Giveaways with Style
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Post by the lovely Lauren from A Typical Atypical, image by Migraine Chick

Blog giveaways are a huge phenomenon. They have seem to have sprung out of nowhere, and have done so for many reasons. They raise your hits, they attract attention, they encourage commenting. They can even be used to attract subscribers and reinforce your blogs overriding theme. I know of one blog who gives out regular makeup/beauty gifts as provided for reviews/competitions by her willing sponsors, and I myself have recently given out a vintage themed item.

This article aims to do two things. Firstly, it will define a number of different blog competitions. Secondly, it will hopefully allow you to successfully publicize your giveaway, and give it maximum exposure.

So why do a giveaway? There are two main reasons, although everyone has individual aims and expectations.

Marketing

We have probably all done it – been attracted to follow a link with promises of giveaways and rewards. Thousands of people the world over do exactly the same! If you want lots of hits and free publicity, hosting a competition (particularly if the prize is great, of course!) will attract many people. Hopefully, some of them will stay around once the giveaway is gone! This works especially well if you have a subscriber link – all new subscribers could be entered into the draw – really encouraging them to get involved for a long time!

Sharing

Blogging is a world built on reciprocal behaviour. Etiquette suggests that you comment back when someone comments on you posts, and dictates that linking to you means at least acknowledging that link. There are no hard and fast rules, of course, but giving tends to turn into receiving. Very Karmic! Offer readers something in return for being a loyal follower not only makes you feel great, but could make someone’s day!

So you’ve decided a giveaway is your thing, and you want to take the steps to make it happen. Remember that big giveaways can be coordinated with sponsors or companies looking to do some promoting, and it is worth contacting people if you don’t already have an item to give, or can’t afford to buy one. Check out LittleBirdie on the IFB site! Don’t be afraid, however, to do giveaways for little prizes – there will always be people who want them to complete their world!

These tips will help you successfully promote your competition.

  1. Mention your giveaway before you actually do it. Let people know, and get them returning to see when it starts.
  2. Pre-promote – send out an email alert to any followers, Twitter it, update it as your status on facebook.
  3. Pack your giveaway blog post with key words. Giveaway, free competition, prizes, freebies – all of these will work. Also ensure that you add your tags and categories. You want your blog to show up in as many searches as possible!
  4. Describe your prize, deadline, conditions etc. The more info people know, the more likely they are to enter themselves, or put your competitions on their sites.
  5. Publicise. Once your competition is up and running you need to start trawling the forums. If you are giving away a vintage item, for example, visit vintage forums and become a member – then report your competition there. Add it to any blog freebie sites you use or come across in Google, and also onto forums such as Moneysavingexpert.com. Finally, remember the people running blogs listing giveaways – you can officially submit your competition to any number of these.
  6. Finally, make sure that you don’t just post your competition and forget about it – that means anyone who comes onto your blog a few posts down the line will completely miss it. Keep linking back to it in future posts in order to encourage the back and forth flow of traffic.

So now you know all the secret tips – and the lovely IFB members will be able to tell you more on the Forums if you need some specific help. Go forth and give!

Resources:

  1. LittleBirdie
  2. PR: Frienemy or BFF?
  3. IFB Forums: Giveaway/Events Feature

Comments

  1. Great tips, lady! I found this part especially curious, as I’m not quite sure what you meant… by RSS subscribers, email subscribers? Is there a subscriber link that I’m missing on?

    “This works especially well if you have a subscriber link – all new subscribers could be entered into the draw – really encouraging them to get involved for a long time!”

  2. Lauren says:

    Hi Ashe

    Some blogs (I think it differs from provider to provider, and also as to what widgets you have etc) have the option for regluar readers to sign up for email alerts/newsletters. This means you can enter all new subscribers (between certain dates) into the competition, and hence catch yourself a captive audience.

    Does that make any more sense?

  3. Sherin says:

    This is really good advice, and what perfect timing…my blog is doing a giveway at the moment (check it out).

  4. Mary Hall says:

    Nice post and very timely! I am giving away a copy of the book City Chic on my blog today if anyone is interested at:
    http://therecessionista.blogspot.com/2009/05/city-chic-recessionistas-book-giveaway.html

    I let new & existing subscribers register to win it.

  5. apricot tea. says:

    Thank you so, so much for writing this. This came RIGHT on time, because I am launching an advice column (http://askapricot.com) & doing a giveaway tomorrow! Seriously, the timing couldn’t be any better. :] Thank you for taking the time to write this. I’m going to implement your suggestions in my post.

