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If you have a new blog, a new product, or you are looking for a new way to drive traffic, you may be considering hosting a contest. Blog giveaways are also a great way to welcome a new sponsor.
Want to woo an influencer to your brand? Incorporate them into your competition.
When done right, blog giveaways are one of the easiest ways to drive targeted traffic to your blog. After all, who doesn't like free stuff? Still, there are plenty of traps to fall in along the way.
If you don't plan your giveaway correctly, you can actually harm your brand. Murky details and flexible rules breed mistrust and wreak of "scam."
Whether you're interested in promoting your own blog giveaways or you just want to learn more about the process, so you don't fall victim to a scam, here are the top things you need to know.
Marketing Benefits Of Having A Blog Giveaway
Before we get started:
Grab a notebook! I want to encourage you to take lots of notes. After the wrap-up, feel free to ask questions and join in the conversation.
Ask any blogger what they want most in the world, and they’ll tell you “more readers.” What often comes after customers on a business’ wish list? More traffic and more engagement.
But these are just a few of the marketing benefits you can achieve through a well-timed promotional giveaway.
1. Drive website traffic
Use your giveaway to bring into the fold more readers and subscribers. Soon, we'll discuss exactly how to reach your ideal target and drive them to your blog with the contest.
2. Boost followers, viewers on social media
Increasing your social media following is key to growing your brand. It's easy to use tactics like blog giveaways to cross-promote your blog while generating more social media buzz.
3. Increase YouTube subscriptions
Aside from buying views, the easiest way to get new viewers is to feature your giveaway on your YouTube channel page. Be sure to create new video content around your prize!
4. Get your product out there
By giving away your newest products in your contest, you'll have instant fans and brand apostles. Another option is to cross-promote with another blogger. Swap products, and feature each other's product in your giveaway.
5. Promote sales
A well-run promotion spur purchases from established customers. They also reel in new customers, lure customers from your competitors, and get your current clients to buy differently.
And that's not all:
Promotions stimulate business during periods of slow sales. If you have a special offer, use a promotion or contest to give your sales a booster shot
6. Get to know your readers
What do you know about your readers? Use this opportunity to connect with your readers and learn more about their likes and dislikes.
We'll talk more about collecting data later on.
Once you know all about your readers, use that information to connect with them. Every aspect of your contest, from the time-frame to the prize, let your readers know how well you understand them.
Did you know?
Engagement hinges on talking to your readers not "at" your readers.
8. Create user-generated content
As a blogger, you know the value of user-generated content. When you're trying to get Google's attention, there is nothing better than blurbs, reviews, images, videos, and comments posted by users that reference your brand. It's gold!
9. Gain trust
With so many scams out there, simply running an above-board contest can help you differentiate your brand as one your readers can trust. We'll discuss transparency in a bit.
Most Engaging Types Of Blog Giveaway Contests
There are plenty of different formats you can use for your blog contests and giveaways. Depending on your blog format and the social media sites you use, most of these are good options for engaging your existing and potential readers and subscribers.
Here are a dozen different types of contest ideas to consider.
Blog giveaways represent the perfect opportunity for snagging lots of user-generated content.
Fan photo contests
Challenge your readers to submit a photo showing just how much they love reading your blog, using your product, or promoting your brand. This activity encourages your followers to get creative with their pictures, and it also shows the world how diverse your brand is.
Just like with photo contests, ask your readers to create a video, offer a prize for the best submission. Ask for videos that feature your product or brand in various locations. Conversely, they can talk about their experiences with your brand.
"Caption This Meme" contest
You provide the meme and let your readers supply the caption. This type of game will unleash your readers' creativity. It is also the type of blog giveaway that is very shareable.
Location-based blog giveaways
If you are a small business owner, ask your customers to check-in at your location. Alternatively, they can check in at a virtual event held on Facebook or other social media platform.
If your goal is to get more readers, create a promotion or contest with fewer stipulations.
Vote for the best ___.
These contests are great for getting lots of new visitors to your blog. Have users create content and ask for them to have others vote for their submission.
Submissions may be:
- A video
Or anything else that will work with your brand.
Product customization contests
If you have a product to promote, encourage creativity from your readers by asking them to customize a product. For example, if you are promoting a brand of shoes, have a contest where customers submit photos of the perfect bag to go with.
Or, they could submit a picture of an outfit they would wear with them.
For a simple and quick giveaway, have a trivia contest. You can offer a prize for the first correct answer.
Feedback and reviews contest
Use your blog giveaways to gather feedback about your brand, your posts, your product, or services. You can ask for reviews for extra user-generated content.
Suggest a topic contest
Want to find out what content your readers desire? Have a topic suggestion contest.
