Help me build the perfect myBlog contest!

chris

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#1
Over the past few years, we've had a few awesome contests giving away Apple Store Gift Cards, iPhones (both first gen and 3G) and iTunes Gift Cards. We've had incentive based programs (App Store Review contest, iPhone Social) and the good old random drawing (Forum Membership Drive, etc.)

For those of you who don't know (and I must not be doing my job if that's the case), we recently rolled out the myBlog App in conjunction with the iPhone Community Blog. Simply put, all 56,000 members of this site have the capability to blog here at EIC (with certain restrictions and of course meeting a certain standard of quality).

As with iPhone Social, myBlog and the iPhone Community Blog is yet another example of EIC expanding what you've come to expect from a community. The forums here are by far the best when it comes to the iPhone. I attribute that to a great community that started forming here before Steve Jobs even took the stage to announce the first iPhone.

Back in June, I discussed the idea of member blogs here at EIC. To say response was lukewarm, would be embellishing just a bit. Most feel comfortable within the friendly confines of the forum. But it shouldn't be one or the other. I think blogs are just another way to expand what we're doing here in the forums. I think jpmihalk said it best, "I think blogs have a usefulness as a way to just stream consciousness or to describe in detail a use or feature or example of something. They are just another tool. For those who think the forums are enough, think about some of the longer posts you haver read and how hard it can be to find what you are looking for - the blog could be the way to go get that detail"

Fortunately, I never did rollout the blog feature back in June. At the time, I was planning on utilizing the forum software and honestly it's not a very elegant blog solution. Thankfully, that's all changed. The myBlog App is high quality blogging tool that is the very same used by the staff of EIC.

So here we are... we've got an awesome community, the absolute best forums and an opportunity to redefine the meaning of an online community. The members of EIC have helped create a wealth of information in the forums. I'm hoping we can break the mold and bring this information into the iPhone Community Blog.

In an effort to generate more excitement, interest and high quality content, I'd like to create a contest. I'm asking members for suggestions. What are prizes you'd like to see? How should we select the winner(s)? How can we get more people involved in the iPhone Community Blog? How can we make it a source for everythingiPhone or should I say everythingiCafe.:eek:

Sorry for the long post. Probably should have blogged about it.;)

-Chris
 
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patrickj

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#2
Prizes = I like the iTunes gift card best - especially now that many of us spend way too much on the App Store :)

How to select winners = I think maybe a having a 'Best Post' winner in each of the top-level categories might be good, to start filling out some content in all of them, as well as giving a shot to different sorts of posts. Means less comparing of Apples to oranges as well (a rumors post is very different to a how-to)

How to get more people involved = maybe do a daily forum post highlighting one noteworthy blog post of the day, or highlighting a selection of notable posts of the day as content grows ...
 

psylichon

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#3
Can't go wrong with iTunes gift cards around here. It's trite, but universally desired.

I suppose my reluctance to start blogging is that I feel like I would be repeating myself here in the forums. I've had plenty of bloggish posts in my time here, but should I just go and reformat them a bit for the blog area or is that pretentious? If I have a new idea that I want input from the community, do I do start a blog or a new thread or both? I'm just not sure where the line is for me.

I'm also a blogging noob, bear with me. :)
 

kokogirl

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#4
iTunes gift cards would be an awesome prize! I am not really into blogging but I think I could warm up some blogging chops for a contest of some sort...
 

patrickj

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#5
I suppose my reluctance to start blogging is that I feel like I would be repeating myself here in the forums. I've had plenty of bloggish posts in my time here, but should I just go and reformat them a bit for the blog area or is that pretentious? If I have a new idea that I want input from the community, do I do start a blog or a new thread or both? I'm just not sure where the line is for me.

I'm also a blogging noob, bear with me. :)
Those seem like good questions to me. I would tend to assume that my best starting point to search for *answers* would be the forums and perhaps next the video section. Whereas for news / opinions, I'd tend to think of the blog area. Or does a search return results from all of these areas anyway?
 

Swagger

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#6
Chris,
I'm thinking of a great blog to write just to make you happy. So get ready because you know it will be hot!:laugh2:.

Seriously Chris. I think the post to appear time may be a bit to long. Waiting so long to approve or disapprove ones blog might just make it old news and pointless to write. Here in the forum we can have right now.

Just My
 

chris

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#7
Seriously Chris. I think the post to appear time may be a bit to long. Waiting so long to approve or disapprove ones blog might just make it old news and pointless to write. Here in the forum we can have right now.

Just My
Typically, quality well-written blogs will be published pretty quickly. I might consider instant publishing for approved writers – once I feel comfortable with their articles.

