How to run a successful giveaway on your blog
This post has been requested a number of times and I’ve held off on writing it as I wasn’t sure of some of the legal implications. Competitions and giveaways were one of the main ways I raised the scale of my blog in it’s early stages 4 years ago, and how I increased my traffic/follower base. I ran these every few months without charge, as my “payment” was the increase in traffic to my blog which then naturally increased my follower base.
Why is running a giveaway good for your blog?
Arguably it can raise the profile of your blog if you are seen to be working with a popular brand (much like a collaboration would). If you ask a person to tweet their entry, or publicise your competition then it also can increase the number of people who visit your blog (who may become longer term followers).
The best way (if the prize is a product) is to review the item as you would usually on your blog and offer it as a prize to somebody. Therefore it is meaningful content as well as the competition element. The most “trustworthy” competitions are when a blogger offers a product (or a voucher from a brand) that they regular use and have previously endorsed on the blog – if you need tips on how to best contact the brand read this post here.
Why is running a giveaway on a blog good for a brand?
Put simply, it’s effective brand awareness and a cheap way of pushing their products to their target customer base. The only time it is bad is when a blogger they wouldn’t choose to work with publicly offers a piece of their product in a competition that they have not endorsed.
What is a brand looking for when partnering with a blog for a competition?
They are usually looking for one of two things; data or brand awareness (or both). If data, they are looking for contact information of potential new customers so will ask you to collate the data (usually email addresses) of applicants which you will pass on to them. If brand awareness, they are looking for more people to be aware of their products and therefore may well ask applicants to promote (tweet, post, etc) and follow them on a social media platform.
How to ask your applicants to enter:
It is an unspoken given that it is ok to use a competition to increase your own following (another advantage) on a particular social media platform – but do make it simple for people to apply. Ask them to do one thing for you: send you their email address (so you can sign them up to your blog newsletter), like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter. It’s ok to do this and ask them to follow the brand. If you want them to tweet/post something about the competition make it easy for them and supply them with pre-written text on your blog post for them to copy and paste.
Having done a number of competitions, I have found the best way is to ask people to follow you on Facebook and send your Facebook page a direct message with their email address. You then put together a quick Excel spreadsheet and when the competition finishes, send the brand the file. This can be time consuming and for that reason Rafflecopter is really popular. This is a program which using someone’s Facebook and/or email address to generate their entry and the information goes straight to whoever created the Rafflecopter widget/page (which you enter into your blog). It is a little prone to spam (hence preferring the manual option) but an awful lot easier.
The legal bit is straight forward – you must state if the item/voucher was given to you by the brand or if it was a personal item. You must also disclose what you intend to do with the applicants’ information – will you use it again, will you be passing it on to the brand – and will they be using it in any way.
If the brand have told you they intend to sell the data to a third party, you must give the applicants the option to opt out of this in some way (saying so on an email application is enough). You must include entries into the competition who ask for their data to be passed on. You must state where the competition can be entered from (country, etc) and if there are any additional charges to the winner (postage for example).
Selecting a winner
Officially you can choose a winner however you like but the best way is to use a random number generator online and pick the winner with the chronology of the entries (ie: if it selects 23, it was the 23rd person to enter the competition who wins).
Downsides to competitions?
There are a few negatives to running a competition. It may get attention from offers sites, which although causes a temporary spike in your traffic, will mean that the people entering are doing so purely to win something and will most likely never visit your site again. A drop in traffic following a competition is usual in this case, so don’t be too disheartened. It also means that the data (if you have been asked to collate it) will be far less valuable to a brand as the people will more than likely unsubscribe from a newsletter (as an example of what a brand will do with an email address after the competition has finished).
As an FYI it’s considered bad taste to promote your own competition through someone else’s blog – so comments with “come and see my competition to win X” are not going to be popular.
If you are not working with the brand and have just decided to give something away from your own belongings then you also cannot expect the brand to endorse your competition – it may actually put them off working with you on a commercial level.
Your competition should never last longer than a week/10 days and it’s important to not over publicise your competition – don’t push it on social media any more than any other post.