10 Tips For Increasing Your Influence With A Giveaway

In my observations of the blogging community, there seems to be one democratic, equal-opportunity element that any blogger can get involved in: giveaways. (Speaking of democratic, why not refresh your memory on IFB's new blogging politics). For brands, a giveaway is an easy (and inexpensive) way to get their name and product in front of a new audience (and eventually into their hands as well). For bloggers, the rewards are numerous. And don't forget, everyone loves free stuff. Let's discuss, shall we?

 

The Three Big Wins Of Giveaways for Bloggers:

  • Build your relationship with a brand
  • Increase traffic & comments on your site
  • Grow your social media following

 

So, how do you accomplish each of these goals? Well, they all fuse together pretty naturally through the execution of the giveaway, the promotion and the follow-up once you have selected a winner (or winners, as the case may be). With the right mix of enthusiasm, clarity and discretion, giveaways become a fantastic way to promote the brands you love, engage and excite your readers and drive more traffic to all your online channels.

1. Use your skills of Romancing The Brand‘ to start a relationship and propose a giveaway with a brand that YOU want to work with: Lead off with a polite and enthusiastic email, tell the brand why you want to work with them specifically, and propose exactly how you would execute it. Make sure you actually like the product they would like to supply (or are comfortable with the amount, if it's a gift card) so you remain genuine and true to your tastes!

 

2. Use a blog post to announce the giveaway: This might sound like a major “Duh!” to some of you, but truly you don't have to announce a giveaway with a post (you could exclusively use social media). I think using a post is helpful though because you can incorporate lots of images and don't run the risk of running out of characters to explain the rules! Don't forget to announce a cut-off date for entries, and to update the post when it's closed.

 

3. Track entries by asking participants to leave a comment: Through observation and experience, it seems the easiest way to track giveaway entries (and get in touch with the winner) is through leaving a comment on the post that announces the giveaway.

 

4. Allow entries through Twitter / Facebook; use the brand's handle: To really boost your visibility and promote your giveaway, you should absolutely promote it on social media. Ask your entrants to tweet something specific, and make sure it includes the handle (or hyper-linked page on Facebook) of the brand you're working with (as well as your own!). This way the brand will be encouraged to “retweet” entries, and broaden your exposure even further. Additionally, once you select your winner, you can announce it via social media – and your winner can share it as well.

 

5. Work with the brand to create a #hashtag to track entries: When you give your readers and followers instructions on how and what to tweet to enter your giveaway, using a hashtag makes it very easy to then find all your social media entries once you've closed the giveaway. (Just enter it in the search box!) Discuss with the brand what hashtag they might want to use – depending on if they're promoting the product with other bloggers, they might already have one in mind.

 

6. Figure out first if you're going to have the brand mail out the winnings or you're going to ship them: This is a detail to figure out right off the bat – and it depends on how you want your giveaway to go. If the brand sends the product (or gift certificate, etc) to you, you can photograph it or model it for your readers. That also means that you're responsible for contacting the winner for their mailing address and paying the shipping charges to deliver their prize. It can be easier to have the brand take care of delivering the product, especially if it's something sized like jeans or shoes.

 

7. Where can people enter from? Think about shipping: Another small but important detail! Be sure to state clearly where you will except entries from. If you're not going to be shipping the item, ask the brand where they are willing to ship to.

 

8. Register your giveaway with a site like Free Gretchen: As we stated in our ‘50 Online Tools To Better Your Blog‘ post, sites like Free Gretchen can really boost the traffic and entry numbers for your giveaway. Someone may find your blog this way and become a loyal reader!

 

9. Keep an eye on your content, don't over-saturate with giveaways: According to companies like Rue La La, it can be unattractive to see a blog with too many giveaways, which could indicate that you don't discriminate or take care in choosing to work only with brands you identify with. Try and strike a balance so that each giveaway is exciting for you and your followers!

 

10. Be sure to distinguish if you're hosting a giveaway or a contest: Lastly, you must decide if you're hosting a contest or a giveaway. Both have a winner, but a contest implies that you'll choose that winner based on the qualities of their entry. The term ‘giveaway' implies that you will select your winner at random. And how do you do that? Count up all your entries (both comments and through social media), and assign each one a number. Then use Random.org to select a winning number – tada!

 

Have you ever run a giveaway on your blog? Do you find that it helped your traffic and following?

