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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Blogging Basics: Conducting Your First Giveaway


Anyone new to blogging that has visited any slightly more established blog has seen the giveaways that other blogs have. Today I am going to talk about running and promoting your first giveaway along with a few sites that can be an example of how to run a successful giveaway.

If you are new to blogging then you are probably thinking how am I going to find a sponsor for my giveaway well the simple answer is YOU. Your first and second giveaway maybe more difficult to find sponsors for if you don’t have an established readership, now if you do have an established readership then you will have less difficulty finding a giveaway sponsor. We are going to talk about those of you that may not have a dedicated readership in this post. Because you lack the followers and readers that a company would find attractive enough to want to sponsor your giveaway you can make a small investment by sponsoring your first and maybe second giveaway. This small investment will ultimately bring you more traffic and more RSS subscribers if your conduct your giveaway correctly. Also by sponsoring your own giveaway at the beginning you will have an example for potential sponsors on how you will conduct their giveaway in the future.

I recommend using $25 dollars and buying a gift card that can be used anywhere such as a Visa gift card. This is a very attractive giveaway because it can truly be open to all and people can use it just about anywhere Visa is accepted. Check my $25 Visa giveaway to see what I am talking about. Once you have decided on your giveaway it is time for you to write it up.

You want to write your giveaway up in such a manner that you gain more RSS readers, GFC followers, Facebook “Likes” and Twitter Followers and if you have gotten a sponsor for your giveaway you want to confirm with them what they would like promote as well. Most sponsor want you to add liking their Facebook page and signing up for a newsletter or something of that affect. The Rule of thumb is that a giveaway should benefit all of the parties involved. I break it down like this:

How Giveaway Benefits all Parties

Blog Owner: The Blogger benefits by getting an increase in traffic, readers and followers

Sponsor: The Sponsor benefits by getting increased brand exposure (sponsoring a giveaway is a much cheaper form of advertising and can be more effective), the Sponsor also will also have increased traffic to their website along with increased Facebook “likes” and Twitter followers and mentions.

Reader: The Reader benefits by gaining knowledge of new products and by getting the chance to receive the product/products for free (and free is always good).

Writing Your Giveaway

Now you can see all the benefits of running a giveaway now I am going to work with you all on writing a giveaway that will reap all the benefits that I stated above.

If you are sponsoring your own giveaway then it is all about promoting yourself and your blog and it should look something like this (these are just recommendations that have proved beneficial for me and my blog). Please tweak this basic to your liking.

Self Sponsored Giveaway Example: Your giveaway post should contain these elements (Look Here for an Example)

Image: Pictures of what you are giving away helps your readers visualize what they have the potential to win. Always include a picture of the item even if it is a giftcard.

Contest Entry: Here you should state what your readers must do to initially enter the contest. I recommend saying something to this effect: To enter this contest you must follow the blog and leave us a comment stating that you have done this before you will be officially entered also include your email address in your comment.

Extra Entries: This is where you will promote your email subscriptions, Facebook and Twitter. Each action that a contestant takes you will sign an entry value to it. For example if you want them to like you on facebook than you can allow that to equal 3 extra entries. Always require that extra entries are followed by adding a comment to the giveaway post so that you know when they complete the extra entry. My recommendation here is to assign the highest entry value to the thing you want to promote the most. So if getting more Facebook likes is your goal then make your Facebook “Like” extra entry worth the most. This will make it more appealing to your contestants and will garner you more Facebook “Likes”. You should be getting the idea now that giveaways are all about promotions.

Contest Deadline and Rules: This is pretty self explanatory you want to explain to your readers briefly when the contest ends, how the prize will be delivered and who the giveaway is open to. I recommend something to this effect: Contest ends at 11:59pm PST on November 15th when I will draw a winner at random. PLEASE leave your email address if it is not visible on your profile. I will notify the winner and they will have 36 hours to respond! Contest is open to all countries (change this to reflect who your contest is actually open to).

Company Sponsored Giveaway Example: Your company sponsored giveaway post should contain all the elements about and the following (Look Here for an Example)

Product Review/Description: When a sponsor is nice enough to give your readers the chance to win one of their great products you should write a review and/or description of the product and a little about the company and what they have to offer. You want to send lots of loves to your sponsor so also include links back to their site in this section of your post.

Company Specific Extra Entries: This is just like the extra entries that I discussed above but with one addition you need to not only promote yourself but your sponsor. You will want to add extra entires for actions that they complete for your sponsor such as liking them on Facebook and Tweeting about the contest with an @ mention to their twitter account. Sponsors will usually ask you to include this in your contest somewhere.

Contest Deadline and Rules (with sponsor information): I always recommend and suggest that the sponsor sends out the prize to the winner so when you have a sponsored giveaway you will want to tell your contestants that their prize will come straight from the company. Most companies will want to send the prize to the winner anyway so you don’t have to worry to much about this but you do want to let your readers know this.

You now have the basic idea of how to write up your giveaway in such a way that it benefits everyone involved. Here are a few sites that I encourage you to view these blogs to get examples of giveaways done successfully.

1 Two of a Kind Working on a Full House

2 Leslie Loves Veggies

3 Reviews by be Different Act Normal

Promoting Your Giveaway:

Your giveaway is written now it is time to promote your giveaway because just like your blog it needs to be promoted you won’t get tons of entries just because you have a great giveaway. It is necessary to get the word out about your giveaway. There are numerous linkys on sites that you can link up your giveaway. A google search will usually return enough results to get you started on doing that but I will be talking about three specific sites that I use to promote my giveaways.

