Here is a list of the top ten things that I learned by entering Shoemoney’s 2008 SEO ThinkTank contest. I’ll be sure to try to apply this to any other blogging contest that comes up.

9. Keep Things Simple. As far as blog design goes, simpler is better. Don’t go for the fancy layouts and graphics. It just makes your blog look dated or unprofessional.

8. Consider submitting a top ten list! Reviewers (and Diggers) like lists.

7. Don’t be afraid to GROVEL. Groveling is a strategy! Its not beneath you! We had one contestant offer his personal concierge service. Another offered personal massages

6. Be Human. Let your unique traits and weaknesses, hopes and fears show. Its what makes us human and more interesting. If you strip all of this out of your post, it becomes dull and boring. One contestant caught the judges attention by admitting his infatuation for the lovely Pam Lundgren.

5. Interact with other contestants – help each other out or give each other moral support. Its a good bet that other contestants at your level, are feeling the exact same doubts as you are. Plus, chances are that they will interact with other contestants or with some of the judges and you start building up your rep. and social network.

4. Clearly state what you have to offer. The majority of contestants tended to trumpet their own skills and accomplishments. The few that clearly stated what they had to offer the group (even through groveling) stood out from the other entries

3. Congratulate the winner – add graciousness to your rep. Also thank them, as they’ve probably got a ton of useful content on their blog, plus, now you’ve got a great reason to talk to them at the next SEO conference.

2. Brand Yourself – two words on this – Furry Hat. All the reviewers remember Furry Hat Guy! They will remember him when he shows up again on-line or at the next conference.

1. Enter even if you don’t think you can win. It provides valuable hands on experiencing in blogging, generating great content, branding, networking, etc. It gives your site great exposure. You introduce yourself to some top level SEO/Internet Marketers. Plus, you get to practice using Google Analytics and other traffic tools as you watch the traffic on your site. As an added bonus, It also provides a ton of content for your followup blog!

Yes, I know, I only have 9 things listed. I just can’t think of the tenth item. Anyone have any suggestions for a 10th item?