 

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52 Responses

  1. Courtney

    I would say before you do a giveaway with a brand, make sure you build the relationship first by accepting ads from them or doing a product review. You want to make sure that the brand is trustworthy because some brands don’t entirely understand bloggers.

    Reply
    • Still Blonde after all these YEARS

      It’s not essential for me to have a “relationship” upfront to do a giveaway. However, Courtney you make a great point..you want to make sure your brand is understood. I find that spelling out all the details in my “giveaway” pitch letter can establish this foundation.

      Reply
    • Lata

      Agree! Especially when you are the face of the blog. I would only do a giveaway for something I have personally used and would recommend. Builds trust with my followers.

      Reply
  2. Rachel

    My friend had developed an Amazing Organic Hair Moisturizer that also works great on skin, face and hands
    HairOlicious Natural & Organic Hair Care
    She is trying to get market exposure but it is hard as the industry is dominated by mega-corps and their products. She would be interested in working with blogs to help promote her great product

    Reply
    • Still Blonde after all these YEARS

      I could’t agree more FRUGAL. I gain a handful of new consistent followers from every giveaway. They would have never of heard of my blog except for the giveaway but they stay around for all the other fun stuff.

      Reply
  3. Elizabetj

    I have never done a giveaway as I dont have many followers only 5! haha so i think its anit cheeky just to do a giveaway only to get more followers!

    Reply
  4. Rikki-lee L

    This was super helpful! I have been looking at doing a giveaway on my blog for awhile now but wasn’t sure how to go about it.
    Now I have some guidance!

    Great post 🙂
    x

    Reply
  5. Jade

    Such helpful advice! This is why I got the IFB for my blogging questions. Will definitely keep this list in mind for my next giveaway xx

    Reply
  6. eli

    Thanks so much! I’ve been planning a giveaway for so long and now I feel more confident about doing it.
    You’re awesome!

    eli
    eli-a-porter.blogspot.com

    Reply
  7. Broke & Beautiful

    I’ve been using Google Documents (Forms & Spreadsheets) to organize my giveaway entries for the last year, and I would never go back to hand-counting entries or comments!

    Reply
    • Still Blonde after all these YEARS

      Hi Broke & Beautiful, you should check out Rafflecopter (its totally free). Most bloggers who do regular giveaways use it. It counts all entries for you, put them into a spread sheet, does all the coding, etc. You can see an example on my blog, I don’t want to put a link because, obviously, giveaways end. But if you click my name, all my giveaways are always listed on the right hand side of my blog. I SOOO agree with you on handcounting. Very time consuming.

      Reply
  8. Broke & Beautiful

    I also have no beef with asking for compensation for a giveaway. There is a whole lot of work that goes into a giveaway (and we mainly like to do review-giveaways, which includes a text review, photo review, social media maintenance of the giveaway, the backend selection & announcement, etc.).

    You should be compensated for the value you bring to the brand by widening their audience and contributing to their success – they should contribute to yours!

    Reply
    • Denise

      Absolutely. This is a point that should be included in the post. While you may increase your followers temporarily, it’s not good quality support, they did it to get something and many will unfollow/unlike afterward. You want people to follow you because they love what you do. In fact, there’s a blogger I respect who has a large, genuine following and she uses giveaways as a reward, no longer asking for follows. I don’t bother with giveaways any longer because as you say, there is a lot of work involved, and we’re the ones who benefit the least.

      Has anyone noticed the most popular blogs don’t do them?

      Reply
  9. River Sun

    This post is so informative, i always thought that a giveaway is something you do 2 promote your own blog, so the blog owner is the 1 who get the gift, 2 Do a Giveaway of ” a brand ” is new 2 me. thanks IFB.

    Reply
  10. Crystin

    I’ve done a giveaway before. I promoted it through tumblr, twitter, and facebook and I’ve gotten as many as 100 followers in one shot.

    Reply
    • Still Blonde after all these YEARS

      It’s true Crystin, you can really build your followers with a giveaway. Some will stick around, some were there for the prize. It’s also a great way to increase your Facebook engagement because you can announce the giveaway, feature an outfit post related to the giveaway, ask people to enter with the giveaway, most companies will give you a shoutout on their page and post your outfit post as well.

      Reply
  11. Jessica @ Beautify My Life

    Great post! I’ve had good luck with giveaways over the years and have definitely learned what type of offers attract more responses, so I try to stick with those and be selective.

