Friday, December 25, 2009

Giveaway Shout-out: A Crazy Little Thing Called Blog

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
--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.
Photo Credit © Modella -


  1. That was interesting! Who knew there were so many things to consider when thinking about a giveaway! Congrats on your winnings!

  2. I don't give away anything! Especially an ending! LOL! Merry Christmas, again.

  3. I agree with Mari, I never knew giveaways were so complex. I don't usually enter for giveaways, and as for doing one myself, right now I'm struggling with Blogger just to keep my words from falling off the page (HTML issues). I do enjoy reading your information and explanations of all things bloggy, Joanna.

  4. I have only been blogging since September and, like Jeanie, I struggle just to figure out how to do it properly, in terms of format, etc. I have been lucky to win advertisement of my blog on two wonderful sites - Margie and Edna's Basement and The Everyday Adventurer. That's worth it's weight in gold! I'm not ready yet to have a contest but I will file away your valuable information for the future.

    Thanks and I hope Santa brought you all for which you wished!

  5. Glad I found this...I knew nothing about give aways and was wondering why people did I know...thank you

  6. I think it's important to have great content at the time of giveaways too so that readers will want to come back.

  7. I only do giveaways to thank my readers, and to provide readers with businesses some publicity.

    And I do get really tired of the giveaways that basically ask you to tattoo your body part and stand on your head to enter.

    If I just have to leave a comment, I am in!

  8. I've never done a giveaway but I have won 2 giveaways.

  9. Thanks for the shoutout, Joanna.

    Your how-to post is a good idea but I'm kind of glad that I held a giveaway before reading it or I might have found it a little daunting.

    That was my first (and so far only) giveaway and I quite easily made sure that I covered pretty much all of these bases. Most details just seemed logical to include.

    I had no interest in promoting it heavily. I only wanted it to be for my regulars to win but of course had no control over these fly-by comment-leavers. I was thrilled when the random pick revealed a regular reader.. namely you!

    It was fun to do and I probably wouldn't hesitate to hold one again if I approved of the method. I've been approached a couple of times since and didn't like the conditions with which I'd have to post.. or the "prize" was a moderate gift certificate to a very expensive site. I turned those down.

    Thanks again for your how-to posts. They're always informative and the interactive aspect helps see aspects of situations I might not have considered. Good stuff!

  10. Great post, JJ. It took me a while (a heck of a long time ago) to relise that there are pitfalls in everything online - nothing is ever as simple or effective as it's promoted to be, so this series is great to see. Well done.

    I hope you and yours are having a great holiday season (although I gues it will make more exciting blog post for you if a few things go awry) - XO - Adam

  11. Hi my friend



  12. The one thing I know for sure about giveaways is that if you are giving away a pair of tacky pink sunglasses from Urban Outfitter's, no one will claim the prize.

  13. Maybe I am not there yet and maybe I will some day be more interested in the Giveaway approach but for now, I am still just a little ol' lady blogger who enjoys the blog and especially enjoys traveling around to read other blogs. I like to learn new ideas and see what is going on in other people's lives. I care so much about all the people I share this planet with and love the diversity. That's just me. I love it that you take the time to explain the different aspects of blogging.

  14. Very good advice. All in one post. It took me a couple giveaways to learn the same.

    Happy Holidays to you!

  15. I've never done a give-a-way, and rarely enter them myself. But nonetheless, these are great tips to keep in mind.

  16. I enjoy all your posts and I have soooo enjoyed your 'How to...' series! I wish I had known some of that stuff before I started! Although perhaps learning by just going for it can be OK too. Anyway, your personality always shines through - no wonder you have so many followers. It aint just the Giveaways girl! :-) Take care. x

  17. I have only had one giveaway and that was just because I thought that naughty calendar was fun! I bought the calendar and paid for the shipping. I have won or 3 give aways, but I only enter if I can do so by leaving a comment. I don't go to the extra effort to link to other blogs, etc. I have never been approached to do a giveaway. I would be curious as to how that happens.

  18. I have not done a giveaway. But I appreciate your sharing your experiences. There are many things here I had not considered.

