Friday, January 14, 2011

Successful Blogging 101 - How To Host a Successful Giveaway

I wrote 2 posts on how to enter giveaways and I thought it would also be useful to write one for bloggers.

Be Clear
Mandatory/Bonus entries
Be clear when you write your entries. For a mandatory entry, try not to ask people to subscribe to your blog via e-mail, let readers subscribe only if they want to. For bonus entries, be clear how many entries each one. is worth. If you ask to follow on Twitter, make "Twitter" a link to your Twitter page. I've entered giveaways where I couldn't find links to Facebook and Twitter pages anywhere!

Set up clear rules. When the giveaway ends. Age/Country restrictions. How the winner is chosen (usually through How long winner has to respond back.

Disclose whether you have been compensated or received items for free. Takes a second, but will save you any trouble later on. I'm not too familiar with policies and why it's important, but from what I understand it is some kind of an internet policy. If anyone has more info on this, please share.

Who can enter the giveaway?
As a Canadian blogger, this is one of my biggest pet peeves. 4 out of 5 blogs do not specify in the rules who the giveaway is open to. Thus thousands of people like me, avoid these giveaways. If you want more giveaway entries, you need to specify who can enter - US, Canada or Worldwide.
(I get lots of giveaway advertising comments on my blog and most of them are begging me to enter, because no one else is entering. I would love to enter, but when I go to check out the giveaway, there are no country restrictions - therefor I leave the page upset.)

Prepare a text for tweeting yourself. It takes a second and your giveaway will be properly advertised. It also makes it easier for your readers as they won't have to make one up.

E-mail winners
Notify winners through e-mail. I don't enter giveaways on blogs where they don't notify you. Most people don't have time to read every single e-mail they get.
After your get the winner's response, let them know that you received it and sent their info off to the sponsor. It takes a second, but lets the winner know that you care. I've won numerous big prizes and never heard from bloggers whether they've received my e-mails or not. Thank God I've received the prizes, but I did worry a lot!

Display winners
Most people want to see how winners are chosen. Displaying screenshot is the easiest way to show you winners. Or at least list the name and a comment number. I've seen blogs which don't list winners at all and readers have no idea if anyone even won.

Captcha/Wait Times
EVERYONE complaints about Captcha on Blogger and wait times on Word Press. Yet every second blog I visit has captcha enabled. I (and many others) avoid such giveaways, because it takes up a lot of time to enter them and most of us with babies - don't have extra time.
Blogger people - have comments list under the post and disable captcha. Pop-up comments are annoying. Even more annoying is when captcha appears after you hit "submit comment". To disable captcha - go to Settings - Comments. For "Comment Form Placement" select "Embedded below post" and for "Show word verification for comments" select "No". If you also select "No" under "Comment Moderation" - everyone will thank you, I promise!
Word Press people - there is a simple plug-in which will turn off comment wait times. I don't have a link since I'm not on Word Press, so if you know where it is - let me know. I'm sure it's easy to find! Also, if you don't limit your comments per page to about 200, it takes forever to load 1000+ comments and my browser often crashes.
I don't mean to sounds harsh, I'm simply being honest, voicing what I've heard from many people and also trying to help you make you blog more successful.

Giveaway Linkies
Same as in "Who can enter the giveaway?", as a Canadian I find Giveaway Linkies absolutely useless. I love to advertise giveaways and get many visitors that way, but I can't enter anything. NO ONE puts down who the giveaway is open to. I can waste my time clicking through links to find Canadian-friendly giveaways or I can not click at all. So please write down the countries and you will get more clicks!
(I tried hosting a linky where it is mandatory to write down who the giveaway is open to and 9/10 people did not follow the rules. No matter how large and bright I made the font.)

Read more:

P.S. OMG I hit 1000 followers :D *Off to celebrate with a cup of tea*


Fiona said...

Congratulations on the 1000 followers.

Since you are explaining giveaways, no offense but maybe you can explain this to me. I wonder why bloggers encourage people to tweet the giveaway every day? I don't use Twitter, but if I did, I think this would be a certain way to annoy your followers and make them feel like they are being spammed.

So what will they do? unfollow the repetitive tweeter. Or at least start ignoring all their tweets about giveaways.

I can see one tweet but every day?

Misfit Momma aka Missy said...

I actually prefer the pop up comment much better than the embedded comment box because then I don't need to scroll up the page to see what the next entry is.

The Wordpress plugin is called "Disable Check Comment Flood". The one I'm using is, at least.

Kirsten said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for mentioning the need to state who can enter the giveaway (in the giveaway post and linkies)!! As a fellow Canadian I completely agree, and since I'm not a blogger (yet, working up the courage haha) just a reader, I have no place to voice this!

Oh, and I also prefer the pop-up comment box. Makes entering easier for me. Agree with the rest of what you said though :)

Katie Adams said...

Love the post! I make sure to always clarify the ending date & who it is open to so there is no confusion. I don't live in Canada, but if I did I would get so aggravated not knowing which giveaways are open to me. I try to get sponsors to accomodate both areas.

