Blogging Idol 2: Update Four

By Daniel Scocco

blogging idol

The competition is getting tough as we approach the final week. Two blogs are taking the lead, one with 830 new RSS subscribers gained to date, and the other one with 577 new RSS subscribers. Curiously enough, they are using a very similar strategy.

Following the two leaders we have 8 bloggers that gained anywhere from 221 up to 346 new RSS subscribers in the three weeks of competition so far.

You can check the performance of all the participants on our live scoreboard.

The Sponsors

A small shout to the sponsors that made the competition possible. They all offer relevant services for bloggers and webmasters, so check them out.

The Strategies

Next Monday the open voting session will start, and it will run for 5 days (from November 24 until November 28). Today we will therefore publish the second batch of strategies that were sent by the competitors. Take a look at them and keep your favorite in mind so on Monday you can cast a vote for him or her.

1. http://www.bloggingfromscratch.com/

Blogging Idol contest is all about increasing your RSS subscribers in the cleverest way – nothing more, nothing less. So this is where I’ve concentrated my strategy about.

I find that most of the blogs in the competition has huge advantage over mine because of my niche and I just had a contest. It is very challenging to increase my subscriptions and yet I did. I had more than doubled my subscription number.

My initial strategy is to combine all the things that I know on how to increase my RSS subscribers.Give away a free ebook (Blog to success through blog contests), Quality posts, Series post (Case Study: Increase your blog statistics through blog contests), Organize a contest, which I’m proud of because I never spent a dime on it. Guest post, be active on forums and comment mania. If you combine all of these, people would find no reason not to subscribe on your blog.

I focus the mechanics of my contest into increasing my RSS subscribers and getting traffic. I have effectively drafted my mechanics that the participants are helping me out to win. Having a contest and giving way free ebook is not enough. The challenge is how to keep people subscribed in your blog. You need to have quality content that will make them subscribe. Also, the series post is very effective because people anticipate on what I will say next, keeping them from subscribing.

But still, it’s not just enough.

So I think outside the box and utilize what I have. My best strategy is fresh, very much effective and wickedly smart that I managed to convert most of my site visitors into RSS subscribers and get them into blogging, which is the goal of my blog. Two birds in one stone πŸ˜€ The strategy was to incorporate my small blogs(mine) to a larger blog. I sponsor a contest on a larger blog on the condition that the participants would subscribe on my blog. The good thing is – every blogger can do this. Simple but it rocks! I will tell you more about this after the Blogging Idol competition. So, vote for me! xoxo

So far, I am having fun with the Blogging Idol competition, it made me think of new and creative ways on how to increase RSS subscribers.

2. http://vanae.com/

This experience has been really sweet so far. Discovering your neat blogs! So people have been wondering about my strategies..here’s a start:

1) I have a YouTube presence, so I am actively driving my YouTube subscribers to my blog by offering emailed-delivered tips & updates of when my e-book comes out.

2) Since I get a decent amount of emails from my fans asking for dating & self-development advice, I have an auto-responder saying there is a requirement of subscribing to me before I can respond with answers.

3) Focusing on quality content and writing posts based off of what my fans are requesting

4) Will be guest writing on bigger blogs to drive traffic to my blog

5) Most importantly, really connecting with my fans & viewers so they feel involved

6) V’star contest: I did a video to launch my V’star contest which is empowering my current subscriber base to get their friends to subscribe. The subscriber who brings the most Vanae.com subscribers, will win my special edition hardcopy book, Fuck Her, Fuck Him (releasing at end of December) PLUS one hour phone consultation with me. Contest ends on 11/30.

This is very exciting! Whipping me into shape to refine my blog each day.
Good luck to all!

3. http://www.happyschoolsblog.com/

1) 90% of my RSS readers were using email. So, offering News Letter subscription was better option.

2) I have observed and divided visitors into 6 groups. Visitor from Group 1 would visit my blog for another 3 to 4 years. Visitor from Group 6, will visit maximum 1 year and the traffic is seasonal. So, based on season, I write contents to attract and retain visitors.

3) Subscription Form in all pages below the post.

