So you’ve decided you want to host a reading challenge on your blog. You’ve chosen a name for your challenge and written up rules or participation guidelines. Now, how do you go about making sure that your reading challenge kicks ass and has readers coming back for more each year?
Participate in other reading challenges
It’s a good idea to participate in a few reading challenges before committing to host your own. You’ll get a good idea of what you like and don’t like about it so you can incorporate that into your own challenge. Tanya and I host the Monthly Motif Reading Challenge here on Girlxoxo. It’s not too late to sign up. This month the theme is Take a Trip!
Evaluate your challenge and its rules
Make sure you’ve done your homework and there is no one else doing a reading challenge like yours. There’s no rule about doing a copy cat challenge but you’d do better to choose something unique. So put a twist on your challenge topic to make it fresh and exciting. Also, keep it simple when you create rules and guidelines. Most people will just skip out on your challenge or falter in the middle of it if there are too many rules that make it feel too rigid. It just takes the creativity and fun right out of it.
Create your reading challenge “brand”
At the very least, you should create a graphic to put an image to your reading challenge. Choose something that will become instantly recognizable for those who have participated before. Consider using the same, or a similar image, from year to year to keep that familiarization up. If you want to go the extra mile create a unique hashtag to identify your reading challenge on social media.
Promote your reading challenge
It’s a no brainer that social media is your friend on this one. Start promoting your reading challenge one to two months before it is set to begin. Schedule a post or two announcing your reading challenge, listing the parameters for participation, and setting up a linky for those interested to sign up on. It’s also a good idea to send your reading challenge information to A Novel Challenge. This is a blog whose sole purpose is promoting reading challenges. Then continue to promote your challenge throughout its duration.
Consider your communication options
How will you communicate with your challenge participants and keep them updated along the way? Check in blog posts are a good idea as they keep the reading challenge fresh in your participants’ minds. Depending on the type of reading challenge you are hosting, you may also want to create a mailing list of your challenge participants. Send them an email reminding them of tasks, deadlines, and link ups. Use social media to post your own progress and comment on the progress of others.
Check in often. Don’t go MIA.
Along with reminder blog posts we like to do monthly recap posts. In these posts we talk about our progress and highlight the progress of some of our reading challenge participants. It’s a good way for us to connect to them. Make it a point to read any updates that your participants are posting on their blogs and comment if you can. Interact with as many participants as you can. Fuel the fire. Don’t just assume that people are plugging along without your enthusiasm.
Remember, this is supposed to be fun.
For you and for your participants. If hosting ever feels like a chore or you can’t be as involved as you’d like to be, consider asking someone to co-host with you or just simply passing the torch and asking another blogger to take over the reading challenge entirely.
Reading challenges can be a great way to diversify your reading or encourage your readers to pick up something new, so have fun with it!
Have you or do you host a reading challenge?
Do you participate in reading challenges?