Ask your readers to list their favorite topics, past faves, and ideas for future content.
Does your blog inspire others to write or build their own business? If you are a coach, a great way to engage your readers' creativity is by creating an essay competition.
This type of contest will generate significant content and should last several weeks to months for the best results. Promote this opportunity across social media. Be sure to outline the topic and specify the length of each essay entry.
Increase your social media reach by asking your readers to tag friends in a comment. This tactic works on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
In your post, Save work be sure to state your blog giveaway's timeline and your rules. Ask followers to tag a friend in the comment section to enter. However, you can't make this an absolute criteria for winning.
Another option to increase your reach is by partnering with other bloggers or local businesses.
For best results:
Partner with those who cater to a similar clientele or readership. Together, create a prize package your combined readers will love.
It's Follow The Rules Time On Social Media
A blog giveaway is only as good as your social media promotions. However, each social media platform has its own rules regarding contests.
Here's what you need to know:
Facebook rules for blog giveaways
Using Facebook to announce or administer your promotion, contest, or sweepstakes means you are responsible for lawfully operating that promotion. Facebook regularly updates its terms and conditions for promoting blog giveaways.
The official rules:
- Clearly state the offer's terms and eligibility requirements. Make sure it includes any age or residency restrictions.
- Compliance with the rules and regulations that govern the promotion and any of the prizes offered. Some require registration or obtaining the needed regulatory approvals.
Any blog giveaways promoted on Facebook must include:
- A complete release of liability against Facebook for each participant
- A written acknowledgment that your promotion is in not sponsored, endorsed, or associated with Facebook.
Regarding administering a promotional giveaway:
- You can use Pages, Events, Groups, or apps that use Facebook.
- You cannot post the event on the personal timelines of friend connections. This means you can't make sharing on your timeline criteria for entry. However, you can suggest that they do so.
- Also, you cannot make "tag your friends the post to enter" criteria.
Do you get help from Facebook?
Facebook will not provide customer service to assist the administration of your blog giveaways. Further, Facebook's terms state that you must agree that using the service to administer your promotion is done at your own risk.
Instagram rules for blog giveaways
If you intend in making your brand Insta-famous, you'll want to promote your blog giveaway on Instagram. Contests are super-viral on Instagram, generating tons of engagement.
Therefore, Instagram has a higher return on investment (ROI) in terms of marketing.
Here's a quick rundown:
- First of all, you must state, in all promotional material, that your blog giveaways aren't sponsored, endorsed, or affiliated with Instagram.
- Include your company's name and any other brand participating in the giveaway or contest.
- Include all dates and times your contest will run. Be super-specific; include time zone details.
- Add details about any participation restrictions. These include age limits and residency.
- Write a guide on how to enter the contest.
- Outline how you will choose a winner. As well, detail when you'll pick the winner or winners.
- Share all the details about when you'll be announcing the winner.
- Explain in detail, how the winner should claim their prize.
- Fully disclose any details regarding prize delivery. This should include whether the winner pays for shipping.
Like Facebook, Instagram doesn't offer any type of customer support for your giveaway. As well, just like on Facebook, you'll find that the rules and guidelines regularly change.
Twitter rules for blog giveaways
Thousands of businesses, organizations, and the most creative individuals host contests and giveaways via Twitter.
The good news is:
Twitter is very user-friendly when it comes to contests.
Unlike Facebook and Instagram, you are encouraged to tie the terms of your giveaway to having followers post, Tweet, or reTweet an update. You can ask them to follow your account for an entry. And you can require them to use a specific hashtag for an entry
However, there are a few guidelines to follow to ensure your profile doesn't get banned for life.
Without further ado:
- Never encourage entrants to create duplicate accounts. Your conditions should state that creating multiple accounts are grounds for disqualification.
- Discourage users from posting the same Tweet over and over. Duplicate Tweets are a big no-no.
- You should ask entries to tag you in their Tweet. Additionally, you can use a hashtag for this purpose.
- Before promoting your blog giveaways on Twitter, ensure that it complies with any laws and regulations that apply.
Keep up-to-date on the latest Twitter rules regarding giveaways, as they regularly change.
YouTube rules for blog giveaways
Any successful YouTuber will tell you that the platform is rule-intensive. However, it seems to be fairly forgiving when it comes to giving away free stuff.
Still, no surprise, there are many rules to follow.
YouTube giveaway rules:
- Follow all state and Federal rules for your prize and giveaway contest.
- Link to YouTube's community guidelines.
- Don't ask or expect users to give ownership of any content to you or your brand.
- All contests must be free to enter.
- State that your contest is not affiliated, sponsored, or supported by YouTube.
- Include a privacy notice that states how you will use any information or data that you collect.