4) Pop-up form (conversion rate 7 to 8%). I had to go with what works with my readers/niche.

5) Subscription form in middle of popular posts (conversion rates 25 to 30%)

6) Access to free e-book by subscribing to News Letter.

7) Atleast 1 post in a week is Keyword optimized. For long tail keywords I answered readers question as posts and those questions include long tail keywords.

8) I spent weekends chatting with visitors. I needed to find one reader from each college, establish good relationship with them and that will help me reach entire school through word-of-mouth.

9) Free college admission counseling to students applying to Grad Schools in U.S.

10) Most of the readers are not aware of RSS. So, I’m attracting them to click on huge Animal Feed Me Image.

Basically it all comes down to what information you provide and what your readers are looking for. I had so much fun in last 3 weeks and still learning. Hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful opportunity.

4. http://www.dollarshower.com/

The following are the strategies I used to increase the RSS count (which went as high as 160 yesterday from 116, the initial value – That’s 40% increase!)

1. Created a RSS sign up link specially for the search visitors, because more than 60% of the search visitors are new according to Google Analytics.
2. Contacted some recent commenters and fellow bloggers. A few of them seems to have signed up.
3. Started Tweeting of late, it is slowly picking up and there are a few visits from Twitter, not sure about the RSS subscription yet.

5. http://www.bicycletouringpro.com/

In an effort to gain more RSS subscribers I have:

1) Put together a big online web event for the weekend of November 22nd and 23rd. This event will feature two jam-packed days of articles, interviews, and videos about bicycle travel, commuting, and lifestyle design. I got some of the biggest people/companies in the bicycle industry to participate and donate over
$750 worth of products. These products will be giving away during this event to people who subscribe to my newsletter. I also got two famous authors to participate and even arranged an interview with Yaro Starak (the interview will be released on Nov. 23rd).

2). Because my niche isn’t very technical, I haven’t even told my readers what RSS is. I doubt that many of them have ever even heard of it. Because of this, I haven’t pushed my RSS feed in any way, but I am pushing my email newsletter via the standard sign up form on every page of the site, a one-time only pop-up, and through articles about the upcoming web event (I’m making people subscribe to my newsletter if they want to win the prizes being given away).

3) Finally, I’ve used the press and media to get articles written about the bicycle event in a number of small newspapers. My local paper is writing a profile piece on me and a number of other bicycle/travel bloggers have also written about the event.

The gains in RSS subscribers have not been huge, but my traffic this month is up over 40% and growing every day.

I’m doing a lot more than that, but those are the main things.

6. http://bl.ogology.com/

When we started out we knew we were in for a major challenge, as our brand new domain had two things going against us right out of the gate; we weren’t indexed in the search engines & we are using a sub-domain (bl.ogology.com).To date we are receiving ZERO traffic from search engines. Here are few of the many different strategies we used for the first part of the contest:

(1) Our number one strategy was to personally contact as many Blogging Idol 2 Contest members indicating we had added their RSS Feed or StumbledUpon their site, and asked for nothing in return. We have made a few good friends as a result. (Note: Many of your contact forms or email addresses are broken)

(2) Surfed the MyBlogLog & Twitter community, and as much as time permitted made friends asking them to check us out.

(3) Added an animated GIF RSS Icon & StripeAd

(4) Tried to post every day, if not twice a day.

This has been an awesome experience, and we just want to say thank you to Daily Blog Tips and all the other contestants for allowing us to be a part of Blogging Idol 2.

7. http://islandcrisis.blogspot.com/

I am not using any difficult or secret strategy. However just want to share some of those that I am using and which has increase my subscribers base by around 70! In fact I was at around only 8 subscriber before the contest started and just three days before it started I happened to reach 27! Woo if only they had waited for the competition to start lol.

