Anyone who reads this blog can tell right away that I’m an avid sweeper. What started as a fun little hobby has turned into so much more and changed my life in many ways. Never in a million years did I dream that I’d win $10,000, or receive such a steady stream of amazing prizes. Although I enter all sorts of giveaways, my main passion is for blog giveaways. This is because they have the best odds, they are easy to win consistently, they offer great prizes, and they’re FUN!
This is a picture of one of my best blog wins: A brand new computer worth $1200 that arrived in May 2011. I won this through the Bag-It-Forward giveaway on Mamanista that I blogged about in back in September (See, it pays to enter giveaways that you see listed here on Contest Corner!). Blog giveaways have saved me big money by providing me with prizes I really need.
Now, if you’re a casual sweeper – or if you’ve never really entered giveaways before – you might just shrug and say, “Well, you’re just lucky. It’s not like that for most people.” But that simply isn’t true. Anyone can learn how to benefit from blog giveaways, increase their odds of winning, and employ strategies to maximize their efforts. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to sit around all day entering in order to win; sweeping doesn’t have to take up much time at all. So to help my readers win more, I decided to write an ongoing series of articles explaining the ins and outs of blog giveaways, so that you can learn what I’ve had success with and start improving your own luck!
To start off, I thought it would be helpful to explain what exactly blog giveaways are, so that you can understand how and why they work, and why I think they’re such a great place to focus your sweeping.
What Are Blog Giveaways?
Contests and sweepstakes are a great promotional tool for companies, which is why they’ve remained so popular through the years. It’s a great way to spread the word about your product, get potential customers to interact with you, and often provides an incentive for them to sign up for a mailing list. Blog giveaways are just an extension of that idea played out in new media – advertising on blogs is a cost-effective way for corporations to reach a large audience, so it’s become a popular strategy for promoting brands through social media.
How Does it Work?
PR agencies working on behalf of companies will approach a blogger and ask if they are interested in hosting a giveaway for their new product or service. The blogger then puts up a special post about this promotion, generally asking readers to enter by leaving a comment on that blog post. At the end of the giveaway, the blogger draws a winner and provides their mailing address to the company for shipment of the prize.
What’s in it For The Companies?
Hosting a nationally promoted sweepstakes requires a big budget, so blog giveaways hold a lot of appeal as a very affordable form of promotion. Usually, the only expense that goes into a blog giveaways is providing one or two products as a prize, shipping costs, and the time spent by the PR representative in coordinating it. Compare that to the cost of a traditional sweepstakes – which often involves costly TV and print media advertising – and it quickly becomes apparent why companies are choosing to promote their products in this new medium.
What’s in it For Bloggers?
Why would a blogger take the time to host a giveaway? Plenty of reasons. Most of the time, companies send out a product to the blogger, either for review purposes or just to thank them for participating. For example, receiving a Tassimo coffeemaker in exchange for writing a post is a much more cost effective use of my time than it would be to earn the money to purchase that item. Sometimes, bloggers will also work with companies to provide promotional packages – so a giveaway might be a part of a larger compensated advertising campaign.
Occasionally, bloggers will offer a giveaway post that they receive no product or compensation for. Giveaways are fun for readers and generate traffic, which is why some bloggers may choose to put time into an uncompensated giveaway post.
Blog giveaways are a win-win situation for everyone. The company receives exposure for their product, the blogger receives a product and/or exposure that they want, and the reader has an opportunity to win a great prize.
But Can You Trust a Blog Giveaway?
Many people are suspicious of contests in general – “No one ever wins them!” – and blog giveaways naturally draw a larger amount of suspicion, since they are hosted by everyday people. As with any sweepstakes or promotion, there is a chance that something could go wrong. However, it reflects poorly on both the company and/or the blogger if a prize is not delivered, so they have every motivation to follow through. Many bloggers consider their website a part-time job, and are as professional and timely as any other small business owner. I have been entering and winning blog giveaways since 2008, and I can tell you first hand that it has been very well worth it. Yes, there have been rare occasions when prizes have not arrived. But this is far outweighed by the fabulous prizes that have arrived – In addition to the $1200 computer, I’ve won other electronics, multiple $100 gift cards, prescription eyeglasses, and tons of other wonderful, useful things.
Is it Fair?
So how exactly do bloggers choose a winner for their giveaways? Most bloggers have a number assigned to each comment, and draw a winning number via a randomized service, such as Random.org. Occasionally, a blogger may opt to use a form instead, and tally up entries via a service like Google Spreadsheets. Another method which is gaining popularity is Rafflecopter, a special embeddable widget that gathers and tallies entries.
Blog giveaways have the best odds out of almost any other type of sweepstakes, which is the #1 reason why I enter them more than any other kind of contest. This is an important topic, so I’m going to be devoting a separate article to the odds of blog giveaways next week in order to discuss it in-depth.
Do you have any questions about how blog giveaways work? Is there a topic you’d like to see covered in a future article? Let me know in the comments!