Running a giveaway on your blog can be a very effective way to attract new readers and they are a fun way to reward your existing readers. I always feel a bit like Santa Claus when I contact a winner, especially when the winners respond with such excited emails. Because you can promote giveaways in so many places for free, blog giveaways essentially give you the ability to advertise your blog for free, but many bloggers aren’t sure how to get started.
Finding a Giveaway Prize
The simplest way to find a giveaway prize is to buy it yourself, but this isn’t very cost effective if you are running a giveaway as a promotional tool for your blog. Once your blog is established and has a steady stream of visitors, you can partner with a company that has the same target audience that your blog does and ask them to donate a prize to giveaway on your blog. Be sure and offer full disclosure in compliance with the FTC guidelines if you received a product donation from a company.
It is important that you clearly list the rules to your giveaway. Don’t leave any room for confusion or you may end up responsible for more than you planned on giving away. Be clear when your giveaway ends, who is eligible to enter, and where the prize can be shipped to (for ex. if you don’t want to ship the prize to Mongolia, make sure your readers know you are limiting shipping to the U.S. and Canada).
If you want your blog readers to enter your giveaway, you have to tell them how to do that. You can keep things simple by having people comment on a post to enter. You can offer additional entries in exchange for your readers doing a little something extra, although there are mixed opinions about doing this going around the blogosphere.
Determine what your goal is in hosting a giveaway. If you want to increase your Twitter following, offer and extra entry for any reader who becomes a Twitter follower. You can offer extra entries for anything you want but be sure to keep the instructions clear so that your readers understand what the rules are. Some of the things that blogs commonly offer extra giveaway entries for are: blogging about the giveaway, tweeting about the giveaway, signing up for the blog’s RSS feed, signing up for the blog newsletter, and sharing the post through some other form of social media such as stumbleUpon or Digg.
You need to be aware of the rules if you are giving extra entries in exchange for your readers doing something on another site. Facebook, for example, does not allow you to require taking any action on Facebook, such as updating a status or uploading a photo, in order to enter the contest, however, you may condition entry to the promotion upon becoming a fan of a your Facebook page.
Choosing a Giveaway Winner
If you are drawing a random winner for your giveaway and not running a contest that allows you to choose a winner based on something they did, you’ll need to find a way to pick an entry at random. Random.org will allow you to enter the number of giveaway entries you have and give you a random number that falls somewhere in between that range. Once you have your random number, you can then go to that corresponding comment on your giveaway post and determine who the winner is. This is easier if your WordPress theme (or a plugin you are using) numbers the comments on your post but you can always do the same thing by counting down from the top.
If you want to simplify the process, there is a great plugin on WordPress called “And The Winner Is. . . “ (as mentioned here – 5 WordPress Plugins for Mom Bloggers) that allows you to label a blog post as a contest and will automatically pick a random comment as a winner.
Contacting the Giveaway Winner
Once your blog giveaway ends and you determine who the winner is, you’ll need to contact her to claim her prize. WordPress includes a field for an email address and even though this usually isn’t visible to all your readers, you can see the email address of anyone who comments in your WordPress dashboard by clicking on “comments”. If your giveaway winner is on Twitter or you are connected with her on Facebook, you can also notify her on there and give your blog giveaway some final exposure.
If you have any questions about running a giveaway on your blog, post them in the comments below.
Photo by Search Engine People Blog