I am currently at 80 Subscribers and my blog is mostly a general topic one. So here are some tricks I am using:

1. Providing a subscribe form below each of my blog posts.
2. Provide another subscribe form on my top right sidebar.
3. Created a landing page for RSS subscription so that I can also promote my landing page.
4. I posted one post asking readers to subscribe and telling them about this competition.
5. Request some friends to subscribe though not much did it lol.
6. Doing a very funny KFC contest and the one who refer more subscriber will win a KFC Zinger Meal coupon.
7. Also once a month I do a random select from one of my email subscribers and give them a free one month advertising on my blog if they have a blog or website or I simply send them a Rs50 free Emtel Mobile Phone Prepaid Card.
8. Well my best of all strategy is to write interesting content that are not found elsewhere and keep my post entertaining with lots of related cartoons and images to make the post more interesting.

Hope I get at least a vote πŸ™‚

8. http://elitebydesign.com/

My strategy for Blogging Idol 2 has not been to be intrusive into my readers viewing experience, nor has it
been to bribe my readers with promises of prizes or freebies in return for their subscription. I feel that those methods don’t lead to a truly organic community where everyone is there to contribute and help one another, and not to expect something in return. For this reason, I have approached BI2 with a more hands-off method – First and most obviously, I redesigned my entire site. This redesign was created with a heavier focus on content and allowing easier access to my articles. At the same time however, I have added a very prominent RSS section in my sidebar that displays my current feed count and encourages new readers to subscribe as well. Secondly, I have turned to more organic methods of gaining visitors (alongside my social traffic – Digg, Stumble, etc) such as Google and other search engines. I have found that visitors from these sites tend to convert better into long-term subscribers.

BI 2 has been both challenging and fun at the same time. My strategies vary from many of the more popular blogs out there, and I hope that it will work for the best. Best of luck to all contestants as we roll into the final stretch of the competition.




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20 Responses to “Blogging Idol 2: Update Four”

  • RaSh

    Wow really nice collection.. Nice to see so many different ways that have actually worked πŸ™‚

  • Tom – Entrepreneur Interview

    Looks like you are getting some fantastic results! Nice to see the competition is a success again!

  • Matej

    I thought this was scheduled for 23. November not 22 … whatever

    Anyway, I really liked the everything-everywhere.com give away idea, to bad the conversion was not that great. He will get my vote.

    Reading this, IMO no one was a “purple cow”, most of the leaders stick with proven tactics and changed them in smart way … of course, you need to know what’s working and what’s not.

    I still haven’t used half of mine strategies but below are ones I did.

    I stayed with email subscriptions because they are easier to promote and most of my readers don’t have a clue about RSS. 90% of my subscribers are subscribed via email.

    1) Emailed all unconfirmed subscribers ( techie buzz)

    2) Used forms below posts and promoted it in a way ” for more future posts about…” It works great in my niche because my site is sort of news site

    3) I believe that I was the only one who used free pop up window, not the one from Aweber which costs. ( it’s from maxblogpress )

    4) Made first online wallpapers for the next Volume of Heroes ” Fugitives”. That post gave me at least 200 subscribers more subscribers.

    5) Offered free ( education purposed hehe ) guide for ” Watching Heroes Online” – highly searched in my niche

    6) Chatted with more than 60 readers every Monday ( during the show) and of course – asking them to help me and telling them why it’s good for them. ( Needed to be awake till 04:00 because of that, and because I’m from Europe)

    Live chatting is a great way to connect, try it!

    7) Used twitter, asked the most popular TV spoiler person online ( Kristin from E! ) to subscribe to my spoiler alerts, she did! Now I’m promoting my newsletter that way πŸ˜‰

    I believe that’s it

    What I’m going to do:

    1) Asked Heroes cast members ( which are on twitter) to tweet my wallpaper post, hope they will. So of them have blogs to.

    2) Big contest at the end of month. Just hope I’ll arrange it with the sponsors before the end of month ( they said yes, http://www.titanbooks.com )

    3) 4) Not sure if I’ll have time so I will not mention it.

    I’m really enjoying it, for the first time I’m looking more for RSS numbers than revenue πŸ˜›

    I hope I’ll get some of your votes crew!

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Matej, here is the quote from the latest Blogging Idol 2 Update:

    “You have therefore until Friday 21 to send your strategies to me if you want them covered on a post I will do about it.”

