Thanks to a bunch of wonderful bloggers out there, I recently ran a birthday giveaway. While I did a few things right, I also learned from a handful of mistakes. Now I’d love to share my gleanings of insight with you, to make each of your next giveaways run without a hitch! Here are my top tips for how (not) to run a spectacular blog giveaway.
[Updated July 2015]
Go at it alone
>> No man is an island, and blog giveaways are most successful when they’re held by a handful of gracious hosts. Not only will you get more entrants from a wider, more expansive audience, but your giveaway will be published on others’ websites. This additional blog traffic plus bonus traffic from social media coverage of the giveaway from each host will help reel in traffic to your blog giveaway.
Throw like a girl
>> What prizes will you give away? Most likely, you’ll need sponsors to donate items, whether from big brands like KitchenAid or smaller handmade shops, like Etsy. Either way, you need to pitch well to get the goods. Don’t be shy and assume companies won’t be interested. Put on your game face and pitch your giveaway like a pro. Here are a few articles to get you started:
- Write an Elevator Pitch for Your Blog from ProBlogger
- Pitch Letter Templates from Eli Rose
- 9 Tips to Pitch Your Blog Successfully from Daily Blog Tips
Place a minimum value on items
>> There’s not much that puts me off to sponsoring a giveaway more than when the host requires a minimum value on the prize you offer. It seems tactless. (Is it tactless to call something tactless?) Maybe that’s just me, and I’m not judging those who do it, but I am saying to exercise caution and use your best judgment in this arena. This girl would rather win a $5 Starbucks card than a set of gaudy earrings that cost upwards of $60.
Forget to ask sponsors if they will ship prizes internationally
>> If you’re like me, a giveaway fiend living outside North America, you highly appreciate giveaways that are open worldwide. When hosting your own giveaway, it’s up to you to determine how prizes will be available. Remember that shipping overseas does cost a teensy bit more, so it’s best to clearly explain to potential sponsors the simple and most cost-efficient ways to mail prizes if you’re trying to lure them into a worldwide giveaway.
Email sponsors less than a week before the giveaway debuts
>> Be a peach and give your sponsors plenty of notice. Contact them at least 10 days before you plan to put together the giveaway post granting them minimum a week to get you their links, photos, and other information. You are relying on them after all, and if you’d like your sweet sponsors to return and collaborate again, treat them like royalty.
Put all the weight on others
>> Don’t let your sponsors carry all the weight. Donate a prize yourself. It is your blog after all.
Limit the giveaway only to bloggers
>> Sometimes giveaways limit themselves only to bloggers, by requiring mandatory “follow” entries. Remember that many readers may not be bloggers with the social media profiles to follow along with you. Open up entries to this audience by adding comment entries, or even “enter your email” entries to your giveaway.
Maintain a haphazard inbox
>> Place all giveaway contacts in a separate email folder. Be sure to include their names in every mailing to ensure they feel the love. After all, without your sponsors, you’ve got one major fail of a giveaway.
Gather sponsors in advance and lose touch
>> Maintain effective correspondence with giveaway sponsors. Keep them updated and let them know your plan. Get them on board to publicize your giveaway. Make the most of your partnership.
Forget to check links
>> Serve your sponsors well by checking each and every link in your giveaway post. Be sure that all sponsor blogs/shoppes and sponsor names are spelled correctly and that all rafflecopter links open correctly too. This photo is a real snapshot of a follow “link” from a giveaway going on at a blog. Feeling kinda lousy for the sponsor, but I did let the host know about the error.
Don’t follow up with sponsors after the winner has been chosen
>> Follow up contact is vital to ensure that the giveaway winner and sponsors are both happy. Be certain to thank your sponsors personally and be sure that prizes were sent. Encourage your winner to do the same. Post-giveaway is also a great time to ask for sponsor feedback, suggestions, and comments.
Now that you’ve got a hold on how to run a successful blog giveaway, go ahead and do it! And please invite me to enter, because I love me some hand-selected prizes!
