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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’ am trying out my 2nd giveaway for this year at my site. Participation hasn’t been as good as expected though.. will to work on the tips provided here in my next giveaway.

  2. I’m running a giveaway right now on one of my websites and after reading this, I think what I had initially thought was really easy and simple is actually asking too much. The contest I set up lasts until the end of August (mistake number one), so once it’s over I’m going to try again — with simpler entry rules. (:

  3. I did a giveaway month back in april while doing the 31 day primer and received 50% more traffic during that month. Of course the giveaways were good for drawing traffic but afterwards I kept some of the traffic so the articles I was writing must have done some good. Thanks for the great articles.

  4. Wow..how great this sharing
    I really appreciate

  5. Brilliant…………I have already planned my giveaway……….Thanks Darren.

  6. I recently started giveaways and see awesome results. Sure, it’s about gaining traffic, repeat visitors, etc. But it’s also a ton of fun. I can’t wait to run my next promotion!

  7. @Muzi My how-tos are tips/guidelines, not “rules”, so one month will probably work fine since you have more of a theme/celebration to your giveaway. :)

    @Thomas You might try searching for “blog giveaways”, “blog contests” etc on google.de to see what you come up with.

    @Debra Thanks for the tip!

  8. Giving popular electronic gadgets work the best way, I remember seeing thousands of entries for ipods and flips but lesser enteries for ebook valued at $$$.

  9. I have broken several rules for my giveaways: #1. I rarely (if ever) given away something that had a $50+ value. #3. I have ran a giveaway longer than a week – mostly to give more exposure and to give giveaway sites and blogs time to actually post my giveaway.

    I love hosting giveaways and I still have a lot to learn. I’m thinking of doing a “twitter only” giveaway if that’s possible.

  10. I like the idea of bonus points for RSS signup, twitter follow, etc…That must be hard to track though, right?

  11. Another great low-cost alternative is to use a pay site’s registration as the prize. Work out a deal with the site owner to get a paid account to give away on your site. Then follow the author’s tips on setting expectations so the site owner doesn’t hate you for not getting the traffic uptick he was expecting (for example).

  12. Thanks for the give away idea and also thank
    Olivia (Frugal Bon Vivant) for reply @Sarah’s comment “How do you determine who wins the giveaway?”
    I learn to know random.org now. I plan to giveaway contest from my blog soon.

  13. Good points, I think it is time I did another contest and now I can promote it more effectively.

  14. Definitely submit your giveaway through moneysavingmom
    I have received a lot of traffic from this site and the subscribers are their for giveaways, discounts, and savings.

  15. It seems like a great idea but I don’t know what exactly to give away.

  16. It has never crossed my mind to promote my blog that way. I’m a new blogger and looking to establish my reader base so this could do wonders for me.

  17. Thanks for the tip. I’ve heard about this one or twice before but never gave it a try. Maybe I should…….

  18. Olivia is right on all counts. Since I have been entering giveaways and sweepstakes for about 16 years I find that this is something people will always do and sometimes, in the case of a small prize, it doesn’t even matter what it is. I had 2,000 entries from a giveaway I did for $200 coupons. Side note: coupons are a hot giveaway because of the economy and they are easy to get :-)

    Since I run a sweepstakes/giveaway site I have seen over the last year the progression of blog giveaways. When they started people were gung-ho to enter, link back, tweet, put on Facebook and do whatever it takes to get extra entries. Now I find that people are getting smart and realize they really aren’t winning because for the most part it might be one prize from 2,000+ entries and doing all of that extra work isn’t worth it. But, if the prize is something larger like a $100 gift cert or maybe a laptop then you will definitely get readers to do the extra work.

    One other plus? Backlinks. Get readers to link to your using your “anchor text keywords” in any sentence they want to make up and tell them to put it on any existing post. Voila! Free backlinks that Google loves :-)

  19. I plan to have a contest soon on my blog.
    Just as soon as I have my email list and autoresponder set up.
    Then line up contributors.

    That is what I learned from other blog owners, get contributors, lots of contributors offering all kinds of stuff, from advertising to cash.

  20. seems a good idea but liitle perplexed whether it will suit my blog or not

  21. My gosh this is such good info… seriously. And my thing is, only good can come from it. It’s good to educate yourself on how to do things better. Now I’m stoked!!

