Giveaways Can Boost a Blog Readership – But It Takes Work

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Will a giveaway boost your blog readership

Many bloggers hold giveaways as a way to draw traffic to their blog, where frequently the prize is supplied by another company. This type of joint venture provides an incentive for more people to visit the blog, and gives the sponsoring company exposure at the same time. Kim Howell explains this in greater detail, so do read on if you’ve ever wondered if this strategy would work for you.

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People like free stuff, or at least that’s the conclusion from many marketing corners. And nothing attracts people more to something free like a giveaway. Businesses and retailers have used the tool for decades to get people into their stores, so it would make sense that the same approach should work on the Internet for those trying to generate traffic to a site.

Background

A number of blogs have had success with giveaways. Understanding that an audience is already looking for advice, help, advantages and assistance is the key. 5MinutesforMom.com is an example of a website that uses regular giveaways to maintain a loyal readership. The site owners, twin sisters who are mothers themselves, already understand that mothers everywhere are looking for ways to make more with less, stretch dollars with advantages and coupons, or to find creative ways to use already available resources.

However, engaging with readers via free benefits is not enough. There has to be a conversion point – a task the reader has to perform to become eligible for the freebie. In the case of 5MinutesforMom.com, the conversion is a requirement that the reader leave some type of comment on the blog. This criteria essentially engages the reader in reviewing the blog, even if just for a moment, to leave a relevant comment. Most of 5MinutesforMom.com’s audience has no problem engaging further.

Big Benefits Possible

Clearly, there are big blog benefits to giveaways. They include:

  • An almost automatic draw of people to a site looking for the freebie offered
  • A secondary effect that people will stop and read to find out more about the blog, potentially engaging
  • Reader retention as people keep coming back to see what the next giveaway may be
  • A potential marketing relationship with manufacturers and public relations as a blog develops a wide audience and businesses want to market to them through the blog

The above said, giveaways still need their own marketing by a blog owner to be truly effective. If the contest is not well known, people won’t come to the blog. With the use of social media, the marketing is almost effortless. With a regular dose of postings, links, commentary and pictures, a blog can generate quite a bit of traffic via Facebook and Twitter or similar resources. Once word gets out about a freebie, it usually goes viral if the offer is genuine.

Things to Watch Out For

Gifts should at least be quality products, such as FTD Christmas flowers during the holidays, for example. Additionally, blog owners will have to be content with drive-by visitors who just want the gift and nothing else. There will also be those who try to cheat, especially where content involves submitting input, i.e. someone comments 200 times to increase their chances of winning if an entry is based on a comment. Finally, there is also administration work and legal caveats in setting up the contest, administering it, and reporting the visitor data to sponsors if they helped with the prizes. So there is a bit of work involved making a giveaway effectively happen on a blog.

Have you ever held a giveaway on your blog? Please leave a comment to let us know about your experience.

Photo © monamakela.com / PhotoXPress

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Kim Howell runs a social media marketing company and consults small businesses on their digital media strategies.

Gravatar mystery man

Kim Howell runs a social media marketing company and consults small businesses on their digital media strategies.

4 Comments

  1. Samantha on October 17, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    I did one giveaway on my site this year. I had three memberships to give away. I only got three entries. It was my first time doing it, but needless to say I wasn’t thrilled about the engagement. I really didn’t know what I was supposed to do besides post on my various social media sites that it was live.

    Hopefully my next attempt will go better, but I’m not in a rush.

    • Janet Barclay on October 18, 2013 at 6:21 am

      There are some sites where you can list your giveaways (I can’t remember the names off the top of my head) and those can bring in some new people who aren’t already in your sphere of influence. The trouble is, they generally only come by for the contest, and never come back.

      I’ve seen a few bloggers use Rafflecopter, where readers get more entries if they tweet, pin, etc. about the giveaway, and I wonder if that might be more effective.

  2. Margarita Ibbott on October 21, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    I love giveaways. They are not daily or even weekly but they definitely bring traffic to my site. When working with brands for sponsored posts, page views is what they want to see. So increased traffic even through ‘fly by’ is important. They are some work but NO ONE ever said blogging was easy.

    • Janet Barclay on October 22, 2013 at 6:35 am

      Thanks, Margarita – I hadn’t thought of that! I suppose the same would be true for selling ad spots as well.

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