When I hosted the Carnival of HR – Fall Colors Edition, professional writer Wally Bock told me I did a nice job as a host. So nice, in fact, that he wrote a blog post about it called How to Host a Blog Carnival on his Zero Draft writer’s blog. Hey, thanks, Wally!
If you’re interested in learning more about what a blog carnival is all about, Wally offers a quick summary called Blog Carnivals and You.
I’d like to flip the concept around and talk about how to be an excellent carnival contributor, because frankly, there’s a lot more opportunity out there for you to contribute to a blog carnival than there is in landing a guest-host gig. Unless of course you want to start up your own carnival. But that’s a whole boat-load of work. Instead launching your own carnival, I suggest you get your feet wet with contributing to existing blog carnivals. You know, go on a few “dates” first before you commit.
The key is to build a reputation for being a high-quality blog carnival contributor. When you build a reputation as a solid contributor, then you have some social currency if you decide to kick it up a notch and make a pitch to guest-host someone else’s carnival. Yes, that’s right – you need to make a pitch to be a guest host for carnivals. These are coveted opportunities – many blog carnivals are once a month – so there is a maximum of only 12 spots per year for hosting.
Here are my four tips for being an all-star blog carnival contributor:
1. Folks, just do what they say. This is one case where you gotta play by the rules. If the host says, “please submit a topic with the theme of XYZ” do not submit a blog post on “ABC”. It makes you look like you can’t read or don’t care about their blog theme. Take a pass if you don’t have the right type of post.
2. Show a little humility. Don’t assume that just because you sent in a post, it’ll get published. I always include the phrase “for your consideration”, which shows that I understand that it’s their call.
3. Gratitude is good too. When I’m hosting a carnival and a potential contributor says, “hey, thanks for hosting this carnival, I know it’s a lot of work”, that’s a bonus. It shows a bit of interpersonal savvy on your part. When I’m hosting a carnival, it’s not the sole factor in deciding what makes the cut, but I always give an edge to people who are courteous.
4. Make it easy for the host to feature your submission. Here’s a recent email submission of mine to Dan McCarthy’s Leadership Development Carnival:
Hello there! Hope you are doing well. Here’s my submission for your consideration.
I’m going with a subject I love- leadership assessments.
Blogger: Jennifer V. Miller
Blog: The People Equation
Summary: Wondering how you might improve your leadership skills – even if you don’t have a formal leadership title? Jennifer Miller of The People Equation says you might want to take a leadership assessment. She gives you the 411 on things to consider before you make that decision in Leadership Assessments – An Overview.
See how I lay everything out, including the hyperlinks AND a summary? Many blog carnival hosts like to write their own summary. But some don’t and just feature your name and a hyperlink to your post. Don’t be lazy! This is a marketing opportunity – invest a few extra seconds writing a killer intro to your post so readers will actually click the link and read your entire post on YOUR blog.
So, are you ready to jump into the world of blog carnivals?
Are you already an experienced carnival contributor? What tips and hints would you offer to newbies?
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