- Be sure to display your rules and guidelines for the contest.
YouTube changes their rules and guidelines regarding blog giveaways regularly.
How To Run Successful Blog Giveaways
Holding blog giveaways is a great way to attract new people to your website. However, running a successful promotion requires a lot of forethought and planning.
Here are some tips:
Know your social media demographics
First of all, know your social media platforms.
Did you know?
More adults use Facebook than other social media platforms. As of 2019, there are 2.3 billion monthly active Facebookers. However, if you are targeting younger generations, Instagram is a better option.
You know who your users are. However, do you know where to find them? Here are some important social media demographics, according to SproutSocial.
These people use Facebook:
- 51 percent of 13 to 17 year-olds
- 81 percent of 18 to 29 year-olds
- 78 percent of 30 to 49 year-olds
- 66 percent of 50 to 64 year-olds
- 41 percent of 65 year-olds and over
These people are on Instagram:
- 72 percent of 13 to 17 year-olds
- 64 percent of 18 to 29 year-olds
- 40 percent of 30 to 49 year-olds
- 21 percent of 50 to 64 year-olds
- 10 percent of 65 year-olds and over
These people are on Twitter:
- 32 percent of 13 to 17 year-olds
- 40 percent of 18 to 29 year-olds
- 27 percent of 30 to 49 year-olds
- 19 percent of 50 to 64 year-olds
- 8 percent of 65 year-olds and over
These people are on YouTube:
According to Hootsuite, you'll find these folks on YouTube.
- 96 percent 18 to 24 year-olds
- 95 percent of 25 to 34 year-olds
- 95 percent of 35 to 44 year-olds
- 85 percent of 45 to 54 year-olds
- 79 percent of 55 to 64 year-olds
- 51 percent to 65 percent of 65 year-olds and over
Pick a unique contest hashtag
Hashtags are merely putting a # before a word or phrase. This action creates a hyperlink on some social media platforms. You can easily track the reach of your giveaway and track entries by using a hashtag.
But here's the thing:
Creating a unique hashtag that brings attention to your promotion is a bit more complicated. First and foremost, you want to generate a unique identifier for your contest. It should be easy to spell, and it should be easy to remember.
Perform a search to ensure that your hashtag is 100 percent unique before settling on a contest hashtag.
Choose a great prize
As we mentioned earlier, the reward you choose is an excellent way to let your readers know how much you value their support. As well, it allows them to know how well you understand them.
So, do this:
Choose a product or service that will bring your readers joy and will make them feel rewarded. One of the prime benefits of holding blog giveaways is to cement the concept of brand loyalty.
Set the rules
Fortunately, there are a lot of valuable resources online to help you create a boilerplate set of rules that cover all the bases.
This sample template from Vervocity is in .doc format for easy customization. It's important that your rules are clear and easy to understand. Use plain language for maximum readability.
Create the graphics
Use a program like Canva to create an engaging contest post.
But keep in mind:
For it to be shareable, follow the guidelines for each social media platform. In Canva or other similar SaaS programs, you can add branding to your graphics. Unique branded content is essential because it improves your search engine ranking.
Promote blog giveaways across channels
As we talked about earlier, use social media to promote your contest. Unless your contest is ultra-niche, we recommend promoting across each of your social media channels.
Not only that:
You'll want to increase participation by sending an email blast to your list. Post about your contest at least twice a day, for maximum exposure.
Use influencer tie-ins to boost participation
Anytime you can involve an influencer or industry thought leader; you'll reap the benefits of cross-exposure. Offer an influencer the opportunity to promote their brand via your blog giveaways. Promote the collaboration by creating guest blog posts on each other's channels.
Influencer marketing tips:
- The influencer is someone whose brand is relevant to your readers.
- Choose an influencer who is authentic.
- Your influencer is active.
- Reach out directly to your influencer and work to develop a synergistic campaign.
Have a charity tie-in
If you're wooing a millennial audience, chances are, you understand their commitment to social justice and change. If practical — and not wholly self-serving — tie your giveaway to a favorite charity.
You can offer a "win one - give one" promotion. Alternatively, offer to donate a certain amount to the charity based on the number of participants.
Drumroll Please: How To Select A Winner For Your Blog Giveaways
Remember, transparency equals trust!
When it's time to select a winner, you should record or live-stream the selection process. In a bit, we'll talk about some tools to help you keep everything above board, legal, and legit.
Use a spreadsheet to help you keep track of all participants. This is especially important if you are promoting your giveaway across channels. Plus, the added organization will help you calculate your ROI.
Watch Out! Don't Fall Into These Blog Giveaway Pits
Even the most well-intended among us need help avoiding these deadly blog giveaway mistakes. Here are a few of the most common blog giveaway pitfalls.
