Marissa is an online writer and the creator of a parenting blog. She is a stay-at-home mom to four and is a former teacher.
Along with writing reviews on blogs, holding a blog giveaway is another great way to keep your audience engaged and perhaps even draw in more readers and followers. Giveaways on blogs are very popular now, especially since they offer multiple chances to win free items, from gift cards to vacation packages. In fact, many blogs are simply focusing on giveaways, since they tend to bring in the most traffic from people looking for free items.
Hosting a giveaway on your blog can seem a bit challenging, especially when it's the first attempt you've made at giving a prize away online. Here you'll find the steps you should take when hosting a giveaway, plus helpful tips about choosing the prize, working with other bloggers, using a giveaway widget, and writing disclosure notices.
Choose a Prize for Your Giveaway
The first thing you need to decide is what you are going to give away as your prize. Keep in mind that the prize should fit with the theme of your blog; giving away a prize that is of no interest to your audience defeats the purpose of keeping that audience engaged.
Along with choosing a prize that goes along with the theme of your blog, here are some other things to consider:
- Will the prize be self-sponsored? If you are a small blog just starting out, you could make a small investment and buy a prize that you can then give away on your blog.
- Will the prize be sponsored by a company? Companies enjoy the exposure their products or services get from blogs, so they often reach out to blogs with an opportunity to give away a free product or service in exchange for some free advertisement. Of course, if you are a small blog, you may have to reach out to the companies yourself, offering them backlinks to their website and social media pages along with advertisements in exchange for a free product to giveaway.
- Will the post be a review and a giveaway? If yes, then you should choose a prize that is something that you can use in your own life and be able to give an honest opinion about.
Shipment of the prize is something you need to think about once you have chosen a prize to giveaway. If you are self-sponsoring the giveaway, you are responsible for the shipment of the prize and you should not charge the winner of the giveaway any shipping and handling fees. If a company is sponsoring the giveaway, it should be responsible for the shipment of the prize and it too should not charge anything extra.
Prize Giveaway Ideas
These are some prize giveaway ideas. Choose the ones that go along with the theme of your blog:
- gift card to a restaurant
- gift card to a store
- Visa gift card
- PayPal cash prize
- gift code for a website
- lawn care service
- hair care products
- house cleaning products
- car maintenance products
- baby gear or products
- magazine subscriptions
- sporting game event tickets
- sports equipment
- cooking utensils
- beauty products
- crafting supplies
- spa package
If you search for 'blogger opportunities' or 'blogger opps' on search engines or social media sites, you'll find other bloggers looking for people to join them in their giveaway efforts. Many of these bloggers offer free links on giveaways to others who post about and promote the giveaway while also offering paid spots to either co-host or host a giveaway.
You can do this as well, but you should consider what the prize is first to determine how many other bloggers you'd want to include and for how much. For smaller, less expensive prizes, you may want to consider just offering a few free links to just a few other bloggers. For a bigger, more expensive prize, especially one that you choose to pay for yourself, you may want to open the giveaway options up to many more bloggers, mostly to those who would want to pay to be a co-host or have additional links.
Hosting a Giveaway on Your Blog
The next thing you need to decide is how you are going to host the giveaway on your blog. There's a few different ways to do it:
- Self-Hosted Giveaway: Your blog and your blog only will be responsible for the giveaway. No one else is involved. Self-hosted giveaways are usually for small prizes (unless you are a high-performing blog that is sponsored by a company or can afford a larger prize). Your blog is responsible for getting the word out and reminding readers to enter.
- Joint Giveaway: Your blog plus a few other blogs join together to host a giveaway. Other blogs can pay to join the giveaway opportunity. The money either goes towards the prize or upkeep of the main blog. There is usually a big prize or multiple prizes that can be won. Each blog has a 'host' page, which directs their reader to a giveaway widget or other task to complete. They are also all responsible for getting the word out about the giveaway and reminding readers to enter.
- Joint Giveaway with Co-Hosts: Similar to a joint giveaway, this kind includes more blogs who may main pages but are not considered the one actually hosting the giveaway. They can get the word out about the giveaway in exchange for free or paid links that can be placed in a giveaway widget. They also may have a page where readers will go to complete other tasks (following a list of blogs on Twitter, finding a secret word, liking a list of blogs on Facebook, etc.)