On these comments about the pop-up comments: each there own, but a helpful tip that I find 2 tabs in your web browser. Use the first one to view the entries and/or to click on a link that takes you to another page. The 2nd tab can be used for your entries w/o losing your place. You can also use this on pop-ups because it still allows you to use the 1st tab to visit the linked sites that may be required as entries, and you wont lose your place on the 2nd tab and end up wasting precious minutes scrolling everywhere

Katie Adams said...

**I will add that as a fellow product reviewer...I have a pet peeve!** If you see that it is mandatory to follow the blog who is hosting the giveaway publicly, take the time to do this. It's not hard & doesn't take long. Even if it isn't required you still should out of respect. I couldn't believe the # of cheaters when I first started. Now it's linked to my email and I verify each and every comment at time of entry, as well as when they are selected as the winner. I shouldn't have to do this due to dishonesty but I will strive to always be fair to my loyal readers.

the Crave to Save said...

Great post! I cannot stand captcha and the time it takes for wordpress between comments as well.

I DO, however, like the pop up window in blogger. Scrolling up and down the page multiple times aggravates me LOL.

Heather said...

I hate captcha too. So I have mine turned off. I do like it when the thing to enter comments opens in a separate page though. It makes entering the giveaway so much easier because then I don't have to keep scrolling up to find out which entry I am on next and then scroll down to the bottom of the page to enter the giveaway. I avoid those blogs. Good to know to say the country of the giveaway. I have a few coming up that are worldwide and for US and Canada!

Heavensent1 said...

GRRRR...I LOATHE Captcha's...they are annoying AND frustrating~!!! I also like the pop up window...then I don't have to write down the entries...I can just move the window up to the entry requirements and go from there...

I think everyone spams on Twitter...I don't have one problem with anyone spamming...with over 50,000 tweets going off on my feed alone in a day...I need the spam tweets or I may miss something groovy~!!

I have won contests where they didn't state country requirements only to be informed afterwards that I can't have it...not kewl...PLEASE list your country requirements...its rather rude to assume only your country's citizens host and enter giveaways!!

I've also been asked to enter contests because of low entries just to find out its US only...I usually write the folks and let them know they'd probably have more entries if they opened their doors a little bit more for other neighbours to enter!!

GREAT post and thanx for sharing it~!! Have a groovy day ya'll...peaces...xoxo

Jen M said...

Thanks for all the comments!
One point I see everyone mentioning is the pop up comments. I can see how they could be easier when you just have one open, then you don't have to scroll down. However when I enter giveaways (especially if they are on the same blog), I like to keep multiple tabs open so I can do entries on all giveaways at the same time. Such as writing "subscribe via email" on all giveaways, as oppose to doing them one at a time. I found that pop up windows are very confusing. It doesn't say which giveaway it belongs to. And sometimes when I forget to close a pop up, I type in entries from other giveaways by accident. Very confusing! That's why I prefer to have comments embedded. And if you know a blog, then you probably know all bonus entries by heart anyways :)

Girls/guys, don't enter contests which don't state country restrictions. Even if it's a company who usually have giveaways open to Canada. I've heard many others says that their wins were declined, therefor it was a waste of time. I never enter unless it clearly says "open to Canada".

Fiona, I got Twitter just for bonus entries and yes, you are right. Most tweets coming from me and others are giveaway ones. I guess that could be considered spamming. I've thought of not doing daily tweets, but then realized that Twitter is actually #1 source for traffic to my blog! I've heard that from others too. That's how most people find giveaways to enter. Thus Twitter is actually a great advertising platform :)

Katie, I hate verifying entries. I have to re-draw winners ALL the time! No one does what they are supposed to :( I also run into problems with entries such as GFC. Some people follows via Yahoo account or something else. It counts them as a follower, but when you click on their profile, obviously there isn't one for Google. Don't know what to do with such entries. Etc etc.

Guwini said...

I totally agree that when you want readers to join your contest you shouldn't ask them to subscribe.

Good post,thanks for sharing.


Charla @ Healthy Home Blog said...

Great post! Glad we could feature you on Friendly Friday this week! :)

SweetShenanigans said...

I cannot describe how much it annoys me when giveaways don't have restrictions. I am also a Canadian blogger, and I once one a giveaway only to find out afterwards that it was only open to the USA.
Thanks for the awesome post

Sophia said...

I agree as a fellow Canadian to find giveaways that don't indicate who the giveaways are open to.

The disclosure statemnet is a FTC regulation on advertising and endorsements. You have to let people know if you monetize your site/blog, do product reviews with compensation or none etc.

More info is here

I've done the daily tweetings and I don't think I ever had anyone unfollow me for that reason alone. The daily tweeting is no different than when people tweet the same thing every 2-3 hours.

This is a great post. Thank you!

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

I'll stop commenting now, seriously. I just wanted to say: I ALWAYS list in the TITLE who can enter, e.g. "Natural Parents Network Giveaway ~ Smart Mom Jewelry Teething Bling $20 {2.3, US/Can}" — and that's what I enter on giveaway linkies. Because I totally agree it's rude not to! (And I'm in the U.S.) The only time I don't on linkies is when they've restricted the word count so much that I simply can't fit it in.

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