Using a claimed or generic hashtag
As we discussed earlier, it's essential to choose a unique contest identifier as your hashtag. Unfortunately, it is harder than you think to come up with something genuinely original.
Be sure to search for already-been-done hashtags using a tool like Hash at.it
Timing, they say, is everything. This is true in life and blogging.
But here's the secret:
Two weeks is the sweet spot for blog giveaways. It gives you enough time to promote while keeping your campaign relevant and exciting. It's short enough that you won't lose the sense of urgency.
TGTBT -- It smells like "scam"
Be careful when choosing your giveaway prize. You may wish to tempt your readers with a new iPad or other expensive gadgets.
However, warnings abound:
If it seems "too good to be true," it's probably a scam. Until you build trust with your fanbase, it's better to stick with low-key blog giveaways.
Not being specific in your rules and fine print
Consider the phrase “everyone uses Facebook” when running your blog giveaways contest. That includes kids.
Be sure you are specific about age requirements and residency restrictions. According to experts, these two areas are most likely to sink your contest before you even get started.
Typos and poor grammar
Excellent grammar is a thankless job; no one appreciates it until you do it poorly. Remember, you are trying to build trust with your readers. However, it's easy to get excited when you're creating graphics.
Just be sure to use the same fine-toothed comb to go over your contest promotions as you do for your blog content.
Your contest is an extension of your brand. Staying on-message is critical.
Use your blog giveaway and the prize you select to let your readers know that you really get them.
Not collecting data -- or not using data you collect
There are many ways to use the data and information you gather during a contest.
- Beef up your mailing list.
- Start a newsletter.
- Provide follow-up.
- Ask for feedback or reviews.
- Send special consolation promotions to non-winners.
One of the most valuable uses for the data is the opportunity to learn from the process. Picture your data through a more analytical lens. The number and quality response is a terrific indicator of success.
However, this data can also inform the decisions or goals for the next promotion.
If you didn’t get the response you wanted, change your promo materials or tweak the language on your sign-up form. Try asking your questions differently.
In other words: Shake it up!
Perhaps try improving the intuitiveness of your opt-in by using checkboxes or a dropdown menu.
Failing to provide additional customer support for the contest
No matter how clear and concise you've made the instructions, there will be problems. As stated, no social media platform provides customer support for your contest.
So, be sure that you have a way for participants to get in touch with you when confusion arises.
Appearing to play "favorites"
If you have an established fan-base, you know your most engaged readers by name. Be careful, during giveaways, never to call anyone out during the contest.
Blog Giveaway Tools And Apps You Can't Live Without
By now, you realize that promoting a successful blog giveaway campaign is hard work. Thankfully, several tools and apps make the process a lot easier. These tools also do the heavy lifting when it comes to data collection, choosing a winner, staying legal, follow-up, and measuring ROI.
Here are a few helpful tools:
Use Rafflecopter to launch your next giveaway and manage it with ease. It only takes a few minutes to set up a giveaway or promotion using their service. It's no surprise that major brands like Intel, NBC, Pizza Hut, and YELP!
On top of that:
Use the service to run their giveaways. However, the site does offer plans for smaller up-and-coming brands like yours.
Gleam is a stalwart in the blog giveaway and sweepstakes space. The intuitive software allows you to build powerful contests and giveaways to boost your following.
And the best part is:
Their broad range of actions, integrations, and widgets features make it easy to run a variety of campaigns.
Known for its social media integration, Shortstack has you covered from the earliest stages of your giveaway planning. Content on their website offers information about ideation, best practices, and calculating ROI.
Heyo's service offers a 7-day free trial for new users.
In a matter of minutes, you can run interactive contests anywhere and everywhere on the Web. Follow-up allows you to reward and engage your list with quizzes and coupons.
The highly-intuitive marketing software from WooBox helps you create endless social media campaigns like giveaways, coupons, and other contest.
Best of all:
It's free to try for new users.
Measuring Your Success (ROI)
The real winner is you! You learned how to plan and execute flawless blog giveaways including what not to do!
Since you made it this far, the only remaining question you probably have is:
How do I measure my blog giveaway's success?
A lot depends on the goals you set from the beginning. Did you achieve the number of new subscribers, followers, and page likes?
To determine your true ROI, you need to consider a few metrics.
First of all, calculate your costs including time-spent and the amount of money you spent on the prize and any funds spent on promotion of the contest.
Divide that number by the number of new readers and total engagements. Now you have your cost of acquisition. Use this data to finetune your next promotion and carry on!
Have you ever run a blog contest? What were some snags you hit along the way? Please share your tips in the comments!