I'm not having one, but I am talking about them!
Part of the A Crazy Little Thing Called Blog "how-to" series.
Are you considering a Giveaway? What kind do you want to have? I thought that was an easy question until I had a few of my own this past year. Although I'm no expert, this is what I learned and have observed with other giveaways.
In a very small nutshell, there are basically two types of Giveaways-- One to build traffic, followers and comments. The other is to "reward" your existing loyal followers and readers.
My first Giveaway was to build readership traffic, followers and comments. A retailer gave me a gift to Giveaway (that included a link to their site) and I promoted it like crazy shouting the word GIVEAWAY in eight different posts over a two week period.
To enter, readers could leave a comment on every post with the word "Giveaway" in the title. Each comment earned one entry. Following my blog earned you two extra entries and if you posted the Giveaway on your blog you got three more entries. By allowing readers to enter in each new post I was hoping they would return repeatedly thus getting to know me better and building a readership "habit" with them.
People flocked to my blog. It was really cool. My Followers numbers increased by about 50 and my comments doubled and tripled some days. I had more than 800 entries in all. Not bad, right?
Well, in hindsight, not exactly. Although I did gain numerous new readers and some great "real" followers, I also attracted the "Giveaway Only Blogs" with my heavy promotion of the GIVEAWAY in my titles.
Are you familiar with "Giveaway Only Blogs"? They are blogs whose content is about promoting everyone else's Giveaways (which in turn earns them extra entries). These blogs are read by a lot of people who don't actually have blogs but who enter Giveaways by simply leaving their email address and clicking the Follow button. I'll call them "One-Stoppers". They visit, follow, leave their comment (email address) and are never seen or heard from again. That's perfectly fine and I have nothing against them but this type of Giveaway participation did not reap the readership I'd hoped for.
The other type of Giveaway is one that is either only mentioned in your post title once or not mentioned in the title at all but rather in the body of your post. They are also often Giveaways that don't encourage multiple entries. This way, the Giveaway is really targeting your "core readers" and is a way to thank them for their readership.
I did two of these Giveaways-- I only mentioned the Visa Gift card or the Snuggie Giveaway at the end of each post. They were tied to this blogging "how to" series and required the reader to comment on the blog of the person I'd interviewed in each post as well as leaving a comment on my blog. As a result, the Interviewee received new readers and I was able to "reward" my loyal readers. I received upwards of 50 entries for each Giveaway.
When doing a Giveaway, I learned there are certain "Rules" that will help manage the contest.
First and foremost-- Be specific!
--Clearly explain what you are giving away
--State contest timing, including end date, time and time zone
--How can readers enter?
--Can they enter on a specific post or multiple posts. Include the link (s).
--Can they enter once, multiple time, via commenting, Following, and/or posting Giveaway on reader's blog???
--Who is eligible (or rather who is not-- family, employees, etc.)
--I saw one smart blogger who insisted a reader MUST have a blog to participate, thus eliminating the "One Stoppers".
--How will winner be picked:
--Randomly or via Random.org.
--Some bloggers say winner will be notified via email and have a certain number of days to claim their prize before another winner is selected.
--Specify where you are willing to ship the prize. (US and Canada, worldwide, etc.)
--Remember Bloggers live all over the world and shipping can be expensive.
--If you receive a gift from a retailer or manufacturer will they cover shipping costs and to where?
Keep in mind, you can expand your Giveaway requirements to include Subscribing to RSS, Email or Google Friend or via newsletter. You can include following on Twitter and/or Tweeting and on Facebook. And of course there is always Digg, Stumble, etc. Note: To make it easier on yourself, ask reader to leave separate comments for each.
You can also get creative and turn your Giveaway into an essay writing exercise with a link back to your blog, a question about your specific blog, require a link to another site then linking back to your blog to comment about it, or other slightly more "labor intensive" entry requirements to help weed out the "One Stoppers" and to entice your loyal readers to participate.
So that's what I've learned about Giveaways-- How about you?
What do you know about Giveaways and/or what would you like to know?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna
And while we're talking about Giveaways, I have a BIG THANK YOU for a few recent giveaways I scored in! Since I never win anything I am VERY excited with my new loot. Thanks to Lisa at Pearl Avenue Studios for the beautiful Christmas ornament, Hilary at The Smitten Image for a gorgeous casserole and Jane at Midlife Bloggers for the much-needed pair of reading glasses. All three have terrific blogs that I hope you will check out.