  6. Great tips and they do work…famously. =D

  7. Now this might be a silly question, but who pays the postage on a giveaway? The blogger? The recipient?

    Thanks,
    Kelsey

  8. Great post, and very timely for me! I do an on-going contest – every comment is entered for the giveaway that happens every 100 posts (which turns out to be monthly or bit longer).

    I don’t know what it is, but I have a very low comment ratio compared to many blogs who rank far behind me but have chatty readers (though it’s picking up). So I’m trying to build more of a community.

    Adding to Jennine’s tip about not forgetting about the contest, I have a bright GIVEAWAY button in my left sidebar that links to the most recent news on the contest so I don’t have to worry about people missing the post.

    By the way, I’ve just decided to give away one 1920s English tea cup and saucer from my collection. I don’t need them all and I love giving really good prizes.

  9. I absolutely love it. I’ve seen more and more sites making lists contests on their sites. I love it. Even a few twitter feeds as to where to get the swag. In the current economic state, anything snagged is helpful on the wallet. I’ve even entered a few myself – got a great book and a snuggie (I know right) for free! Love free books and now I have something to cuddle in (as creepy as the snuggie may be).

    Macala

  10. Ooops, sorry, Lauren! I thought it was Jennine!

  11. julia says:

    Dpes anyone have any suggestions for sites to publicize giveaways on? I’ve been using a few, like net-sweeps, but some of them require you to pay, put up a banner to their site, etc. Would love to hear where others have posted their giveaways! Also, what do you guys do about picking a winner?
    thanks!
    Julia

  12. agentnoir says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I don’t think this could’ve come at any better of a time. I just did a giveaway a couple of weeks ago and have been approached to do another. I love the spike in hits it offers and the special something it provides for my readers but I was at odds of how to make the next one more exciting and engaging. These tips have definitely helped! I like that they’re a more graceful and respectful way of encouraging participation, versus just spamming your twitter followers & facebook friends! :) Great job! xx

  13. kiD GQ says:

    Great tips. Coincidentally, today over at http://www.kiDGQ.com we have started our own giveaway. Visit http://www.kiDGQ.com for more information on how to win a free, functional, and stylish Apple MacBook sleeve.

  14. La Carmina says:

    Perfect timing for me too – I’m currently having a giveaway to promote my new cute kitty (Scottish Fold) blog!

    http://lacarmina.com/basilfarrow

    Once, I got my cat Basil Farrow to pick the winners with his paw – and posted a video showing how he did it!

  15. suzanne says:

    This is such a great idea. I got the idea from someone else, and just tried it! But I kept it low key for my current followers and traffic. But mentioning on Forums is a great idea!

  16. ShoeLaLa says:

    great ideas! I’ve never done a giveaway, but maybe I will…

  17. I’ve been contemplating holding a giveaway at Cafe Fashionista; maybe now is the time to finally execute the plan. Great piece! :)

  18. MizzJ says:

    Giveaways are a great way to give back to your readers and entice new ones, especially if the contests are interesting. I read somewhere that they shouldn’t be over done though in case it detracts from your actual content. Thanks for these tips!

  19. This is really useful, as I’m thinking of doing a giveaway for my birthday – thank you! x

  20. kiD GQ says:

    You should do a post on email etiquette.

  21. Amber says:

    Such a great article! As always….

    We are having a contest for our Painfully Hip Roadtrip! The prize is a personalized thrifted prize package and a gift certificate to our Etsy store if your favorite thrift store is the best.

    Check it out!
    http://www.painfullyhip.com/2009/05/painfully-hip-roadtrip-contest/

  22. dreamsequins says:

    What a germane topic! I am running my first giveaway to coincide with my 100th posting :) Thanks for these lovely suggestions… And please do check out the entry on my blog for a chance to win something cool. http://dreamsequins.blogspot.com/2009/05/enter-to-win-dream-sequins-100th-post.html

  23. Wicked Halo says:

    I’m also hosting a giveaway on my blog, for some Margo Morrison earrings, check it out:
    http://wickedhalo.blogspot.com/2009/04/margo-morrison-giveaway.html

    Somebody asked about where you could advertise your giveaways, I tend to make a list of blogs having giveaways:
    http://wickedhalo.blogspot.com/2008/07/giveaway-guide.html ,

    and I also know of this other blog called The Giveaway Diva
    http://thegiveawaydiva.blogspot.com/

  24. Aspirestyle says:

    What an interesting post! According to some advice we got from a PR guru (Paula Gardner – twiiter @doyourownpr), giveaways and competitions are the future in terms of PR and marketing not only for blogs but also for online mag competitions etc.

  25. Great post! Very informative!
    Its really nice reading these posts.

  26. h.anna says:

    such an helpful article, because i am doing a giveaway right now! so please join :D

  27. Thanks for the great tips. Will definitely use these.

    :)

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