What is your best tip for holding a successful blog giveaway? Please share in the comments so we can rock the giveaway scene!
Great tips! Especially about the international shipping. Nice post!
kendra kay says
i havent done one of these myself yet (truthfully will i ever? i am not confident i could pull this off at all) however, your tips are great- i have recently helped host (is that even what you call it??) a giveaway for local sugar hawaii and she is so awesome she just set it all up for me 🙂 someday i will reference this post i hope! 🙂
I hate the minimums too. While yes, a giveaway host is giving you some exposure for participating in their giveaway, you are also driving a fair amount of traffic to their blog by offering a prize for their giveaway. It always turns me off to a giveaway when I see a minimum placed.
And, I just started using the separate folders for group giveaways in my email inbox. I realized everything was everywhere and I was always searching my inbox for that email or this email. Making folders was a lifesaver. I also make folders for each of my types of ad sponsors each month. 🙂
I have actually never checked to see if my links work in Rafflecopter. Can you do that from Rafflecopter or do you need to log in and actually go through the entries like you would if you were entering the giveaway?
Great post, dear!
Amy Matsumoto says
I think that this post is pretty brilliant. And while I understand why some people put a minimum value on sponsored prized, I do find it kind of tactless as well. And if it’s tactless to call it tactless, we can be tactless together. =)
What a great post! I’m doing my first giveaway post on Friday so this is perfectly timed for me. I have heard complaints about people HAVING to retweet or like a Facebook page (apparently in some places it is illegal) so I made sure to add the simple comment option! And I never thought about the international shipping so I need to contact my sponsor!
My best tip is remember to send out your stuff! I’m still lacking part of a giveaway I won in July. It’s not a huge deal because the stuff is free, but it’s still saddening.
And it can be awkward when you have to contact the host of the giveaway, and say hey what’s up? lol! But as a blogger who has hosted a few group giveaways now, I would want a winner of one of my giveaways to contact me and let me know if one of my sponsors has been dragging their feet or hasn’t sent a prize to them at all. It is almost like a reference per say for that sponsor. If I see that they didn’t send a prize or took a crazy long time getting it to one of my readers, I wouldn’t want to allow them to participate in another one of my giveaways. It reflects badly on me and my blog, you know?
Leslie @ Violet Imperfection says
What a great informative post. I have been thinking of giveaway but don’t know where to start. Thanks for giving me a reference point.
Agree, with international shipping, I recently won something and it was not able to be shipped. I gave it to a friend in America. Although this thing couldn’t be shipped here, it was made of wood and would have been knocked back by customs. I actually hadn’t entered knowing this but won because I had linked to a competition
Kim (TheMoney-Pit) says
Great post.. I’ve never done a giveaway either, but if I ever do, I will definitely keep these in mind! Thanks for sharing!
Naptime Review says
Love the dream house!
Julie @ Naptime Review
I just wanted to let you know that I featured this post on my ~A Little Sunday Potluck~ post today. 🙂 To check out it and possibly grab my Featured button (if you feel so inclined), just click on the link!
Have a great morning! 🙂
I am pinning this for future reference–great knowledge you’ve shared here!
Thanks for your tips. Giveaways aren’t something I’ve tackled yet, but I’m glad to know there’s great info out there to help me when the time comes!
Giveaways actually do require quite a bit of planning and priority, so until you’re up for the challenge, I’d recommend joining in on someone else’s giveaway or planning a giveaway with plenty of time to spare. Thanks so much for stopping by, Steph!
Mary Collins says
Great tips, some of which I need to consider when planning my next giveaway. You always provide such good info.
Thanks so much, Mary! Hope your next giveaway is a mega success.
I have not done a giveaway yet, but I am open to trying anything!
and my favorite tip – use Rafflecopter – it’s SO easy for us bloggers to use when it comes to giveaways and stuff! 😀
You’re right, Andi! Rafflecopter makes giveaway building super easy. I also use random.org to choose a winner!
