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How To Promote Your Blog with a Giveaway

Posted By Darren Rowse 10th of August 2009 Blog Promotion 0 Comments

A guest post from Olivia from Frugal Bon Vivant (a blog about enjoying the good life on a budget).

We’ve already established that doing a giveaway can be an excellent way to promote your blog. So now that you’ve decided to do a giveaway – and it’s been live for three hours with zero entries – what do you do? If your goal is to reach new readers you’ll need to promote the giveaway – especially if you don’t have an established reader base yet. Here are 6 tips for promoting your blog giveaway:

1. Give away something of value

This sounds like a given, but there are so many small hodgepodge giveaways out there already (personally, I love Etsy giveaways, but hardcore promotion of a $5 item isn’t going to earn you points with most people). A good rule of thumb is a $50 minimum value – if you’re planning to promote to a new audience. Plus, many blog giveaway promotion sites require the prize value to be $50 or greater.

2. Keep it simple!

Make sure the entry requirements scale with the giveaway’s value. For example, if you’re giving away a $50 gift card make the entry requirements quick & easy, like “leave a comment with the words ‘i heart cupcakes!’” Requiring six steps to enter is a quick way to see your incoming visitors bounce. Requiring just a comment and then allowing people to get “bonus points” by following you on Twitter, re-tweeting, friending on Facebook, and subscribing via RSS will create much more goodwill. In my experience, only 17% of the entrants did a bonus option.

3. Keep it short

I found that one week is a good time limit. If you let it drag on too long, your readers will stray, but if it’s too short you won’t get as much promotion and traffic out of your giveaway.

4. Leverage your network

Promote to your existing blog network (via Twitter, Facebook Pages, reminders at the bottom of new posts etc). When appropriate, share the giveaway with your personal network too. Don’t be pushy or repetitive, but posting a link on your personal Facebook page with a “Hey guys, I’m giving away xxx on my blog tomorrow!” can generate quite a bit of traffic from friends and acquaintances that are interested in you, but might not have checked out your blog before.

5. Submit your giveaway to blogsblog-giveaway-promotion.png

There are many blogs devoted to listing giveaways, but most of them are a waste of time. I submitted my giveaway to about 30 sweepstakes and giveaway websites, and only saw multiple entries from four sites, but overall those 4 sites generated 85% of my contest entries! (see chart) Another idea is to look for other bloggers in your niche who are doing giveaways and swap links — by mentioning each others’ giveaways. Remember, this needs to beneficial for both of you, so think about what would make you want to swap, if another blogger requested the same from you

6. Expect attrition

Anytime you’re doing a giveaway, you’re going to get more traffic, followers, subscribers etc, but when the giveaway is over some of them are inevitably going to drop you like third period French. Fortunately, there will still be some entrants who saw enough value in your blog to stick around. The day my giveaway ended, I had 6x the RSS subscribers and followers on Twitter than what I had started with. Within a few days though, 10% of them unsubscribed/unfollowed – which to me was an acceptable attrition rate and I was stoked to see that I was creating enough value after the giveaway for the 90% of my new “friends” who stayed.

If you’re still in the planning stages of your giveaway, try to think of creative ways to do a cheap giveaway… Have you won anything recently? Or received a gift that you can’t return? I gave away a Sansa slotRadio mp3 player (valued at $99) that I won from another blog giveaway that had only 21 entries – fairly good odds – so shipping was my only cost.

How have you successfully promoted your blog giveaway?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I broke several of these rules with my giveaway ( http://www.observingcasually.com/giveaway-dinosaur-books/ ) and have had lackluster interest. Then again, maybe most people just aren’t very interested in dinosaurs.

  2. Great Post. This is defenitely something I have to check out. I really can’t think of what I would give away though.

  3. IMO 1, 2, 3 have the highest priority:)
    1. If it’s not worth, people are not interested.
    2. If it’s not simple people easily move away (Similar to less number of people commenting when registering is involved)
    3. If it’s not short, people tend to get bored:)

  4. I am currently running such a promotional event however its more of a give and take than what has been suggested above. I have been successful to some extent.

  5. Thanks for the post! Gives me yet another set of great tips to file away for future use :)

    I would add this: when planning a giveaway, you should also take into consideration your target audience. If you can find a giveaway item that is appealing to the type of people you’re looking to attract, I think the promotion will be even more effective.

    Just my $.02!

  6. Hi Darren. Good One.
    After Seth Godin, you are on my list of perfect read.
    I am writing a book and before that I will be releasing a report. It’s going to be a perfect way to start contributing to the blogging community and readers. By the way, after I get some more subscribers I will try to offer some good giveaways too!

