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4 Things to Know Before Hosting a Giveaway

Hosting a giveaway on your blog is a quick way to get an increase in readers, strengthen your relationships with brands and boost your email subscription list. To keep those readers and email subscribers coming back after the giveaway is over, you have to host a giveaway that’s more than a one-trick pony. 

If anyone knows how to host a giveaway, it’s Mom Bloggers Club! We’ve listed here four things to know before you host a giveaway, including the rules of the game, to keep your numbers up and your fans smiling! 

1. The Jump-Off

Before you approach a brand or host a giveaway, you need a plan of action that outlines what products or brands your readers will be interested in.

Pitching for Product

Similar to pitching for a product review, you can also pitch to brands for product to host a giveaway. When pitching, take into account the seasons and holidays, as these are special times to promote a product and offer an added advertising benefit to the brand (be sure to mention that tidbit in your pitch letter, too!). With Father’s Day coming up, Elizabeth from the blog Oak and Oats is hosting a timely Father’s Day giveaway, which is also a sponsored post with Stanley Brand.

Cross-pollinating your product review by hosting a giveaway along with the review is a great way to score extra engagement from your readers and encourages your readers to keep checking back.

Set your Terms

If a brand is offering up product for you to give away on your blog, you need to have a written agreement to ensure you both have the same expectations and terms. An email is suitable for this, or you can draw up a contract. The B Bar Blog offers some sassy truths on being firm with brands about getting compensated for pushing their products, including being compensated for shipping. It takes a lot of work to get the word out about a product, from writing the post to taking pictures and promoting it on social—your time is valuable. 

Marketing the Giveaway

No one will enter your giveaway if you don’t promote it! Map out your social posts for the duration of your giveaway and then tweet it, post it on Facebook, give it a shout out in your weekly email newsletter, assign a hashtag for it, get people excited! After all, everyone loves a gift! 

The marketing doesn’t end once the giveaway is over. Give a shout out to the winner on your social pages and e-mail newsletter.

Keep it Simple

Don’t make your readers jump through hoops to sign up for your giveaway. Keep it simple and simply ask them to leave a comment on a blog post, sign up for your email newsletter, follow you on Twitter or Facebook, or some other simple gesture. Forms that require an email, phone number and home address are cumbersome and unnecessary.

2. The Fun Stuff

Hosting a giveaway is a great way to let your readers and fans know that you appreciate them, but what you give away is just as important as how you give it away.

Gifts in your Niche

There’s a reason why people come to your blog, and it’s because they like what you have to share with them! Whether it’s advice or just for laughs, your giveaway needs be in line with your blog’s niche and also be something that is useful to your readership.

Gift Cards

Gift cards are by and large one of the most universal items to give away—they are cheap to ship, many can even be e-mailed and they can be used nearly anywhere. Who doesn’t love a gift card? 

When offering a giveaway for a gift card, think about where your readers live. If you run a local tourism blog, then it is appropriate to give away a gift card to a local restaurant or business because that the winner would likely be interested in visiting the area to redeem it. If your blog has readers all across the country, or the world, use a national brand or chain, such as Wal-Mart or Visa. 

Mom Blogger’s Club President Paige White prefers the gift card route, and many of you have even been winners! “We choose to give our members gift cards so they can spend them how they choose, whether it’s to buy groceries or to splurge on a mani-pedi, it’s entirely up to them!” 

Etsy Forums

Etsy features a Blog and Sponsor Connection discussion board, which puts bloggers and Etsy sellers in a community forum to help each other grow their businesses. It’s a great way to connect with small artisans to give away unique products!

Amazon Giveaways

Is there anything that Amazon doesn’t do? Just recently Amazon launched the Amazon Giveaways, which simplifies the giveaway process for bloggers while also allowing you to generate engagement. While you have to purchase the product that you want to give away, Amazon handles all the technicalities, including notifying winners, shipping the product and tax reporting.

3. Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

The entries are in and now it’s time to choose a winner! You don’t want to be stuck counting entries by hand because you’re a busy blogger after all. Let technology do the work for you. 

Rafflecopter

Rafflecopter is a Mom Bloggers Club favorite and makes selecting a winner a piece of cake. It offers social network and email integration as well as form-free entry options.

Promosimple

Promosimple allows you to customize and design your sweepstakes and also includes an official rules generator.

ViralSweep

ViralSweep offers four integration styles that include a landing page, widget, light box and pop up options. You can also integrate it into your content management system and email service providers.

4. Mind the Man

There are a lot of rules that govern the legality of a giveaway, including what terms you can use, how much the item can cost and who can enter. These laws have been created not just to annoy you, but to protect both you and the entrants.

Sweepstakes, Contests and Lotteries

Sweepstakes, contests and lotteries are not the same thing and are each governed differently. Attorney Sara F. Hawkins gives a complete breakdown on the differences of each on her blog and it’s well worth giving it a full reading. Listed here are the main takeaways:

  • Sweepstakes—prize giveaways in which readers are chosen by chance or the luck of the draw.
  • Contests—a winner is chosen based on some form of merit or criteria, such as best short story, best photo, etc.
  • Lottery—a prize drawing that people must pay money to buy a chance to win.

Adult Swim

You’ll notice that most giveaways have rules that don’t allow anyone under the age of 18 to participate, which is because there are a lot of laws regarding minors. 

Federal and State Regulations

There also are federal and state rules by which you must comply, including reporting the cost of the item to the IRS if it exceeds a certain dollar amount. Some states, such as Florida and California may even require you to register and bond your prize. Check out this rules sheet for more detailed state regulations.

Disclosure

As always, you must be upfront with your readers about your working relationship with any brands or advertisers and also disclose whether you were compensated for any product.

Canada

Attorney Hawkins also points out in her blog post that in Canada a winner cannot be chosen by luck and you may even have to exclude Quebec and other provinces.

Giveaway Pinspiration

Our Gaga for Giveaways Pinterest Board has gobs of resources, tips and tricks to help you host the best giveaway possible!

Since we’re writing about giveaways and contests, we want to extend the opportunity for you to have a chance to win! We’ve got many ways that you can win a $100 Visa gift card, including commenting on this article!

ENTER THE CONTEST BELOW AND WIN A $100.00 VISA GIFT CARD

You can comment on our Take 10 articles and tweet every day to increase your chance of winning:

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER CONTEST!

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Comment by Ashley Owen on June 12, 2015 at 3:28pm

This is such great information!

Comment by C Lee Reed on June 11, 2015 at 4:23pm

Great tips.  I do lots of giveaways and I'll take these tips with me for the future.  I love the reminder about disclosures as a lot of people don't do that.

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