Image by allerleirau
The holidays are as exciting a time for bloggers as they are in our every day lives. The fashion community becomes filled with sequins and party gowns, tinsel and toys for the boys in our lives, and you half expect your feed reader to sing carols when you open it each morning. Our feed readers become heavy and bursting with giveaways and treats galore. There is the enticement of gift guides. They can be a great way to bring in extra holiday income if your site is monetized with affiliates networks and programs, each of those outbound links becoming the potential for a passive income stream.
In all of this, you have to decide what your own site's relationship is with the holidays, and how you should approach it. Helping me with this is Kelsi from Dedicated Follower of Fashion— she's hosting Gifted: the 12 Days of Christmas which is a combination of great giveaways AND gift guides– all with that unique Kelsi twist!
Tips & Tricks for Giveaways:
Ever wanted to host oodles and mountains of giveaways at the holidays, to shower your readers with goodies to show them how loved and appreciated they are? Ever wonder how your favorite bloggers manage to have 10 days, 15 days, or 25 days of holiday giveaways?
- Do you have the time & energy to commit to many giveaways?
Kelsi brought up this great point, Giveaways actually take a lot of time – and for the most part, while their wonderful for driving traffic to your blog, the person getting the most out of it is the brand. So try and make sure there's something in it for you. That can be one to giveaway, one for you, paid advertising or perhaps you really want the traffic. I will do a giveaway if there's nothing in it for me (from a material perspective) if I'm a huge supporter of the brand itself and would like to help them – but that decision is up to you.
- Make sure your readers have time for it.
How often do you see a giveaway, but there are so many rules and stipulations that you don't enter? Kelsi agreed, saying, It actually fascinates me how hard it is to convince someone to spend 30 seconds of their life to get something for free, so don't make it too complicated.
- Ask for it. It's easy as a blogger to sit back and wait for companies to approach you– whether with press releases and lookbooks or for advertising, giveaways, and other opportunities. At a certain point, you need to become proactive– contacting companies you think would be a great match for your site and striving to build that relationship. What better time than the holidays?
- Are you so desperate for giveaways and ways to attract new readers, that you're building relationships with companies that don't fit your site & readers?
Just remember–there are always more companies to work with. It's okay to say, “I don't think this is a good match, but keep me in mind for future collaborations!”
- Make sure you're passionate about the product.
Kelsi said, It's important to actually get behind the product you're giving away – as I said before – it takes work to run a successful giveaway, and if you don't want the product it makes it all the more difficult. When reader's time is more limited during the holiday season, make sure that you're impacting what little time they can give you in the best way possible!
Tips & Tricks for Gift Guides:
- Is your site focused in one way so that a gift guide would see out of place or inappropriate? Have you planned your gift guides in advance?
I was in the middle of relocating last holiday season, so I ended up doing an easy, thoughtless, gift-a-day series, and it was probably one of my least success periods. (So note! Don't do like I did.)
- Does it fit in with the style of my site?
For me, a gift suggestion a day wasn't so successful– the few that were? They were ones that already fit in with series I had developed throughout the regular year (like suggestions for great indie-made gifts). Suggesting Bump-its and Snuggies (as amazing as I think both are!) was lost on my readers.
- Vary your budget.
Kelsi says, give a price point for everyone some people might be looking to buy someone a big ticket present – others may be on a tight budget. It's always fun to do a budget restricted one (under $50 or under $25…)!
- Can I do it differently?
Kelsi offered up this tip: When writing a gift guide it's important to remember everyone and their mother is writing a gift guide at this time of year – so how can you stand out? Stay away from the standards – don't do a gift guide for her/him/mom/dad, what two “her's” are really the same? I create characters when I do my gift guides, I envision a character and then I think about what that person would want. It produces some originality to your posts – which is really what we all strive for!
Kelsi's last, and perhaps best tip for gift guides?
Keep it simple by limiting your choices. I've done pages of gifts before but it's not as effective as narrowing it down to a few sound choices.
Are you posting holiday gift guides this season? What about hosting giveaways? Do you have any secrets to success or lessons learned to share?