    Reply
  12. Alyssa

    I’ve done a few giveaways and it honestly didn’t increase my traffic at all. But I didn’t promote the giveaways either… or it depends on how much traffic/visitors your blog already has?

    Reply
    • Still Blonde after all these YEARS

      I think promotion of a giveaway is key. You have to utilize all your sources: Facebook, twitter, newsletter, feedburner. Being in a giveaway with a group is also helpful as people HOP from one giveaway to the next.
      Plus Giveaways teach you about promotion, exposure, etc. It helps to get your other content exposed.

      Reply
  13. Brigid

    What about bloggers who aren’t working with a brand? I’m having a giveaway now and I bought the item. Only 1/6 of my followers have entered. Is that normal?

    Reply
    • Still Blonde after all these YEARS

      Brigid, That’s actually pretty high! It helps to have others mention it for you, to list it on sites like ON-Line sweepstakes and Free Gretchen (as indicated) above. To be honest, giveaways can be a slow build…as you have more, people circle back for them.

      Reply
  14. Still Blonde after all these YEARS

    Here’s a couple of additional points to include:
    1) Use a giveaway entry tool like Rafflecopter. This speeds entries and keeps contestants from getting irritated. This is a free tool, very user friendly.
    2) Make sure that anything you do with Facebook follows their terms of service closely for PROMOTIONS
    3) IMO, a blogger should never ship a product although a company will try to get you to do this. This cost should be theirs not yours. They know that, but they will try.
    4) Want to explode your entries? Enter your giveaway into a hop. Many of these exist around the internet. There are many for Mother’s day, Father’s day , Christmas, Fashion etc. With the power of other like minded bloggers you will reach out to multiple new audiences. I run the largest Fashion giveaway event on the internet, with 100+ participating bloggers and over 1/2 million entries. It’s ALL Fashion, ONLY Fashion. I am going to put the link here but if that is not allowed then just delete it and visit my blog. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGY5QjFqc0pkd3BhVXZsZmliVl9jOWc6MQ#gid=0
    5) YES–some of these people will just be there for the prize, but from each contest I run..I always get repeat viewers! Especially when I make it part of my entries to ask them to comment on a blog post as an entry.
    6) I would love to work with IFB and even produce a regular column on how Fashion Bloggers can run giveaways that meets their needs without getting taken advantage of. This happens very very often with newbies and the problems are easy to avoid with the proper advice. Thanks! The Chief Blonde!

    Reply
  15. Anna

    I’ve worked with a few bloggers on the giveaway, I’m a jewelry designer at http://www.LucidNewYork.com.

    I always appreciate the collaborations. The way I do it is I always let the blogger choose a product. I would find that my choosing the product would mean that I want to influence their writing. So they choose and they get one for the giveaway and one for themselves. I don’t understand brands that don’t do that.

    Bloggers of course disclaim all that. What I find useful is having the people who enter sign up for the email list but I noticed that people just don’t want to do it.

    Likes of the brand’s facebook page work very well. Since I’m a blogger myself – I have a jewelry blog and a fashion blog, I always promote the giveaway and the blogger’s post on my end.

    Both sides are usually very happy!

    Reply
  16. Kait

    Great article! I’ve had mixed results with giveaways. For me at least, in order to get a lot of traffic from it, I have to do a lot of leg work getting the “giveaway” out there in the social stratosphere. However, I am constantly entering other blog giveaways so am not sure why some people are hesitant if all you have to do is make a comment! Hmm..

    Any advice on good keywords to use, hashtags etc. others used to get more traffic to their giveaway would be great!

    Reply
  17. Still Blonde after all these YEARS

    Here’s a couple of additional points to include:
    1) Use a giveaway entry tool like Rafflecopter. This speeds entries and keeps contestants from getting irritated. This is a free tool, very user friendly.
    2) Make sure that anything you do with Facebook follows their terms of service closely for PROMOTIONS
    3) IMO, a blogger should never ship a product although a company will try to get you to do this. This cost should be theirs not yours. They know that, but they will try.
    4) Want to explode your entries? Enter your giveaway into a hop. Many of these exist around the internet. There are many for Mother’s day, Father’s day , Christmas, Fashion etc. With the power of other like minded bloggers you will reach out to multiple new audiences.
    5) YES–some of these people will just be there for the prize, but from each contest I run..I always get repeat viewers! Especially when I make it part of my entries to ask them to comment on a blog post as an entry.