The last option can also expand to include even more bloggers who announce the giveaway in exchange for free or paid links, but are only included on the giveaway widgets and are not considered hosts or co-hosts. These additional blogs basically serve as additional advertisements to get the word out about the giveaway.
How you go about hosting a giveaway really depends on your connections. It helps to join blogger groups or other networks to find blogging opportunities and to advertise your own.
Giveaway Widgets to Use on a Blog
Free or a monthly charge of $7.99
Free or a monthly charge of $9
Free or a monthly charge of $75
Enter to Win! Entry Forms
- Run Giveaway, Sweepstakes Promotions, & Contests | Rafflecopter
Rafflecopter allows you to create and launch effective giveaway promotions & sweepstakes across your website, blog, and Facebook page under 5 minutes.
- Giveaway Tools | Entry Form System For Running Giveaways
Run giveaways. Confirm entries. Giveaway Tools is the most powerful entry form available.
- Create Sweepstakes, Contests & Giveaways | PromoSimple
Create, run and analyze online giveaways and sweepstakes with tools from PromoSimple. Custom designs, social media integrations and more.
Enter to Win Options for Your Readers
When you have a giveaway on your blog, there are a few options you can use for your readers to enter the giveaway to win the prize:
- Leave a comment on the blog. An easy entry giveaway is one where the reader just has to leave a comment on the blog pertaining to the topic. If you choose to use this method, you'll need to have a way to keep the giveaway fair and choose a random winner. There are several websites that you can use to do this, including Random.org. Some of these sites are paid services, especially if you want the winner to be verified. There are some free services, but your readers will have to trust that you chose the winner randomly.
- Enter using a giveaway widget. This is the most popular giveaway entry method as it is easy for bloggers to set up, plus the widgets run on their own and choose the winner randomly when the giveaway has ended. Two of the most popular giveaway widgets include Rafflecopter and GiveAway Tools, which ask readers to enter using a variety of tasks that need to be completed. Tasks can be: comments on your blog post, comments on Facebook, follows on Twitter, follows on Pinterest, secret words-of-the-day, 'tweeting' about the giveaway, 'liking' the post on Facebook, etc. The basic versions of these tools are free, but they are limited to only so many kinds of entries. The paid versions give bloggers more options for entries.
Important: You cannot ask readers to 'like', share, or tweet as a mandatory entry in order to win the giveaway prize. You cannot ask readers to 'pin this post' as an entry at all. This is against the Terms of Service Agreements from Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You need to include a disclosure that those social media sites are not affiliated with your giveaway or responsible for the results of the giveaway (see disclosure notices below).
Whatever entry method you should choose, make sure the entry directions are clear to understand, including information about the required age and location of the entrants (ex. 18+, U.S. only). This can be stated in the post text or in the giveaway widget.
Also keep in mind that amount of tasks you ask your readers to complete should coincide with the value of the prize. In other words, you shouldn't ask your readers to follow 50 other bloggers on social media sites when you're only giving away a $5 gift card.
Facebook Likes for Giveaways
As of November 2014, asking people to like your page as a giveaway entry will no longer be permissible on Facebook according to their updated TOS. They can and will shut down pages that do not comply. Be advised!
Directions for the Winners
Somewhere in the post, whether in the text about the prize or in the notice in a giveaway widget, you need to tell potential winners what steps they need to take to claim their prize.
The standard procedure is to tell your readers that the winning entry will be verified and that the winner must respond to the congratulatory email within a set amount of time (usually 24-48 hours). If the email does not get a response, then a new winner will be chosen.
Disclosure Notices for Giveaways on Blogs
Including a disclosure notice is vital when keeping your blog as honest and law abiding as possible. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, requires that any blog or website that has a working relationship with a brand or company discloses, or announces, that relationship and any compensation acquired from that relationship.
Without a disclosure notice, your readers won't know whether or not a company paid you to giveaway an item, paid you to write certain text about the item, or if anything you write is even truthful. A disclosure notice tells your readers that while yes, you may have received an item for free to giveaway, they can trust that you are giving away something that either you yourself has tried or that other credible sources have tried and enjoyed.
