When I first decided that I wanted to start a Link Up Party, I found it hard to find good “how to” resources. At that time I decided that once I figured out how to host one, I would pass the knowledge on to others.
Why You Should Host a Link Party
This is only my fourth week hosting the Link-It To Me Link Up Party and I am absolutely loving it! We all know that blogging can be a lonely venture at times but hosting this party has connected me to so many phenomenal bloggers! Deciding to Host a Link Party has allowed me to connect with other bloggers outside of my niche (who I may not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise). Through hosting this link party, I have been exposed to so many thought provoking articles which are so inspiring and make me so proud to be a blogger! I don’t believe you should venture into anything, to simply increase page views. That being said, Link Parties are a win-win as you get to build an inspiring and supportive community of bloggers which through association builds your page views.
Hosting a link party is HARD WORK. Each week the Link Party takes a significant amount of time, which I will explain as we go through. There are also suggestions to reduce the amount of time it takes to host and promote your link party.
Choose a Link Up Program
Personally I use InLinkz (affiliate link) as I found that this was the most user-friendly program when I participated in other bloggers Link Parties. All it requires bloggers to do is enter the URL of the post they want to link. InLinkz automatically populates the blog title and pulls a picture from the post. Participants have the option to change the title, upload their own image and even crop the photo!
InLinkz makes it very simple for you to create your own link up and it provides you with great How To resources to make the process that much smoother!
[ctt title=”InLinkz makes hosting a link party a smooth and easy process” tweet=”Use @InLinkz for an easy to you #linkup party hosting tool! Read more from @pureEwellness http://wp.me/p5SRL1-e2″ coverup=”oKd2a”]
Is There a Cost?
It depends what you are looking for. There is a free version available however it does not include a picture in the link up gallery on the post. Instead it just states the blog title. Again through participating in other parties, I found I was much less likely to link up my post and to view other posts if there was not a picture (I am a very visual person). For that reason I chose to get the paid version of InLinkz which you can pay monthly $1.99/month or you can choose to pay $19.99 for the year. If you are unsure about hosting a link up party and are questioning how much success you will have then I would recommend starting off with the monthly subscription. Here is what the picture gallery looks like in my most recent Link-Up Party.
Benefits of InLinkz
Please note, I will be compensated if you sign-up with InLinkz through this post at no extra cost to you. This helps to keep my blog running! That being said, I only promote products I use, love, and believe my readers would benefit from!
- InLinkz collects the email addresses of all participants for you! This is great for marketing which I will talk about shortly. That being said, please be sure to include a line in your post that states that by linking up the blogger is giving you permission to contact them by email to tell them of upcoming Link Up Party dates.
- InLinkz collects stats so that you can see how many times each link has been clicked on. This is important information to have as you will clearly know whether the majority of people are participating in visiting other blogs.
What Guidelines do You Want to List?
I wanted my Link-It To Me Link Up Party to have a laid back feel, yet there were some guidelines I needed to outline to make sure it was fair and successful for all who participated.
Things to consider:
- Do you only want certain types of posts (i.e. crafts, DIY) to be linked up? If so, you need to clearly state what is and what is not acceptable to post as part of your party. I have said that bloggers can link up any type of post but that it must be family friendly (PG rating).
- How many posts can each blogger link up? This is completely personal preference. I have seen some party’s say only one post per blogger while others say unlimited. Personally I have chosen to list a 3 link per person maximum.
- Do you expect to be followed on social media? If so, what platforms do you want to be followed on? I have shared my Pinterest page and have asked bloggers to take a peek and if the topics interest them then please follow me. In the future I may add more platforms to my request but for now it is just Pinterest.
- Do you want your party advertised by those who link up? Do you want to ask those who link up to share on social media? If so, state it clearly. Also, some hosts state that if you want to link up it is their expectation that you link back to them or you hyperlink the party into your post to state where you linked up. This helps potentially bring your audience to the party. Personally I have not yet asked this of my attendees as I didn’t want too many guidelines in place to begin with but it is something I am considering incorporating in the future.
- What is your rule for interacting with other links? I have clearly stated that I expect each person who links up to visit 3 other posts. The point of a party is to mingle and have fun. I remind readers in my post not to LINK & RUN. That being said, there will always be some who don’t follow through but I don’t think there is a way to completely prevent that.
- Are you going to offer an incentive to those who link up? I have stated that all posts will be pinned to my Pinterest account (under the most fitting board). I also have a Link-It To Me board for the posts that don’t fit a specific category. Maybe you plan to tweet all posts or share on at least one form of social media, maybe nothing, you decide! Personally I believe that if someone is going to take their time to come to my blog and link up then the least I can do is pin each post. I will discuss other things that I believe you should do for those who link up as we move along.
- Decide on your guidelines and state them clearly. You can see the guidelines on my Link Party General Information page.
