For the last two weeks or so, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been blowing up my Facebook feed. And unless you live in the land of zero social media, it likely has been in your feeds too. As a blogger, I’m always trying to stay one step ahead of technology and on the look out for the next biggest thing. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge may have brought 1.3 million new donors to their cause, but it also gave me some very powerful reminders as it relates to the craft of blogging.
Here are five lessons bloggers can learn from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
1. Think outside the box.
Part of the reason why the ice bucket challenge worked was because it was just so stinking fun and unique. I’m not saying you should pour a bucket of ice over your head during your next sponsored post, but I am challenging you to think more creatively.
While it is true that in blogland there really isn’t much new under the sun, your creativity when it comes to content creation will set you apart.
2. A specific call to action is powerful.
The call to action for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was specific and targeted.
“I nominate John Doe, Betty Sue, and Ronald Jones to particiapte in the ice bucket challenge. You have 24 hours to make a $100 donation to ALS or dump a bucket of ice over your head and make a smaller donation.”
When is the last time you asked your reader to do something that specific?
I know that I haven’t. For me, it feels a bit bossy and I’m seeing now that I rely a bit too heavily on my Sharaholic social media sharing buttons at the bottom of my posts. I’ve got them installed and that has felt good enough. But then again, when someone asks me to do something specific at the end of their blog post, I often do it.
[Tweet “Figure out what exactly you want your reader to do, and ask them to do it.”]
For me, I’ll be using my call to action beyond just asking a question to jump start the conversation in the comments. Going forward, I’ll be asking people share a post on a specific social media site or to subscribe to my newsletter.
3. Sharing is caring and networking is king (or queen).
This challenge went viral because it had a tagging and sharing component. It was a modern day chain letter with a really fun twist.
Bloggers, when is the last time you reached out to someone and asked them specifically to help share your content? And likewise, when is the last time you were asked?
I passively share my content on all of the major social media outlets, but very rarely do I take it further and share it specifically with someone I want to read it. There is a fine line between promoting myself and spamming the rest of the world. BUT, from time to time on a post you know someone else would really love, I think it is a great idea!
I’ve spoken to a few of my blogging friends who have had their work featured on major sites. They got their “in” by sharing the post on Twitter and tagging the editor.
There are also a ton of bloggers who love to do a weekly link round up of the best things they’ve read. Why not try reaching out to your favorite blogger? Maybe you’ll end up on their round up!
[Tweet “Share your post specifically with those you want to specifically to see it.”]
In other words, I need to be more bold. And so do you!
Remember, a personal interaction and genuine interaction is best! Try emailing, reaching out via Twitter direct message, or sending a PM on Facebook.
[Tweet “Share your content with another blogger, but don’t talk AT THEM. Talk to them!”]
4. Timing is everything.
Part of the reason why the Ice Bucket Challenge was such a home run was because they launched it during the hottest days of summer. An ice bucket challenge in winter likely wouldn’t have caught on.
In the same vein, the ice bucket challenge has reminded me just how important it is to look at the seasons and holidays when I’m planning my blog content. It is late August, the ship sailed on back to school ideas because the kids are already in school. But it is the perfect time to start brainstorming and planning fall and Halloween themed posts!
5. Beware of the copy cat.
Did you know that last year between July 29th and August 24th of 2013, ALS raised $2.5 million dollars? This year, during the same dates, the #alsicebucketchallenge has helped raise over 70 million dollars for the ALS Association. I am not a math queen, but that is a serious amount of growth!
You can bet your bottom dollar that there are other companies who are trying to capitalize on the success of the ice bucket challenge. It won’t be long before we see copy cat challenges happening.
While it is okay to be inspired by something, please don’t be a copy cat. If someone has inspired your blog post or idea, thank them for the inspiration in the introduction of your post!
[Tweet “Beware of the copy cat. “]
I happily completed the ice bucket challenge and made a small donation to ALS. However, I did it at the park at the tail end of Malone and Lola’s birthday party and our friend’s foster daughter made her way into the video. Out of respect for their privacy and to insure they follow the social media and privacy guidelines set forth by the State of MA, I will not be posting the video on social media.
Did you participate in the challenge? What do you think about how well it has caught on?
If you liked this post, I would love for you to pin it on Pinterest and share it with your blogging friends.