6 Tips for Winning a Blogging Contest From a Finalist

If you want to win a blogging contest, you have to take it a step further than “just” blogging! These tips and strategies will help you win first place in any blog contest – or any writing contest, for that matter.

To win, you need skill, discipline, and organization. Here, a blogging expert outlines six steps to winning. If you’re curious about how to blog, this is the place to start.

Vince Lombardi says, “Winning isn’t everything, but the will to win is everything” — and that’s one thing Holly Jahangiri definitely has.

Jahangiri is one of the finalists in the nine-week long Surviving the Blog Contest, and she shares her tips on winning blog contests below.

6 Tips for Winning a Blogging Contest

Guest Post ~ Holly Jahangiri

When I was fifteen, I took to harassing the DJs at my favorite radio station. For one thing, they had made the mistake of letting me know they had The Unicorn Song, by The Irish Rovers, on tap.

I also took to entering contests – just little contests run by my favorite DJs – the same guys who’d let me do a completely fictitious weather report from a completely fictitious airport (it was actually a bar with one sad-looking wind sock flying from the rooftop) every morning. I played for pizzas, beanies, penny ante stuff. Mostly, I played for fun.

I’ve always preferred contests – games of skill – to lotteries, sweepstakes, and other games of chance. I’d rather go head to head in a blog writing competition and pit my skills against another qualified competitors than to have my name chosen by a number drawn from a hat. So I’m going to share with you what’s worked for me. I think that you can apply most of these tips to setting life goals, as well.

Get in the game

You cannot hope to win a blogging contest if you don’t get yourself in the game. No one cares about your excuses; don’t let your inner critic, the biggest manufacturer of lame excuses on the planet, get the better of you. If you hear a tiny voice saying, ‘You’re not good enough,’ or ‘You never win anything,’  just imagine putting a big ol’ strip of duct tape across the creature’s mouth.

Read the rules and understand all the requirements

In most blog writing contests, the ability to read and follow rules will weed out the casual entrants and leave only the more dedicated competitors. I’ve run contests, as well as entered them; trust me when I say that the rules – and your adherence to them – are like a giant sieve through which most entries will fall, and fail to qualify. The same is true, incidentally, for writers who hope to get their work published but fail to read and heed the publisher’s guidelines.

Get organized and plan your strategy for winning

Don’t just dive right in. Most blogging contests involve some combination of the following: write good content, generate insane amounts of traffic, encourage lots of comments, or get lots of social media shares. So what’s your plan of attack?

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Here are a few things to consider:

  • What do you know enough about to write credibly and quickly? If you must write on a topic that is unfamiliar to you, how can you quickly, efficiently do the research you need to do in order to start writing?
  • Warn your friends and followers that you’re about to become very obnoxious about asking them to do lots of ‘social media activities,’ like commenting on and sharing your work. Don’t be shy about asking; do be aware that obnoxious nagging, begging, and arm-twisting can quickly backfire and cost you much-needed help from people who would otherwise be happy to help. Remember to thank them.
  • Figure out how you’re going to track your progress. Do you have all the necessary information and skills to do that?
  • What serendipitous hints and help are tossed your way? What opportunities come knocking? Are you so focused on what you’re doing that you forget to open your eyes and notice?

Be disciplined and diligent

If I had applied half the discipline, diligence, and seat-of-the-pants writing to NaNoWriMo that I’ve applied to blogging contests, I’d have two or three novels to show for it come December. This contest I’m in right now is in its NINTH week. There have been times I was tempted to simply give up – anything for a one-hour nap! Do you know the story of the Tortoise and the Hare? The hare should, by all rights, have won the footrace, but he slacked off. He napped under a tree. He blew off the tortoise and the tortoise blew right past him for the win.

Avoid distractions – stay focused on winning the blog writing contest

Are you like Atalanta, slowing to pick up every ‘pretty, shiny’ golden apple thrown in your path? Keep Your Eye on the Goal tells the story of the mythical princess, Atalanta, who was thwarted in her efforts to outrun the men and avoid marriage by a young man whose magical golden apples – a gift from the goddess Aphrodite – distracted her long enough for him to cross the finish line first, keep his head on his shoulders, and win the beautiful Atalanta’s hand in marriage.

winning blogging contestsOur ‘golden apples’ are email, Facebook, Twitter, and lint picking. Shut down the browser and write your posts offline, if you have to. If it feels like you’re slogging through it, keep slogging – keep slogging until real inspiration hits, or until you’ve turned out an acceptable bit of writing in spite of the lack of inspiration you feel.

For more tips on achieving your life goals, read 7 Steps to Setting Goals for Your Life.

Never underestimate the competition

Through the blogging contest I’m currently participating in, I have assumed that the ‘other guy’ always had something devious and remarkable up his sleeve. Occasionally, that was even true. More often than not, there was no hidden arsenal of posts saved in drafts; there was no army of commenters waiting in the wings; there was no concerted “shock and awe” attack at the eleventh hour. But never let up; if a contest is worth entering at all, it’s worth entering to win. What’s the saying? You can rest when you’re dead.

For more blogging tips, read The Huffington Post’s Blogging Tips – How to Blog Better.

And remember that losing a blogging contest can actually open up new doors! Here are a few things to do when you lose a writing contest.

Have you ever entered a blogging or writing contest? If you have tips or strategies, please comment below …

About the Author: Holly Jahangiri lives in Texas and claims to channel the spirits of Edgar Allan Poe, O. Henry and Erma Bombeck. She has known since fifth grade that she wanted to be a professional writer. Holly is a technical communicator whose imagination is allowed free rein in her short stories, children’s books, and poetry. You can visit her personal blog, It’s All a Matter of Perspective.

About the Editor: Sharon Hurley Hall is a word nerd, a Scrabble fiend and fanatical about grammar. She has been mentoring other writers at Get Paid To Write Online since 2005 to help them improve and build sustainable and successful writing careers. She also blogs professionally; check her out on sharonhh.com and Google+.


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2 thoughts on “6 Tips for Winning a Blogging Contest From a Finalist

  • Holly Jahangiri

    Thank you, Sharon! I love, love, love working with a good editor – you’ve just proven yourself to be one, in my book. (To me, a good editor is one who adds polish and improves the original – doesn’t strip the thing down to bare wood and antique it or paint it Day-Glo orange.) Thank you.