How Long do You Want Your Party to Last?
The first week my party only ran from Tuesday at 8pm- Wednesday at 11:59pm. I had a blogger comment asking if this time period would be extended in the future. Until the question was asked, I didn’t realize how short a time this actually was. For the past 3 weeks I have extended the party for an extra 24 hours, it now ends Thursday at 11:59pm. This time frame seems to work better for the bloggers who participate.
Ultimately you need to pick what is best for you! Some party’s run for 24 hours while others run for 6 days. You just have to find the combination that works best for you. Also, don’t be afraid to change the timeline; but if you do, make sure the change is well advertised (more on that soon).
Recognizing Bloggers who Link Up
It is my opinion that choosing to host a link party comes with certain responsibilities. if someone links up, it is my responsibility as the host to read each post that is linked up. Would you invite someone to your party and then not speak to them?!? I make sure to always comment on at least one of the posts from each blogger each week, but I visit and read all posts.
The majority of link parties will pick a certain number of features from the week prior and feature them on the current week’s party. Personally I choose 5 features. I make sure that these features are recognized in a tweet and I also share them on other forms of social media besides just Pinterest (or I might add them to a group board). I was featured at the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party this week for my Essential Oils for Dogs post and it felt like the most amazing accomplishment, I was ecstatic! Help your readers experience moments like this for posts you really feel stood out.
[ctt title=”Always recognize bloggers who link up to your party” tweet=”Be sure to always recognize #bloggers who #linkup to your party! Learn how from @pureEwellness http://ctt.ec/rU7fC+” coverup=”rU7fC”]
Make sure you include a line on your party stating that if they link up they are giving you permission to use their image (with credit back to them) on your site if chosen as a featured post. People love being recognized so this should never deter people from linking up, but be sure they are informed.
Marketing your Link Up Party
Ok now you have all the planning done. That means the easy part is done, right? Wrong. Similar to writing a new blog post, the more time-consuming part is often (or should be) the marketing. In order for your link party to be successful, you need to advertise!
Important Components for Promoting Your Party
1. Create a logo for your party. Use a program such as picmonkey to create a square logo for your party. This is the image that will represent your party so chose it wisely. Included on my logo: party name, link up days & time, and my blog URL. Here is an example of my logo (please note I have also created this in a 735X1103px format as well so it is right for Pinterest.
2. Email. Send an email out to your list letting them know you are having a blog party. This may not be a very successful strategy for the first party (depending on the interests of your subscribers). Email plays the biggest role after the first party. This is because InLinkz allows you to use all the email addresses from those who linked up to your party each week. I send an email to my Link-It To Me list as soon as the party goes live each week. Note: you will want to include a line on your link-up stating that by participating, people give you permission to tell them of upcoming parties via email. I also send a reminder email on the last day of the party reminding people they still have time to link up and to encourage them to visit other links if they have not already done so.
3. Facebook Groups. Join some blogging groups on Facebook. Two of my favourites are Show Your Blog Love and Pinterest Promotions for Bloggers. Everyday bloggers are able to add links to their latest pins with the condition that your pin, post, comment, like etc up to a certain number of other posts that are in the feed. This helps to create a sense of community and is a great way to get your party noticed by bloggers. Show Your Blog Love also lets you share tweets, blog posts, and Facebook posts. For both these groups you can add your link daily. If you are part of any other entrepreneurial group, you may be able to post their as well, be sure to always read the group rules. Other groups you may want to use for sharing your party include Better Blogs Share and Blog Hops and Link Parties. These groups are perfect to join if you plan to host a link party!
4. Tweet. Create tweets about your party and tag blogging profiles such as @femalebloggerRT, @BBlogRT, @bloggerwomen and there are many more you can search for. Also (beginning on week 2) send a tweet and tag all of your featured bloggers in it so they know they were featured. I usually create 3-5 tweets per day while my party is running. I use CoSchedule (aff link) which really helps me to create and schedule multiple social media messages at once. CoSchedule lets me set it and forget it, I no longer have to worry during the party to remember to tweet.
5. Click to Tweet. I use added this app to my link party for the first time this week. I have one tweet in the post for those who were featured and another for those who link up. Using this app makes it simple for people to share with others. When you make it easy for them, it seems that people are more than happy to help you spread the word. Check out this post of examples of tweets in the message.
6. Connect with your blogging friends. Let your blogging friends know about your link party and ask them to share with their friends. They will be happy to do this for you!
7. Other Social Media Platforms. Share the party on any other social media platforms you have. Personally I focus more on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter but if you have a good following on other platforms then make sure you share their as well!
I hope this post has been helpful in helping you to consider whether you would like to host a link party! It is quite time-consuming, but I find it to be quite rewarding!
Have I missed any important steps that would help others when they decide to host a link party? I would love to hear your thoughts!