Host Popular Giveaways on Your Mom Blog - dummies

Host Popular Giveaways on Your Mom Blog

By Wendy Piersall, Heather B. Armstrong

One successful mom blogging site is Twin sisters Janice Croze and Susan Carraretto seemed to build community and traffic effortlessly from day one. One of the ways they were doing this is by running giveaways on their blog.

They were one of the very first mom blogs to use this strategy as a way to build traffic and repeat visitors. Now there are thousands of blogs running giveaways every week.

The premise of running a giveaway is simple — offer a prize to your readers, and they can enter for a chance to win by leaving a comment on your blog post.

The benefits of running giveaways are

  • More visitors: People like free stuff, so it draws more visitors to your blog.

  • Builds repeat visitors: If you establish yourself as a frequent destination for giving away freebies, people have an incentive to come back.

  • Builds relationships with brand representatives: Many times, PR firms will offer free stuff to bloggers for giveaways as a way to build up awareness about new products. This is a good way to build your experience working with brands when you’re very new.

  • Incorporate social media campaigns: You can up the value to sponsors by requiring entrants to visit the sponsor website or by integrating Facebook or Twitter activity into the giveaway entries.

    If you have a strong social media presence and a large blog that can deliver hundreds of entries, this is extremely valuable to sponsors. When you can add this much value, such an approach can become part of your advertising strategy — and become an additional source of revenue for you.

There are a few drawbacks to running giveaways, too:

  • Poor-quality visitors: Giveaways tend to draw readers who only care about free stuff, and don’t stay long or engage in your content or community.

  • Dealing with cheaters: People can and do enter multiple times under different names. You have to police entrants and double-check the IP addresses of commenters to ensure that they aren’t scamming you.

  • Time investment: The time it takes to obtain quality products to give away, write up the posts, manage entries, choose winners, and either ship out prizes or ensure that the PR firm did, can eat up a big chunk of your week. Carefully watch the time you spend on giveaways versus what you receive in return. Make sure it’s a good use of your time.

  • Sponsor follow-up: Sponsors will want to know the results of the giveaway on your blog, so you need to write up a report letting them know how many visitors and page views your giveaway post received. Additionally, companies can promise prizes and then never ship them out to the winners.

If your blog content is heavily focused on products and reviews, running giveaways is a great way to build your traffic and increase your advertising revenue. Other kinds of blogs have mixed success with it. The only way to know if they’ll work for you is if you test them out with your readers. If you decide to do that, here are suggestions for making it as successful as possible:

  • Only give away valuable prizes: When giveaways weren’t very common, any prize attracted entries. Now that they are so common, your prize really needs to be something that people want in order for them to take the time to visit your site.

  • Make entries easy: If visitors have to jump through hoops to enter your giveaway, they probably won’t. If a sponsor really wants entrants to take an action for a chance to win, consider giving your readers multiple ways to enter. For example, leaving a comment is one entry method, and going to the sponsor’s website and doing some virtual window shopping could constitute another entry.

  • Choose winners at random: This is required by law anyway, but will add integrity to your site if you can prove this is the manner the winner is chosen. You can do this by going to RANDOM.ORG and taking a screenshot of the number it generates for you, and posting the resulting image with your winner announcement.

The actual legal term to use is sweepstakes, not giveaways. Giveaways can be a legal minefield if you haven’t met some highly specific rules and guidelines according to the law. Do not use this technique to attract visitors unless you follow these rules carefully.