I would tend to assume that my best starting point to search for *answers* would be the forums and perhaps next the video section. Whereas for news / opinions, I'd tend to think of the blog area. Or does a search return results from all of these areas anyway?
I think the forums will always be the go to section for help. The comments section of the blogs also allows for "conversations" regarding a topic.

Of course, someone could author an article and then link to a new or existing forum discussion.

If I have a new idea that I want input from the community, do I do start a blog or a new thread or both?
I'd say both and where possible reference the other. They are different animals or communication points. Perhaps even different audiences. You'll see posts in the forums regarding a news story, often with a link to an external site. What if that poster wrote a small blog informing readers of "Insert News Story" and then followed it up in the forums. I guess perhaps I'm asking a lot, but that would an ideal scenario. Community blog gets built up with relevant news, how-to-guides, etc. and it's backed by a truly awesome forum.

For example, you referenced an Orb for Mac release. A quick paragraph in the blog explaining why this is news and then post for discussion in the forums. Again to Mark's point, why post in the blog when you get the instant satisfaction of the forums.

-Chris
 

chris

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#8
BTW, thank you to those who have offered up suggestions on prizes. Keep them coming!
 

Swagger

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I'd say both and where possible reference the other. They are different animals or communication points. Perhaps even different audiences. You'll see posts in the forums regarding a news story, often with a link to an external site. What if that poster wrote a small blog informing readers of "Insert News Story" and then followed it up in the forums. I guess perhaps I'm asking a lot, but that would an ideal scenario. Community blog gets built up with relevant news, how-to-guides, etc. and it's backed by a truly awesome forum.

For example, you referenced an Orb for Mac release. A quick paragraph in the blog explaining why this is news and then post for discussion in the forums. Again to Mark's point, why post in the blog when you get the instant satisfaction of the forums.
Chris,
I just had a brainstorm. You are not asking to much. This could be accomplished using cut & paste (needless to say from a computer or "Other" mobile device). Then you could tweak it a bit in either medium so as to not make the blog and forum redundant...Mark
 

chris

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#10
Chris,
I just had a brainstorm. You are not asking to much. This could be accomplished using cut & paste (needless to say from a computer or "Other" mobile device). Then you could tweak it a bit in either medium so as to not make the blog and forum redundant...Mark
Copy and paste would be perfectly acceptable. In fact, maybe the topic starts in the forums and then moves outward to the blog. My thing has always been trying to find a way to squeeze out all the valuable info and bring it the "mainstream" if you will or those with a resistance to forums. Stories linking to the forums could generate more forum activity and vice versa. Let's take Dave's ORB discussion. If he were to post a blog about it and link to the discussion topic, I'd venture to say that topic generates more interest. More blog content generates more interest in the site as a whole. More site traffic->more forum traffic->more discussion. Rinse and repeat.:)

-Chris
 

Swagger

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#11
Copy and paste would be perfectly acceptable. In fact, maybe the topic starts in the forums and then moves outward to the blog. My thing has always been trying to find a way to squeeze out all the valuable info and bring it the "mainstream" if you will or those with a resistance to forums. Stories linking to the forums could generate more forum activity and vice versa. Let's take Dave's ORB discussion. If he were to post a blog about it and link to the discussion topic, I'd venture to say that topic generates more interest. More blog content generates more interest in the site as a whole. More site traffic->more forum traffic->more discussion. Rinse and repeat.:)

-Chris
Makes sense to me. I will start using this formula next time I feel compelled to write one of my page long posts. LOL..:laugh2: Mark
 

patrickj

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#12
If he were to post a blog about it and link to the discussion topic, I'd venture to say that topic generates more interest. More blog content generates more interest in the site as a whole. More site traffic->more forum traffic->more discussion. Rinse and repeat.:)

-Chris
And that's a good thing for all of us! More good discussions.

Get on with it now Dave, for f*** sake :laugh2:
 

chris

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#13
Just one more note, I think that sometimes forum topics get lost in the shuffle. We've got a ton of topics, a ton of posts every day and it's sometimes hard for readers to disseminate the information. RSS readers, Tags, Categories, etc. make it easier to find news bits.

I'll use Dave's Orb topic as an example. I saw it earlier today. When I went to reference it in this discussion, I wasn't sure where to look. Being a three letter word, the forum search software wouldn't help. I ended up looking in General Discussion. In a few days, that'll be buried unless it generates significant discussion. That would not be the case if it were in the Community Blog. Of course, if it starts generating a significant amount of news articles, it might be a bit more difficult...but I doubt it. Between Tags, Categories and Search, it's not that hard to track down.
 

chris

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#14
Makes sense to me. I will start using this formula next time I feel compelled to write one of my page long posts. LOL..:laugh2: Mark
Mark-
One of the more active discussions is Apple's decision not to include a charger with the iPod touch. I couldn't think of a more perfect blog post. Your interaction regarding your opinions on this topic would take place both in the comments section and the forums. The blog post would have more of chance of gaining traction in other blogs, etc. and also reach a different audience. I'd venture to say we have readers who do not visit the forums and readers who do not visit the blog. In a perfect world, moving from the forums to blog and back will feel "natural". Same goes for the social area.