  19. Good input on giveaways. I have done a few giveaways. The last one I really enjoyed was writing the letter to your younger self. I felt that not only did it promote people to express their thoughts but for others to read and comment on those thoughts.

    I know that the giveaway could've been done with more entries but I was content not to over advertise. I wanted to make sure that whoever won the Wii Fit Plus to really want it and not just enter it for blog swag. (I had one person enter one of my giveaways and commented, "I'm commenting just because I want the blog swag.)

    Great info!!!

  20. I give lots of way and that was some great tips...Thanks...So glad to be back to reading my favorite blogs....and off a ladder decorating trees...
    I am so glad that I joined the blog world....and have made so many sweet friends....Blessings in 2010

  21. Thanks for the info, I have been thinking about giving one of my bracelets I have designed and made as a prize. Amazing how there is so much to be a ware of.

  22. I've only held two giveaways so far and I chose e-gift certificates for prizes so that shipping was not an issue.

    My next giveaway will be only for those with blogs because I saw that blog giveaway you mentioned myself...and it was smart.

  23. That's the danger of the giveaways--I don't do them to boost readership, I do it as a shout out to my regulars. I'd have a tough time giving away anything to someone who wasn't.

  24. I love to enter giveaways. So I've picked up on all those rules by seeing them so often. But I've only hosted a few...

  25. Great tips!! Thanks so much!! I have done two giveaways and both I posted within my blog...not in the title. And now I am glad I did. LOL!
    Happy New Year

  26. This is very nice tips, thank you for sharing this with us. Congratulations on your give-a-way wins. Have a Happy New Year.

  27. Didn't know anything about giveaways....Thanks for the info on how they work! This is such a wonderful series...and give-away seems like such a perfect topic given the Christmas holiday!!! You are so clever!!! Have a Wonderful New Year!!! So glad I found you this year!!! ~Janine XO

  28. Wasn't it confusing to count different posts for so many people? thanks for the info and I'll use your ideas if I ever give away something.

  29. Ok, my head is spinning with all this info. I think I will wait to try this when I get smarter someday.

    Being 51 myself, I am loving your blog. Thanks for stopping by mine so I could find yours.

  30. Very interesting. I have recently started to recieve emails requesting me to do giveaways and so far I have not...I think I will hold off for a while. I always promised myself I would not do ads / giveaways etc until a year after I started blogging in case I became distracted (as i do often ;0)) and stopped blogging...So far so good.

  31. Wow, that was GREAT info on giveaways. I've never done one, but I occasionally think about it. You really schooled me on the ins and outs, and it is mucho appreciated.

    Happy New Year, Joanna!

  32. This was great information to read Joanna! I like giveaways like you did with the snuggli and the visa card. I don't like when people giveaway things they are promoting like peanut butter or something like that. I just don't want to read about peanut butter when I go to someones blog. I like to read about their life or their opinions. I love to see their pictures. : ) I do NOT want to hear about skippy peanut butter and my chance to win a jar : ) Some people might love that. I don't though.

  33. A really good post for those thinking about having a giveaway. I'd have one every week if I didn't have to pay for postage...

  34. Thanks for the great tips. I always learn so much over here. I want to plan a giveaway for my 100 post. I've just been enjoying the blogworld less than a year. I love to enter giveaways and have been very lucky. I AM behind in posting my loot. I won four last month. Christmas and bloggin' are time competitors.

    Have a great day!!

  35. Very interesting Joanna. I didn't know it was such a complicated venture. Although I'll admit that some giveaways are tempting, the thought of them to stimulate readership seems to be a little - idunno - contrived. Not sure I want/need readers that much. Please don't get me wrong... I see the appeal, but giveaways aren't my style.

    PS: I did offer to hold your giveaway win from HIlary until you got back from your last vacay. With the best intentions of course! {wink}

  36. I needed this, and will refer back to it.

    I have another giveaway for Feb. Very torn about this whole issue.

  37. I've never done a giveaway. It always seems like a lot of work to me. I'm lazy. I do enter a few when I have time. I've won some cool stuff.


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