- How to increase your blog readership: participate in carnivals
- 31 days to building a better blog 2007 – on ProBlogger.
- Blog Carnival index – a good place to start looking for carnivals in your niche.
- I and the Bird home page – look through the archives for examples of an excellent carnival. This page also gives a lot more information about what a carnival is and how to go about submitting.