  • Matej

    It’s OK. I don’t know why I thought it was 23 …

  • Kurt

    Hah mine is here πŸ™‚ I just got my first sponsor from my country itself who is sponsoring two free tickets to a very famous indian singer concert (Debojeet) and I am using this to promote the concert and also get some subscribers more.

  • Ajith Edassery

    The strategies mentioned don’t seem to be working yet πŸ˜† Anyways, this competition has been exciting so far and enlightened me a lot in terms of what it takes to get people signed up if not necessarily have them as active readers and contributors to the blog!

    Cheers all,
    Ajith

  • SATISH — Technotip.org

    Great strategies to get more subscribers to the blog.

  • sandy

    nice info.

  • Nathan Beck

    Hey, wow I can’t believe I managed to get up to 3rd place on the scoreboard (www.redswish.co.uk).

    I didn’t know you could submit your strategies but here’s mine.

    Nothing. No special promotions, campaigns or competitions (which are all valid traffic-increasing methods) or desperate requests to get subscribers. I don’t run Redswish to make money or to count followers – I do it because I enjoy writing articles and supplying information and advice that helps others.

    All I’ve continued to do is write better and higher quality articles that people have found interesting and useful and have naturally spread to others through the social web. I’ve mentioned new posts on Twitter and I’ve submitted them to various news sites but that was no different than before. Besides from that – my readers have took it in to their own hands to spread the word! For which I’m grateful and will continue to write (hopefully) enjoyable posts. I’ve got a few lined up for this week that should go down well.

    Cheers guys,

    Nathan

  • Money Making Ideas ~ Suzanne

    I have added a whole post on my blog about my strategies (since we were limited to 200 words here) … and I hope it helps others as well.

    “What is Blogging Idol All About ~ And Have I Earned the Title?”

    I worked very hard to increase my RSS subscribers but I also focused a great deal on name recognition and on what it takes to earn the title, “Blogging Idol” by using “clever” and creative ideas ~ as to earn points through the voting and the judging.

    I wish everyone luck this week as we go into the final push … I truly hope it made each one of us better bloggers and more successful with our blogs! *huGs* Suzanne

  • laptop

    i like this post. some good information.

  • moses

    hmm….there are so many nice strategies up there. It’s nice…

  • Blogging from Scratch

    Too bad I’ll be going on an out of town work-related trip starting today up to first week of December. I won’t be able to promote further πŸ™‚ Wish me the best!

  • JR @ Internet Marketing Do-Follow Blog

    It is really great to see so many innovative blogging strategies, very helpful to learn what is working for bloggers. All though I am not part of this contest, I work everyday to get new readers to my blog and I think that offering valuable content and promoting it on the web is always number one. And second is commenting and interacting with readers on other blogs has driven load of traffic to my blog, and the content has turned them into subscribers.

    Good luck to everyone, I know who I am voting for πŸ™‚

  • Meghna

    I have used a unique concept to increase the RSS count.

    That is, through a Twitter Challenge employing the Uncertainity Principle of Dr. Robert Cialdini. Here, twitter users are requested to subscribe to my blog and invite and convince ONE follower to do the same. When the ball was set to roll, many twitter people joined.

    Just ONE person convincing ONE more, it was a fun to see it grow in multiples, using the massive twitter network. This was done with the help of @drmani.

    And the result is massive!!

  • Raghu

    If you’d like to get more detailed information about my strategies, here’s link to the contents. I did my best to explain in 250 words in the write up I sent to Daniel.

    http://www.happyschoolsblog.com/blogging-idol-2-strategies/

  • Charles Howard

    After reading most of the strategies most seemed workable. Some were kinda clumbsy but certainly basic methods for gaining RSS subscribers- but for startups fairly good! Some probably earned points for getting the most RSS but if you are seeking the most clever ideas that I believe is working, and will only get better, it appears that Suzanne Franco has the most creative approaches and should get the attention of the judges and get the points as it appeared to me that is what the Blogging Idol contest is all about! Good luck to all of the contestants as we know how much work is involved in this endeavor!

  • switch

    Good information,I like it.Thanks very much.

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