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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Blogging, a Tutorial: Vol. 9 + Giveaway Winner

Title Image: Blogging A Tutorial - On Hosting  a Giveaway

Hosting giveaways is one of my favorite things to do -- but admittedly, it can also be slightly stressful. And, if you've never hosted one before, it may be a bit intimidating.

So I've broken it down for you. Here's my tips on hosting a successful giveaway:

#1: Pick a Prize People Will Want
Giveaway prizes I've done have included a Kate Spade necklace, cookbooks, Etsy posters, and subscriptions to magazines. They're all things that most people want, but don't necessarily buy themselves. I'd suggest staying away from gift cards, candles, miscellaneous "grab bags", etc.

#2: Pick a reasonable timeline.
I like my giveaways to run anywhere from 1 week to 2 weeks. I like the 2 weeks, because it gives me two weekends to "market" (see below), but I have found that interest wanes when you draw it out that long. On the flip side, unless you have thousands of readers, I would suggest keeping the giveaway open for at least a week, to allow time to draw new people to your blog.

#3: Market yourself well.
Have a cute button for your giveaway. Put together a Twitter #hashtag to use. And go read & comment on other people's blog to get your name out there. All of this is great to market your giveaway. Just be careful to not turn into a spammer.

If you go to somebody's blog, never ever ever leave a half-hearted "cute! now come to my giveaway!" comment. I'd consider that spam. Instead, leave a meaningful comment. Actually read the person's post. Write out a response. I like to sign my name, and then put something like: "I have "xxx" going on, would love for you to join!" It's more of an invitation, it isn't imposing & it's an afterthought to your comment.

Bonus: When looking for new blogs to "market" to, I use link-ups, but you can't be lazy about it. If it's a link-up from a few days ago, when you go to people's blogs, make sure you're posting on their most recent post, not just the one left in the link up. 

Buttons I've made for preview giveaways
My giveaways over the years...

#4: Use a unique link when marketing.
Go to bit.ly and get an account right now if you don't already have one. Now use that to create a unique URL for your giveaway, and use that bit.ly any time you share the giveaway anywhere online. That'll help keep track of who's clicking on the link, how many people are using it, and so many other stats that can be helpful.

In the above example, I mentioned "xxx"--- that should be the name of the giveaway hyperlinked to your blog. Most Blogger & Wordpress blogs allow basic HTML in the comment form. Instead of just leaving a link (which doesn't look pretty!), hyperlink your text by using this code:

#5: Give thanks!!
Respond to those who have entered your giveaway, and don't be bothered by those who haven't. The blog world is massive, and don't be discouraged if you don't get the response that you want. I've had great responses, and I've had terrible ones. But I still love giveaways, because I see them as a genuine way to thank my readers.

Other tips:
  • Set a firm deadline. You don't want people guessing when the giveaway is over.
  • Rafflecopter is a great resource to help manage your giveaway!
  • Be careful of "must like on Facebook" for the mandatory entry, because not everybody is on Facebook (two of my most loyal readers couldn't enter my last giveaway because they weren't on Facebook & I felt terrible about it!)
  • Be wary of spam. I had a Greek site share my last giveaway with what seemed like the entire Mediterranean & I had to re-write my entry rules halfway through the giveaway, as to make sure only real readers would win.
  • Terms & Conditions are important. You need to mark if it's a sponsored post, if it's international, if the winner has to email you or if you're going to email them, etc.
  • Have fun!! I look at Giveaways as little internet parties! Enjoy it!

I started Blogging: A Turorial as a way to celebrate my blog's second birthday. If there's ever a topic you want covered - or if you want to contribute - let me know! I'd love to talk to you ♥

To see all posts in this series, check out the blogging tutorial page.

One thousand post party giveaway winners button

And now, the winners of my 1000th post party

Congratulations to: Britney Sauer, Melody Mae, and Megan Faulkner! I'll be sending you girls emails soon!

Thank you to all who entered! And for all you new people, welcome! I hope you enjoy it here!


  1. Love this. Giveaways scared me when I first started, and these are incredible guidelines to follow!

    Ps. I'd love to contribute!

    1. Anna, if you send me an email, I'd love to talk with you :)


  2. Yay! Thank you so much for the giveaway :) I read your blog every morning with a cup of coffee. Keep up the great work and congratulations again on 1000!


  3. This is such a fantastic post! I think I'm going to print this out to use for work to show my co-workers! Thanks, Amy!

  4. Thanks so much for this! I'm still a newbie, but I hope to do a give away one day. I want to find a swap to participate in!!! :) PS How bout those Aggies?!?! WHOOP!!!

  5. This post came at the perfect time! I just hit 100 followers and wanted to do a giveaway! I used several of your tips for my giveaway and I can't wait to see how it turns out! I'd love for you to check it out :)