10 Tips for Managing Your Blog Carnival Submissions

Blogging carnivals can be a very effective way to promote your website and build links. They’re free, requiring only your time to find and submit URLs to appropriate carnivals, and writing good content to submit.

I’ve been running several carnivals for clients and it gets tedious at times to keep track of submissions. Because many blog carnival hosts prefer only one submission per person per week, it’s simple etiquette to track the URLs you’ve sent, when you did, etc.

If you are running a link building campaign, it’s also good to track which carnivals accepted your entries so that you can link back. (It’s also carnival etiquette, though unfortunately too many bloggers don’t bother linking back.)

Keeping track of at least your carnival submissions simply takes a bit of organization.

Basic strategy:

  1. Create two spreadsheets for weekly use:
    1. Track the articles you’ve submitted and where.
      • Column 1: URL of the article submitted.
      • Col 2: Date of submission.
      • Col 3: Carnival name
      • Col 4: Status (accepted or not)
      • Col 5: If accepted, then the URL of the carnival edition.

      Update this spreadsheet whenever you (1) have a new quality article to promote, (2) have submitted an article to a carnival, or (3) have been accepted to a carnival.

    2. Track most recent submission to any carnival. There is obviously a bit of overlap, but this sheet also serves to be an easy reference to any carnivals you’ve previously submitted to.
      • Col 1: Carnival name.
      • Col 2: Carnival submission page URL.
      • Col 3: Homepage of carnival [optional].
      • Col 4: Next edition [optional]
      • Col 5: Last URL submitted.
      • Col 6: When submitted.

      What I do is after a submitted article has been published to a carnival, I clear out the info in Cols 5-6.

    Summary:

    • From spreadsheet 1, I can see which articles haven’t been promoted enough, whether due to lack of enough submissions, or because they were not accepted.
    • From spreadsheet 2, I remind myself to check if a carnival submitted to has published the article in question.
    • I use Google Spreadsheets because they’re easy to use and can be shared teammates and/or clients.
  2. Each week, choose 2-3 articles to submit to 3-5 carnivals each. Keep in mind that your blogging niche may or may not have enough weekly carnivals. Do your best. Get creative in the next step.
  3. For each article you intend to submit, make a short list of 3-5 keywords/ tags/ categories.
  4. Using the first item in the keyword list for an article, search for appropriate carnivals at BlogCarnival.
  5. Read over the carnival description, and if you’re article suits, submit it.
  6. Repeat this with any of the keywords until you’ve submitted the same article to 3-5 different carnivals.
  7. Repeat the process with each article you’re promoting that week. Remember to keep track in your spreadsheets.

Additional strategy:
Here are a few extra tips that I use.

  1. If you’re having a hard time finding appropriate carnivals:
    1. Make a mindmap of the article titles to be promoted.
    2. Brainstorm keywords for each title..
    3. Now search for new carnivals for each keyword.
  2. Were you accepted to any carnivals? Track accepted submissions in Technorati. Simply type in your blog’s full homepage URL in the Technorati search field to see what blogs have linked to you. (If a website links, Technorati will not pick it up.)
  3. Automate the tracking process using the Technorati API and custom code. I use the API features in a custom Yahoo! Pipes pipe to first search for any “Cosmos” links to my blog, then filter the list further by only looking at entries with the word “Carnival”. Unfortunately, due to some glitch, this Pipe only works in debug mode. I’ll release it here when it functions properly.