  7. I have never done a contest before. Thansk for sharing the points on how to promote a blog giveaway. Thanks Greg Ellison

  8. Valuable Post Olivia. (Thanks Darren for having it on)

    One suggestion/though that I have is that (if possible), have a side prize for the site that referred the winning visitor. I haven’t totally thought out how you would track it, but I am sure it can be done. (suggestions anyone?)

    This way, other blog owners have incentive to help publicize your contest. So your entrant rate should significantly increase.

    My blog is relatively new, but it is something that I am thinking of trying in the near future.


  9. I’ve never had a contest but will be releasing a new ebook shortly and think your post is a perfect plan to promote a give away of this product as part of the launch.

    On my main blog (http://www.arkanimals.com) I use a give away as an attractant for readers to subscribe–I get a steady trickle with at least on subscriber a day.

    Appreciate your ideas and am going to give them a try!

  10. I’d give something that has to do with what I usually talk about, maybe a free report or ebook, or something I know my readers are interested in,
    great stuff, i’ll be using them

  11. I’d give something that has to do with what I usually talk about, maybe a free report or ebook, or something I know my readers are interested in,
    great stuff, i’ll use it for sure

  12. I like the giveaway idea but what about readers who subscribe to feeds just for giveaway?

    They may unsubscribe quickly or just not read content. Won’t that be a waste of resources!

  13. This is the best way to attract some readers and force them to subscribe.
    Instead of eBooks cash is best offer.

  14. I just started my blog, but I’m definitely going to do a giveaway soon. I know content is king so I’m working on that first.

  15. I am having a giveaway on my blog right now. What are some of these sites you mentioned to promote my giveaway?

  16. Thanks for publishing my guest post Darren!

    @Jeffrey, I agree, target audience is definitely a consideration. It kind of rolls into “something of value” IMO… value (monetary & interesting) to your audience.

    @Mr I., yes, some attrition is to be expected in a giveaway. I decided to write about ways to promote a giveaway (after you’ve already decided that it makes sense for your blog). I agree, that for some blogs it might be better to be more selective in giveaways to exclude those “sweeps” people, but if you’re looking to get new subscribers, it’s hard to be selective. ;)

  17. I recently had my first competition on my band’s blog and I wish I had read this blog first. Number 2 – Keep It Simple is the point I needed to know last week. I asked entrants to tell a short story in order to potentially win a CD and entry to a gig. Obviously too much to ask in hindsight as only 3 people entered the competition. For a small prize like that, next time I’ll just be setting up an easy to enter draw. Thanks for the tips.

  18. I’ve had great success offering free Chevron Gift Cards on my site in the past!

    The terms of the contest were quite simple, subscribe via email and you are automatically entered to win.

    I still haven’t found a way to offer the reward to RSS subscribers yet!

    I’m thinking of a contest in the next week or two to give away my copy of ProBlogger Guide to 6-Figure Blogging!!

    I’m not exactly sure (yet) what the rules will be, but it will probably be based on some variation of RSS or email subscribers!

  19. These are such great ideas! I’m going to try a giveaway for my blog this week–thanks for the post!

  20. I’ve been considering doing this for a while now. Maybe for guest posts or something. It’s a nice idea.

  21. I just did a blog post on my coffee blog that I thought was pretty successful. I wish I had read this two weeks ago before I started it, now I think I can make the next one even better.

  22. Hey Darren,

    This post really has gotten me thinking about giveaways we can do on our GreenJoyment site. I’m going to have to give this one some thought, because I hadn’t before, but there are probably hundreds of great things we can give away and get some great traffic/links in return.

    Thanks for the tips/overview.


  23. Yes, A very Nice way to make your Name

  24. Thanks for the great post! I run monthly giveaways on my website (I do them on the blog part of the site) and have been wondering if the monthly run is too long. I know the giveaway sponsors really like it being a month, because it gives them longer exposure. Something to think about anyhow!

    The other issue I have is that *usually* my giveaways require you to be a member of my site – which is free and open to everyone and simple to join, of course. The reasoning behind this at first was that the giveaways were a ‘thank you’ to members, a way to show that I appreciate them joining, and also a way to hopefully encourage people to join the site. I haven’t really used them to try and generate traffic *to* my site until recently – and now that I’m trying to do that, I wonder if requiring membership is going to hurt those efforts?

  25. Thanks–great post. How do you determine who wins the giveaway?

  26. Thanks for the advice, I was going to Giveaway 10 dollars. I guess now I have to up the ante.

  27. Oh man – I wish I had known about those giveaway blogs when I did my last few giveaways! I have mainly just promoted my giveaways via email to friends and family members who may not be regulars at my blog. I am totally going to reread this post before my next giveaway. By-the-way I was glad to see that I was on the right track in other areas, like limiting the giveaway to one week, keeping the value of the prize relatively high and not asking people to do more than leave a comment :).

