Are Blog Carnivals Worth the Trouble?

Filed in Blogging , Guest Post , LinkedIn 3 comments

What’s a blog carnival anyway? I read about them in a chapter of Patrick Schwerdtfeger’s book Webify Your Business and so I signed up for one. But it didn’t seem like there was much going on, so I posted the question on LinkedIn:

Who’s had experience with Blog Carnivals?

The Best Answer came from Stevie Wilson, a seasoned journalist and editor-in-chief of the popular blog called LA-Story.com. It is about Southern California and Los Angeles as a lifestyle, state of mind and style center: So no matter where you are in the world, you can live the So. Calif lifestyle by knowing what’s hot in LA!”

Pluses & Minuses at the Blog Carnival

Guest Post by Stevie Wilson

A blog carnival is where you have somewhat related blogs/sites — each  contributing a post on a specific day to create a list that would be posted on every participating site/blog. I have had experience in 3-4 blog carnivals.

While often blog carnivals are narrow in scope, featuring posts in  certain sectors: beauty, fashion, (or both), food, spirits, tech/gadgets or games — others can have a wider range and allow people to be creative and more diverse in their content.

Some of the negatives:

  • Moderator problems: The people who create or moderate the carnivals can at times be very harsh in how they determine what works or doesn’t (a) within the scope of the posts,(b) the timing of submission, (c) how the posts are written so the linkage isn’t screwed up.  (All this takes some time to learn for newbies.)
  • Unbalanced weight of participation is also a huge negative– if you have one or two big sites that participate and the others that are participating, it’s all about the numbers or reach of the various blogs. The bigger ones tend to dominate, so their voice carries more weight (hypothetically it should be equal voice) in determining how something is run.
  • Irregular participation: If there’s no commitment, you may have people posting randomly — in other words, you can’t count on having at least 4-5 different posts each week; there could be 12 different submissions one week and seven the next. That makes for irregular readership . . .  and less readership of the collective audience of the aggregate blogs. This is particularly important and relevant when the blog carnivals have unbalanced weight in readership.

But here are the Good Points:

1) Everyone gets some extra content and it’s great to get a diverse audience exposure.

2) You have a chance to test out things and talk to others about what works on these kinds of posts, so that you can learn and tweak your links and blogs.

3) It’s all about the group dynamic.

Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t After all, things happen in your life that might have you missing a post or 3 (a car accident, working late, illness) but a once-a-month participation isn’t enough.

Look at the quality of the blogs, their content, their voices and how you all mesh

**

Here’s one additional insight from Bret Itskowitch [in response to the LinkedIn question]

“A blog carnival is a way to grow/share readership among a group of bloggers writing about a similar topic. I am a travel contributor to a group of Lonely Planet bloggers. Every two weeks someone picks a topic and hosts a carnival on their blog. Other bloggers write and post on the topic, linking to the host. The carnival host writes a broader summary on the topic and includes links to all of the contributing bloggers.”

**

What’s your experience been. The jury is definitely out for me — so far. Please convince me.

FURTHER READING:

9 Ways to Go to a Blog Carnival

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   25 August 2010
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Comments
Aug 25, 2010
3:28 am

I, too, set out to investigate this, as I had remembered them being a big thing in the past. The Blog Carnival website listed in the book is rather dead now – something to be updated in the next version of Patrick’s book! There are many carnivals listed but when you look at when the last post was, they are 2 or 3 or 5 years old with no new messages.

I do see some blog carnivals that are privately run among an established community of bloggers and those are usually very good – from a reader’s perspective. So my recommendation would be to start your own, host your own, do some SEO work so the info page is found by those looking for carnivals to join, and rally your community!

I think the concept is great, and good for SEO for the participants (links!!) so if someone can make it work, it’d be pretty valuable and not too much work once it’s set up!
Karen (who would love to participate but is not up for organizing one!)

Aug 25, 2010
10:37 am

As always Shari, very interesting topic and helpful. Thanks for your research.
Best,
Marla

Author Aug 25, 2010
11:44 am

Marla, have you checked out my new blog DRIVING MISS SHARI. Tell me if you like it.
🙂

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