    Reply
  18. Maiah

    Hosting a giveaway on my blog now and not seeing a very exciting turn out regarding it. Wondering if it’s the item, or if it’s the method (using rafflecopter)… any insight on the blogger end? Would love if anyone has a minute to take a peek and advise. 🙂

    -Maiah

    Reply
    • Still Blonde after all these YEARS

      Maiah, Went a looked at your giveaway.
      1) The product is a difficult one and one that gets less entries in my experience.
      2) Some of your followers may not have seen a Rafflecopter before so initially it might be confusing. Once they use it, they will love it
      3) You haven’t posted about the giveaway on your facebook since Tuesday. Did you know that a post on facebook only goes out to a small % of your followers. So you must post it at different times of day over the course of days to be seen?
      4) Do you have a mailing list? Send it out to them
      5) Do you post regularly? You can put it at the bottom of each post.
      6) You do not appear to have Feedburner set up or a reader on your blog…this way your fans will can get your feed whenever you post. Then they will know about your giveaway. Right now they only way they will know about your giveaway is if they come to the your blog. You have to give them different avenues of entry.

      Reply
  19. Katy

    I host the occasional giveaway on my blog and have been working to increase their frequency. I think this is an often over-looked or frowned upon area of blogging, which is too bad because it really does drive traffic. As with most things, we just have to make sure it rings true to who we are and what our blog is.
    The Spring Fashionista Giveaway Event nearly doubled my facebook likes, garnered me several hundred additional twitter followers, not to mention new-to-my-blog followers and readers. – Katy

    Reply
  20. Brianna Dale

    So far, the BEST thing I’ve done for my blog hands down is particpate in a HUGE blogger event! I recently participated in the Spring Fashionista Event and gained over 100 new FB likes, over 100 new blog followers, twitter followers and more! This was a giveaway event. Each blogger had to find a sponsor or self sponsor a fashion prize.

    It is key to find a niche group that your blog fits into and get involved on FB in a group, promote each other, and grow together.

    Still Blonde after so many years hosts this event in the Spring and in the Fall. Give it a shot! You won’t regret it!

    Reply
  21. Sentrell

    Great article! The comments are informational too. Ive never hosted a giveaway or contest on my blog. I would like to in the future. I’m bookmarking this article. I will definitely look into Rafflecopter too. It sounds like a great tool.

    Reply
  22. Carla @ Gluten Free Recipe Box

    Great post!

    In addition to using random.org, if one has a WordPress (.org) blog, you can use the plugin “And the Winner Is”; or you can use such free services as Rafflecopter.

    Just thought others would like to know.

    Reply
  23. Ashley Faber

    My question is, if you don’t have many followers, who do you share your contest information with?

    Reply
  24. Claudia

    Thank you for your tips. 🙂 I am doing my first giveaway by tomorrow. 🙂 I started a new blog after opening my online baby and children’s boutique.
    Hope to see you there.:)
    http://blog.petitjoujou.ca/
    Thank you
    Claudia

    Reply
  25. Soffia

    Thank you for these tips, they helped a lot publishing the first giveaway. If you are interested it is up and running now for the next 10 days.

    Reply
  26. Linda Leyble

    This was such a great post and the comments were great too! Thanks so much. I only did one giveaway and it wasn’t very successful. I plan on doing more – and now I have a much better game plan.

    Linda

    Reply
  27. Stephanie

    I’ve recently started doing giveaways and I love it! (I have one going now haha!)
    They do really increase your traffic. Right now I’m trying to build my Bloglovin’ followers (I never really used it before!) and I’ve noticed that whilst doing a giveaway I can earn 3+ followers a day on it compared to maybe 1 a day. That’s if I’m having a ‘day off’ and not promoting everything haha. But it does genuinely work and it also provides you with great content! Everyone loves a giveaway 🙂

    http://www.cocochicblog.co.uk
    http://www.cocochicblog.co.uk/post/44099887293/giveaway-zara-taylor
    ^^^^ That’s the giveaway if anyone’s interested!

    Reply
  28. Hemant Kumar Arya

    Hi Sir…
    Awesome post. This is really helpfull for me. You made my day. I just loved this article. You helped me alot so I just wanna say thanks to you. I’ll definitely gonna bookmark your blog.
    Thank you..
    That’s all.

    Reply