These are great tips, i will keep these tips in mind when i decided to do a giveaway.
Wow…this sure was full of information! Thank you for taking time to share your knowledge. I’ve been wanting to do a giveaway on my blog. You made it easy for me!
Pamela, that’s great that you’re thinking of an upcoming giveaway. Readers always enjoy it, especially the winners 😉 Feel free to post a link to your giveaway on my FB page once you open it and I’d be happy to share about it with my own readers. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Good list of tips for a giveaway. I do like Rafflecopter and feel like they make it easy for anyone to join.
Jennifer DeFrates/Heaven Not Harvard says
My blog is too teeny tiny for a give away yet, but these are great tips for working with sponsors and planning a giveaway at some point. Thank you for sharing!
Jennifer, never underestimate the size of your readership for doing a giveaway. At the same time, if you’ve got a tribe of friend bloggers behind you, partnering with them for a giveaway is a great way to draw more attention to your site and grow your readership at the same time. I hope you have a great week and that you see your loyal readers flocking to you in droves as your pump out more and more great content.
Jonathan Key says
I’ve been contemplating doing this recently. These are some great tips. I’ve read this post twice now and am bookmarking it for reference in the future. Having sponsors is a great idea. I like the idea of expanding those who can participate to those who comment, subscribe or something else to the blog. I had not even thought of international shipping!
Excellent that you’ve got your bases covered now, Jonathan! Giveaways are always a fun way to round up new readers as well as say “thank you” to your loyal readership. Glad you learned something and hoping your next giveaway goes without a hitch!
Yes always contact sponsors with winner’s information and end of giveaway stats. I always want to know how it went when I donte
I’m so thankful you’ve created so many helpful tools! I need to spend a day coming through and reading and pinning ALL of them!
Happy that you’ve found some new ways to blog better, Roxanne. You’ve got fab content, so a giveaway would only be icing on the cake! Thank you so much, lady, for stopping by this week!
Jennifer Shackelford says
Being new to blogging these tips were very helpful. Thanks so much for all the advice!
Happy to help, Jennifer. If you need more blogging tips, here’s a link to my blog tips archives.
Thanks so much for the information. I have yet to run a giveaway, but I am planning on it in the near future. I will be using this as a resource. Thank you for sharing.
Great! Glad you have some points to consider for your upcoming giveaway. Feel free to post in on my FB page when it goes live and I’ll help you promote it.
I haven’t done a giveaway yet but when I do I will definitely be pulling this post out! Thanks!
Visiting today from the Shine Blog Hop! Have a great day 🙂
Excellent! So happy you found some new tips here today, Anastasia. As always, I’d be happy to share about your giveaway. When it goes live, just email me or post a link on my FB page.
Le Anne Lindsay says
I’m not understanding how the minimum value works? Who is setting the minimum, the blogger posting the giveaway or the brand giving away the stuff?
I should be more proactive about contests and actually seek out sponsors. I just kinda run a rafflecopter giveaway when I’ve been somewhere and they’ve given away prizes. Right now I’m running one because I was invited to cover a chain restaurant opening and they gave us gift cards to give away. How do you find sponsors to participate?
Le Anne, here I’m referring to “minimum value” as if I were a blogger hosting the giveaway and writing to other bloggers or sponsors asking them to contribute a prize of at least $X. That always sits badly with me. About sponsors… you can write your favorite brands or Etsy shops you love, asking them to contribute a prize for your giveaway in exchange for something worthwhile for them (a link to their site, a follow requirement, etc.) Many times they’ll jump on board just to gain more exposure. Thanks so much for asking these questions! I’m sure others were wondering the same things.
Le Anne Lindsay says
Thank you. 🙂
Thanks for the tips on throwing a giveaway. I had big ideas to do one for my 1st blog anniversary but I’ve waited much too long now! Maybe for Christmas…or next anniversary these tips will be handy.
Visiting from the Shine Blog Hop.