What the hell is a blog carnival? That’s the question I found myself asking three years ago when I started my real estate blog. What should I expect? Do they work? Will I get traffic? Links?
Don’t worry, I will give you the answers to all of these questions and more.
A blog carnival is a kind of review of posts from other blogs, hosted by one site. Depending on the structure of the carnival, there may be some commentary by the host, there may be judging or there may be just a list. Those sites that get listed in the carnival are supposed to link back to the host, thus giving them added incentive for taking the time to review the submissions.
Sounds good right? You get exposure on someone else’s site with an audience of your blog peers. The first time I participated, I thought I would get a ton of traffic for my infant blog. I didn’t. The first time I hosted I thought traffic would be swarming. It wasn’t. What it did do was give me very solid inbound links and put me in touch with my fellow real estate bloggers. From that standpoint blog carnivals are very beneficial and I highly recommend submitting and hosting one yourself.
I’ve been blogging here for a little over a month now. I think I’ve got some great content. Time to share. So I headed over to the blog carnival directory. Here is the place to find your niche and submit. Back when I was a real estate blogger, there were about four or five carnivals I could legitimately submit. You don’t want to spam the carnival. There was one on personal finance, one on real estate investing and the grand daddy of them all…the Carnival of Real Estate. After a little practice writing I got to the point where I could pretty much get listed for whatever article I submitted, but that meant I had to think of these audiences when I wrote. Any lending advice for individuals was a good fit for the personal finance carnival, while I had to think more about real estate investors for the other one. For the big one, an article on Salt Lake real estate wouldn’t usually do. I had to have a more generic real estate or mortgage article.
Being an SEO blogger is so much broader that I can submit to a number of different carnivals. Anything small business, technology, social media, blogging, etc. will work and I’ve got a pretty wide range of articles in the archives to submit.
I wait to really turn on the promotion engine until I have content.
Whenever you submit to a new carnival, it’s a good idea to look at the last one. Then you can get an idea of what the submission criteria is, who’s been hosting, how many competitor articles there are and whether the hosts will just publish anything. Usually they’re a bit selective.
So I honed my list last week and started submitting. I don’t know whether this is new, but the blog carnival directory now allows you to save carnivals and you can use the saved list as a dashboard to quickly submit. When I was doing this before, I had to go down their huge list each week. Well the first article was published on a carnival called “blogging.” Can anybody guess what it’s about?
If I may be blunt, this was a ho-hum carnival. It was a list. Boooring. My apologies to the host. The real estate carnivals used to be so much fun! Most hosts would have a theme and then the main page of the carnival would do a special post for the host. Look at the most recent carnival of real estate. The host didn’t have a theme, but he did do a review of the posts and pointed out what caught his eye for the “winners.” Plus he’s got quite a few comments showing the sense of community amongst that group of bloggers.
So what can you expect from participating in a blog carnival? Not much in terms of traffic, but quite a bit in terms of inbound links and connections within your community.
Blog Carnival Submission Tips:
Don’t submit the same article to all the carnivals. Mix it up. Some of them actually require exclusive submissions.
Do read the rules before you submit.
Don’t submit poorly written articles. You’re wasting your time and the host’s.
Do thank the host.
Do participate in the conversation that occurs on the thread. Some of your new link partners will come from that community.
Do provide a link back to the carnival. Provide a link even if your article didn’t get selected this week.
Do pay attention to submission deadlines. Each carnival is different and each one can publish on a different day.
Do start a carnival of your own if you can’t find one in your topic area.