Thinking about holding a blog giveaway? Here’s what you need to know.

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blog giveaway

Have you ever wondered if hosting a giveaway or contest on your blog would be worthwhile?

In this post, I’ll answer a few questions to help you decide whether it’s a good fit for you and your blog. If two heads are better than one, three is even better, so I reached out to Margarita Ibbott of DownshiftingPRO and Linda Samuels of Oh! So Organized. Both have had successful blog giveaways, so I’m grateful for their input.

What are the benefits of holding a blog giveaway?

Bloggers generally run a contest as a way of growing their audience and increasing engagement on their blog and social media channels. The theory is that readers will hear about the contest through their social media connections, visit your blog, follow you and/or join your email list, and spread the word to their followers, who continue the cycle.

I’ve held a few blog giveaways, with mixed results. They attracted different readers, but most of them didn’t come back. For me, it’s more about giving back to my readers than it is about lead generation.

Margarita has had a similar experience, though she’s noticed that new followers don’t tend to stick around as they did eight years ago. Now she says it’s mostly contesters that leave pretty soon.

What should I give away?

If you’re doing this independently, you have a few options:

  • Free service – This won’t cost you anything out of pocket, but only offer it if you can spare the time. It may lead to paid work, but don’t count on it.
  • Digital product(s) – Another item that won’t cost you anything, other than the time to run the contest and send out the prize(s).
  • Physical product(s) – Keep in mind that you’ll have shipping costs. And don’t go out and buy something – that will cost you even more!

You can expand your prize offering and your reach by collaborating with other businesses. For an example, look at the New Year, New Me Giveaway where Linda partnered with two other business owners earlier this year. Bundling their services as a giveaway prize made it more attractive than a single service on its own. In addition, they each received the added bonus of cross-promotion. (Fun fact: I won! I shared details of my virtual organizing session with Linda in my April newsletter.)

It’s even better if you have a sponsor provide the prize. I’ve had vendors offer office supplies, software, and other items. They were always responsible for delivery of the prizes, so I never had to worry about the cost or hassle of shipping.

If you don’t want to wait for a company to approach you, reach out to a business who shares a similar target market but is not a direct competitor. Present it as an opportunity for them to get exposure and backlinks in exchange for a free product.

Margarita Ibbott

How do I manage the giveaway?

Margarita recommends using one of the following tools to manage your contest or giveaway.

 

Rafflecopter

If you’ve ever entered a blog giveaway, you’ve probably seen Rafflecopter in action. It’s a free app that’s really easy to use. I’ve used it myself once or twice.

If your goal is to grow your mailing list, you’ll need the Grow Plan, and with a price tag of $43.00 per month at time of writing, you’d better be sure you have a solid plan in place to get a return on your investment. The good news is that you can upgrade for just a month while you run a giveaway and then go back to the free plan when you no longer need it.

Gleam

I hadn’t heard of Gleam until Margarita mentioned it, but it looks like it might be even better than Rafflecopter. They also offer both free and paid versions, so you can choose the one with features you need to reach your goals for the contest.

What else should I keep in mind?

Be sure to dot your I’s and cross your T’s!

We all agreed that giving stuff away is fun, but you don’t want to make mistakes that will annoy people or get you in trouble.

As always when collecting personal information, be sure to adhere to privacy requirements.

Bonus: Linda’s Blog Giveaway Tips

  1. Create a Theme – Giveaways are great, but even better if you can connect them to a theme. You can get creative here and tie it to just about anything. Some of the themes I’ve used were seasonal organizing (like spring, summer, or fall,) holiday organizing (like Valentine’s Day,) or Get Organized month.
  2. Share Organizing Tips – In addition to giving away something or multiple things, give some value in the post by adding some organizing tips related to your theme.
  3. Give Good Stuff – You can give away one thing like a service, a book, or an organizing product, but I like to create packages of items related to the giveaway theme and organizing. It’s an excellent opportunity to promote organizing authors (if you give away one of their books) or companies that make organizing products you know and love. Make sure to add links to the people or products and include their handles in your social media promotion.
  4. Engage with Participants – Blog traffic and comments will increase when you do a giveaway. Make sure that you engage with everyone that enters by responding to them.
  5. Post and Promote – You’ve done all the work to design and craft the giveaway. Make sure you also share and promote it on all social media platforms. And if you have included products or services from other companies or people, let them know. They might be willing to help you promote the giveaway too.
  6. Clarify the Rules – All giveaways or contests have rules. Make sure you include yours and be clear about what is needed to enter. Depending upon what you’re trying to accomplish will influence the rules you set. You might want to allow multiple entries by doing different activities such as following you on Twitter, Instagram, or other social sites, tweeting about the giveaway, signing up for your mailing list, or commenting on the giveaway blog post.
  7. Selecting the Winner – In your rules, make sure you include when the giveaway begins and when the winner will be chosen. Using random.org is an easy way to select the winner. (Note from Janet: I’ve used this one too.)

I’m thankful to Linda and Margarita for sharing their expertise and experience.

Before you hold your giveaway, check out this comprehensive guide: How to Run a Blog Giveaway (and Which Mistakes to Avoid)

Would you hold a giveaway on your blog? Why or why not?

Gravatar mystery man

A former professional organizer, I'm now a Website Design and Care Specialist. I love helping others succeed by sharing the knowledge and insight I’ve gained through marketing my own business for over 15 years! When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

Gravatar mystery man

A former professional organizer, I'm now a Website Design and Care Specialist. I love helping others succeed by sharing the knowledge and insight I’ve gained through marketing my own business for over 15 years! When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

6 Comments

  1. Linda Samuels on May 26, 2021 at 9:26 am

    Thank you so much, Janet, for the shout-out and surprise of including my giveaway tips. It sounds like both you and Margarita aren’t huge fans of doing giveaways unless I read that incorrectly. For me, it’s always been a positive outcome. However, other than the one I did this year, as you mentioned, it has been a while since I offered a giveaway. This last one was straightforward to do because it was collaborative, so we had the power of a team to craft and manage it. All the other giveaways I did on my own, which took more time and effort. But as I said, I was always happy with the results.

    I loved that you the January giveaway and that I got to work with you. What a joy!

    • Janet Barclay on May 26, 2021 at 1:07 pm

      I love doing giveaways; I just haven’t found them very effective in terms of marketing. I’d actually love to do more, and now you’ve got my wheels turning with thoughts about a collaborative venture like the one you were in. I was amazed to learn that I was the winner of that and have been very pleased with the two prizes I’ve received (I still have to schedule my executive coaching session).

  2. Julie Stobbe on May 26, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    I probably would not. You have made me think about it, which is a good thing. I was thinking about what Marie Mushing does for a prize at a networking event. The winner is sent a list of gift cards to select from and they choose one she gets it and sends it to them. The really nice thing is she uses FunScript.com which is a site that she purchases the gift card from and a portion of the purchase goes to a charity that she is supporting. It seems like a great win win win.

    • Janet Barclay on May 26, 2021 at 1:09 pm

      What a great way to continue a tradition while networking online! I’ve never heard of that.

  3. Seana Turner on May 27, 2021 at 10:41 am

    Love reading about my fellow bloggers and what they are doing! These were very popular when I first started blogging, but I haven’t seen many giveaways recently. These are great tips to keep in mind. If it is worth doing, do it right. Maybe I’ll consider this for a time when business slows and I want to mix things up!

    • Janet Barclay on May 27, 2021 at 1:25 pm

      You’re right, there don’t seem to be as many as there used to be. It’s been years since a supplier approached me about holding one. I wonder if they also didn’t find them worthwhile. The one Linda and her friends did this year was really good.

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