· Prizey

· Tip Junkie

· Free Blog Giveaway’s Directory

If you want a run down on these sites check out my Blogging Basics page. I am not going to go into specifics of each site on this post but I will tell you how they all basically work. You will want to sign up for all of them and then submit your giveaway to their directory. There are a series of questions that you will be required to answer about your giveaway and then they will add your giveaway to their directory.

Now don’t just promote your giveaways on these sites you will want to promote them all over the web including Facebook and Twitter also turn your attention to any blogging communities that you belong to and write a post telling people about your giveaway, this will give your giveaway even more exposure making it a great success.

Finding Giveaway Sponsors

Now there are bloggers out there that will say that they just sat back and all the sponsors came knocking down their door but the fact is even if this happened the chance of this passive approach working to find sponsors is highly unlikely based on all the bloggers out there. The fact is PR reps and companies aren’t even going to know that you exist if you don’t have a big enough following so you will have to take control of your own and go out and find sponsors. The following information that I will give you is based on my actual experience and on the fact that I am a business student with an extensive knowledge in Marketing, Promotions and Business Communications. Based on my education in business I will explain how to find sponsors for your giveaways through research and proposals.

Your probably thinking OMG this is way too much work just to run a giveaway but once you created your proposal letter then all you have to do is send it to all the companies that you are interested in sponsoring a giveaway or even just doing a product review.

Understand that when you are working with a company that their main concern is the bottom line and how your giveaway will help their company. If you are unclear on how it will help their company just scroll back the top of this post and read the How Giveaway’s Benefit All Parties .

First you will want make a list of all the companies that you enjoy and that would benefit from your sites demographics. Once you have created this list check out their websites and find a product that you would be interested in reviewing and/or giving away. Once you have a few products in line you will want to find the contact information of the company or the PR firm. Now that you are equipped with the knowledge about the company, company contacts and a product that you want to giveaway it is time to draft your proposal letter.

Your proposal letter can be thought of just like résumé. You want to convince the company that you are worth taking a look at and that by them sponsoring your giveaway they will benefit. You want to keep this short and sweet so condense all your greatness down to just a few sentences. Here are is an example of a proposal letter.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Subject: Product Review/Giveaway Sponsorship

Body: Hello my name is (Your Name) and I am the creator of (Blog Name) a blog for (insert main demographics here, such as moms, dads, parents, techies, foodies ect.). I believe that (enter product name) would be of great interest to my readers. A product review/giveaway would benefit your company greatly by offering increased exposure to your brand. If you would be interested in working with (Blog Name) please contact me. I have also included a glimpse of my sites stats below (all stats are as of today).

(Blog Name) Stats as of (date or email):

Monthly Visitors:

Monthly Pageviews:

Alexa Rating:

Google Page Rank:

RSS Readers:

Google Friend Connect Followers:

Twitter Followers:

(keep in mind you don’t have to include all of these just pick the ones that you know)

(Name)

(Blog Name)

(Blog URL)

I know that this post went very very long but I wanted to try to get out as much information as possible for you all. I hope that everyone found something useful from this post. Please don’t forget to vote for us on the side bar. I also want to begin doing a Q&A section so if you have any questions please ask them and I will add them to the Q&A section of the Blogging Basics page. Also if you have anything to add please give your giveaway suggestions.



13 comments:

Alex said...

Very helpful post. I will bookmark for future reference. This is something that I would want to do in the future.

Thanks for sharing.

Tough Cookie Mommy said...

Great post! I especially benefitted from the sample proposal letter to the PR companies. Thank you for some great information.

soontobesinglemom said...

Just bookmarked this entry. Very helpful as I'm gearing up to do my first giveaway within the next week, thanks!

William K Wallace said...

I have done give aways in the past and received samples from companies who contacted me. And I was just thinking about how to go about contacting companies directly for products, and you have given me a valuable insight on how to approach the situation...

UAN said...

You know that you're the best right. Will read this again slowly so I can apply soon.

1Ne PRouD MaMa said...

Thank you so much for this post. I am just about to approach 100 followers and I want to do my first giveaway as soon as I do. I have also been seeking out some Etsy shops that I like so that I can start contacting them soon.

Living the Scream said...

This is some really great info! I am also book marking it like everyone else is lol :)

Danielle said...

I am so happy that everyone has found this helpful. I felt a little bad that it was so long because I know most people don't want to read such a long post but I had so much to share with you all.

Ms. Ileane said...

Hey Danielle, I have been a sponsoring a few contests and I also was a judge for the Famous Bloggers CommentLuv contest that was a huge success. But I must admit that you are really taking me to school with this post. Thanks for all of the advice and resources. Prizey and Tip Junkie are the ones I'm going to check out first.

Have an awesome day!

Meg said...

Great tips! Thanks for sharing! New follower from Bloggy Moms!

Love for you to stop over at http://1funkywoman.blogspot.com

Megan

Janelle said...

thank you so much. I am new to giveaways and I hosted my first one a month ago much in the same way you described. I just went at it with no knowledge of what to do. Having a post like this is very helpful to alleviate some of the unanswered questions like "am I doing this right"? LOL, thanks for all the tips.

Anonymous said...

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