Your blog entry would of course fall in the Editorial section.

-Chris
 

Swagger

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Mark-
One of the more active discussions is Apple's decision not to include a charger with the iPod touch. I couldn't think of a more perfect blog post. Your interaction regarding your opinions on this topic would take place both in the comments section and the forums. The blog post would have more of chance of gaining traction in other blogs, etc. and also reach a different audience. I'd venture to say we have readers who do not visit the forums and readers who do not visit the blog. In a perfect world, moving from the forums to blog and back will feel "natural". Same goes for the social area.


Your blog entry would of course fall in the Editorial section.

-Chris
I will work on editing it for the blog tonight. Thanks Chris...Mark
 

patrickj

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#16
One thing I've seen at another mobile forums / news site is a 'bridging' sort of thing between all news / blog posts and the forums.

I get the impression it may be a technical nightmare to get it right, but I think it allows for things like:

Every new blog post automatically generates a forum post as well, in the appropriate section. And all comments on the blog post also flow to the equivalent forum post.

I may have some of that skewed, but that seems a sweet level of integration if do-able ...
 

chris

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#17
One thing I've seen at another mobile forums / news site is a 'bridging' sort of thing between all news / blog posts and the forums.

I get the impression it may be a technical nightmare to get it right, but I think it allows for things like:

Every new blog post automatically generates a forum post as well, in the appropriate section. And all comments on the blog post also flow to the equivalent forum post.

I may have some of that skewed, but that seems a sweet level of integration if do-able ...
I've seen that integration. I know MR has it and others. They give up blog features such as traditional commenting. In order to comment, you need to be a member of the forum and it's tough getting people to register.

My set up is a bit reversed. Once you register in the forum, the integration works the other way...enabling social, blog, review features. Once you register for the forum, you get all that good stuff.:p Non-members can still add comments and reviews. Of course, registration enables all those to be tracked in iPhone Social with the use of My Comments, My Reviews, My Videos, etc.

It is difficult using various bits of software and creating one user experience. I think I'm the closest I've been in years, thanks to a few great developers. It's far from perfect, but it's getting there.
 

patrickj

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#18
I've seen that integration. I know MR has it and others. They give up blog features such as traditional commenting. In order to comment, you need to be a member of the forum and it's tough getting people to register.

My set up is a bit reversed. Once you register in the forum, the integration works the other way...enabling social, blog, review features. Once you register for the forum, you get all that good stuff.:p Non-members can still add comments and reviews. Of course, registration enables all those to be tracked in iPhone Social with the use of My Comments, My Reviews, My Videos, etc.

It is difficult using various bits of software and creating one user experience. I think I'm the closest I've been in years, thanks to a few great developers. It's far from perfect, but it's getting there.
That makes sense. I suppose, like most of us, I still need to really get to know my way round a lot of the new features / sections / apps. I like the Social section a lot so far ...
 

fury

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#19
I like the idea of sampling a number of categories for winning blog posts. Possibly a grand prize winner as well, who might get a larger prize, or a featured blog, or a place as an official blogger for EIC.

If there is someone making a broad spectrum of blog posts, though, and they're all quality, how would you decide which one they win at? Or could they win more than once?

If you have a grand prize winner, my suggestion is for the contest to continue for quite a while, having drawings weekly or monthly for the smaller prizes, and then a possible grand prize condition to be consistent quality blogging over a longer period of time. Because, after all, that's what ultimately draws traffic, rather than the growth spurt inspired by the contest followed by stagnation.

In the interest of drawing more readers and/or contributors, another possible winning condition could be based on the most referrals to the site (forum registration referrals? click-through referrals from their own blogs/forums? dunno, not an expert in this)

Can Apple gift cards be used the same way as iTunes gift cards? i.e. I can plug an access code into my iPod touch on the iTunes music store to redeem my gift value...
 

psylichon

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#20
I'm all for starting my "bloggy" threads as actual blogs and referencing them in the forums. It's a little messy to read comments in two areas, but I've certainly dealt with worse before :)

Anything to help out the site. I'll be checking out the new features my next day off (that I won't be partying my ass off).

Cheers, Chris.