  28. I’ve had the “giveaway” idea in the back of my head for a few weeks.. these are just the tips I needed. Thx!! xo

  29. Everyone loves getting something for free.

  30. I’m thinking about starting an incentivized blog. Basically offering readers the chance of getting cash by contributing content. This is food for thought.

  31. I write a classical music/music education blog and in the last few months have given away free tickets to several operas in Toronto (thanks OA + Tapestry!), as well as free CDs for several recent classical releases (thanks Sony!). In every case, the companies came to me with the offers, as they wanted exposure to my readership as well as free promotion.

    I’m glad to offer these freebies in order to promote quality products and events in my field as well as grow my readership at the same time. Twitter and Facebook certainly help in this regard, as does networking with publicists.

  32. @Sarah you can use random.org to generate a random number, if your contest requirement was just to comment on the post, or if you have several entry methods (Twitter, RSS, comments etc), you can put it all in Excel and use the random # generator “=RANDBETWEEN(1,457)”

  33. giveaways, quite common on music blogs- cds, tickets, guitars, etc. check out the SICK PUPPIES / Samsung contest-


  34. Great article. I was actually thinking about doing a giveaway soon but wasn’t sure how to go about it. I’ve bookmarked this page for future reference :)

    What do you think is a good price? Should it be something useful like a MP3 player or just something gimicky like a t-shirt?

  35. This was very timely for me. About to do a give way later today. I like the idea of bonus points for further action. Thanks for the tips.

  36. I haven’t had much luck with my giveaways. I think I need to work on step 5 – submitting info on my giveaway to other blogs dedicated to giveaways and other JV pals. I think I was depending on my own traffic — and that didn’t work. OR my gift wasn’t valuable enough — although I would of loved it!!! Thanks for the tips here.

  37. The timing on this post couldn’t be better!! I had researched this before, just got the prize I want to give away, and was trying to find my research on how to go about it. Olivia, these are wonderful tips! Thank you!

  38. Thanks! This post was very timely as I’m planning a give-away this Friday. Thanks for the site suggestions as far as promotion, I was able to create member accounts for those sites in preparation for Friday the give away!

  39. great thanks for sharing this cool post

  40. Great Ideas. You will get back what you give. A enthusiastic community is priceless.

  41. My blog is turning 3 years in October and have managed to organise varied prizes worth over $3,300 mainly weekend getaways. I plan to run a twitter contest where I request users to subscribe to my emailing list and retweet a message.

    Is running a contest for a month, too long? As I intend running contest for the entire September and name the winners on the birthday date in October.

  42. Yeah.. Giveaway can catch a readers attention..
    Maybe I will use it on my blog after my income stabil

  43. A new idea for me. Well.. I’ll try to apply it and look the result for my blog!


  44. Hey thanks for the Tip. I have an German Blog and do it some Days before and the Prices are OK. But no one had interessts , time before i do it the same but my response are very small. How can i do it on German Blogs? Can you Help there too?


  45. I though something about this, the term giveaway can actually be misleading. Because giveaway should be giving without any expectation of receiving anything in return. But most who operates on giveaways wants some form of incentive for their side. It’s not the way it should work but that’s how strategy is :)

  46. Hosting a contest is a night mare if you dont have amble time. Even a small contest on my blog kept me working for long hours. Here are the lessons I learnt.

    Hosting a Successful Contest


  47. This is good idea. On top of that, I can think of giveaway T-shirt or cap with the blog’s logo or name to the readers. That will promote your blog indirectly. What can you think of?

    The iPhone Blogging

  48. Great post ~ Glad to see I’m doing something right ;-)

    I set up my blog, Words To Mouth, this way from the beginning. I interview authors (transcribed & audio) and provide book giveaway contests for each post. Readers/Listeners either comment on my blog or call in and leave a voice mail to be entered to win a copy of the spotlighted book.

    Thanks for all the fabulous info you share to help us all be better bloggers.

    All & ONLY the Best,

  49. All good ideas. Especially giving away something that is very specific to my target market. My blog is all about golf for women… I think my best giveaway would be some quality golf balls – simple to ship, and everyone can use them. What do you think?

  50. @Sarah @Olivia It’s better to use the RAND() function in Excel, because you’re likely to get duplicates with RANDBETWEEN. I had a giveaway on my Excel blog, and created a macro to pick the winners.
    Picking an Excel Giveaway Winner

    To enter you had to add a comment that completed the sentence “You might be an Excel nerd if…”

    Lots of fun to read, and people visited just to read those comments.

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