  22. I broke several of these rules with my giveaway ( http://nhocshock.com/ ) and have had lackluster interest. Then again, maybe most people just aren’t very interested in dinosaurs.

  23. I’ve been using a few giveaways to build my list but I never thought of leveraging them to promote my blog http://CraigDawber.com I will certainly try this next time……Thanks :-)

  24. I came here from Tip Junkie :) Thank you so much for that great info! Very informative. I will be back :)

  25. Thank you for the excellent tips, Olivia!

    I agree with all your points, but I have to say that I don’t like it when bloggers offer “bonus” entries…for a number of reasons. I am weary of contests that offer 10 different ways to enter. My opinion is that simplicity is best.

  26. Hehe. Drop you like third period French. Hehe.

    Darren, you’re generally judicious with your humor sprinklings – that little gem cracked me up.

    Good one.


  27. Darned submit button.

    My apologies, Olivia. :-)


  28. 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

  29. Question for all you bloggers who constantly run giveaways: where do get all your prizes? Is it something you shell out your own money for? Sometimes I get contacted by designers, asking to promote their products, but it’s few and far. I’d love to do more giveaways if I can find a way to get items cheaply.

  30. I LOVE this idea. My blog is about art, and as an artist I can think of all kinds of things I could offer as a give-away. I currently have very few readers/subscribers and this could be a great way to generate more!

  31. This Post helps us to promote the blog and get huge traffic

  32. This can be done if you already earn a thousand dollars (at least) for every giveaway you’ve gave. For a beginner blogger (who didn’t earning a cent yet), this is very hard. So, I think you must think about it too. Many of your subscribers are live in poor country, like me, I live in Indonesia where $1 are IDR 10,000. 1 and 10,000, amazing, isn’t it?

  33. What’s the best give away you can suggest?

  34. Great article. Thanks.

    I’m hosting a giveaway right now (not quite a $50 value but still a sweet prize), I’d say over 50% of my entrants have opted in to get extra ballots by doing other stuff (RTing, listing fav item from 2 stores etc).

  35. This is a great article!

    I am doing this stuff in blog and my traffic is icreasing.

    Thanks again!

  36. Thanks for a great article. I’ve been thinking of doing a give-away on my blog, and I KNOW that the item(s) must be of value. I am wondering if it’s ever appropriate to ask an etsy vendor that I’ve bought from, for example, to donate an item for a give-away? I was wondering how that might work. Any thoughts?

  37. Thank you for the great advice. I found this post through googling how to promote a give away. I’ve only done small give-aways so far, so I may have to take your $50 advice to heart. Although I often read book review blogs, in which book low value give-aways are common. (Our current give away: http://infantbibliophile.blogspot.com/2009/08/give-away-do-dot-art-set.html). Now to somehow refrain from spending the whole night on online-sweepstakes.com, which I had never seen…

  38. I found that amazon gift cards are great prize even it it for $20.
    There has been a few sites I found because they had a giveaway and now i love them and visit everyday so they do work.

  39. Has read your article, about competition on a blog, very interestingly. At us on the Russian-speaking Internet you will not meet competitions on blogs. Very interesting idea, thanks. I hope that the Russian-speaking Internet when that will catch up, English-speaking users on development. Or it is already better to be levelled to China :)

  40. I’ve kicked off my first ever (consecutive) series of blog posts today and am holding a giveaway of 2 related books at the end of the weeklong series. I’m doing this in part to increase visitors & readership, but also as a small way to “pay it forward” since I’ve won a couple of trivia contests on other sites recently.

    I’ve been working towards this for more than a month and I’m really excited to see how the drawing goes! I’ve made entry as easy as possible for my readers – simply post a comment.

  41. Great advice, this post helped me find a site to promote my netbook giveaway, It’s my first ever, so I’m hoping it goes well!

    Here’s the link:

  42. Hi,
    Your post is really helpful to person like me who just started to work on the blog writing.I really thankful to u for your advice.

  43. wow…really nice post and thanks for the valuable tips.

  44. Great post! You provide great tips on giveaways. I will have to bookmark this blog for resources in the future! Thanks for your great ideas!

  45. I’m about to announce my first ever giveaway, and I had no idea all this information was out there. Thanks so much!!

    If you love cookware, come over to my blog and stay tuned for the exciting giveaway announcement!

  46. I have been running competition on http://www.totalapps.net and they are going really well. I found a great way to run a competition via blog comments that sends a code out via RSS it works brilliantly.


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