A disclosure notice on a giveaway post also identifies who is responsible for the giveaway and who is responsible for shipping the prize. If you purchase the prize yourself and you are shipping it, then you need to disclose that information. If a company is holding the prize and will ship it, then you need to tell your audience that the company is responsible for shipping the prize and should be contacted if there are any problems.
Be sure to include a disclosure notice at the bottom of your giveaway posts to tell your readers exactly what made the giveaway possible and how they can expect to receive the prize.
Disclosure Notice for a Giveaway
Using Buffer to Schedule Posts
Using Social Media to Promote a Giveaway
Once you have set up your giveaway and your post is published, you should consider promoting your giveaway using social media sites. Posting your giveaway once a day on each possible site (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, etc.) should be enough to get the word out and invite people to enter your giveaway.
Keep in mind that like anything else on social media sites, multiple posts in one day could be considered spam. If so, you could potentially lose readers and followers who do not appreciate their walls or homepages to be cluttered with your links over and over again.
Also remember that if you used a giveaway widget, your giveaway may already be promoted by those who are entering the giveaway. This is especially true if you use entries that encourage your readers to 'like a post' on Facebook or Tweet a link on Twitter.
If you'd like to post your giveaway posts every day, use an app like Buffer or Hootesuite, etc. to schedule your posts. That way you're not posting all of the giveaway posts you have all at the same time. Spreading your posts out can ensure that more people will see your links and enter your giveaways.
Schedule Social Media Posts to Be Shared Online
- Content Marketing Editorial Calendar for WordPress - CoSchedule
CoSchedule is a drag-and-drop editorial calendar for WordPress. Schedule blog posts with your team and automatically send messages to your social networks. LOVE IT!
- Social Media Management Dashboard - HootSuite
Enhance your social media management with HootSuite, the leading social media dashboard. Manage multiple networks and profiles and measure your campaign results.
- Buffer - A better way to share on social media
Buffer makes it super easy to share any page you're reading. Keep your Buffer topped up and we automagically share posts for you through the day.
Verifying and Announcing a Winner on Your Giveaway
Once your giveaway has run its course and has ended, it's time to verify and announce the winner. If you use a giveaway widget, you can easily verify all of the entries of the randomly chosen winner by making sure they have successfully completed the tasks. For giveaways where the only entry is a comment, you'll need to make sure that the winner commented appropriately.
Don't announce your winner until you have verified the winning entry, you have sent a verification email, and he or she has responded to you. For most giveaways, winners have 24-48 hours to respond to the email you send. If they do not respond, another winner can be chosen randomly.
When the winner has been verified and has responded to the email, make sure that you ship out the prize as soon as possible or that you contact the sponsor/company to ship the prize. If possible, provide a tracking code so that the winner knows when to expect the shipment.
Blog Giveaways: General Tips
The basics of holding a giveaway on your blog have been covered above, but here are a few additional tips for holding giveaways:
- Many giveaways last about two or more weeks, depending on prize and the sponsor.
- Be clear about when the giveaway begins and ends, including time zone information.
- Use clear photos of the item being given away, either from your own camera or from the company.
- Don't forget to verify the winner before posting the winner's name on your blog.
- Keep track of your giveaways on a calendar or in a planner.
- Try not to have too many giveaways going all at once; spread them out to give your blog continuous exposure.
Have fun planning and holding your giveaways!
© 2013 Marissa
Anil Kumar on December 14, 2019:
Nice article, it is helpful and informative. Thanks for sharing.
Marissa (author) from United States on March 02, 2018:
You are welcome.
Angie on March 01, 2018:
Thanks, this has been helpful, I need to get my first giveaway sorted out now
Elizabeth on December 06, 2016:
Nice article! People loves free stuff, giving out giveaways are such an excellent strategy to attract new customers. I use Woorise to run my giveaways. Thank you for sharing!
Ravi Singh from India on October 03, 2016:
I was looking for giveaway ideas for my blog. So glad to see this article. Rafflecopter seems to be a very good option. I am going to use it. Thank you for sharing.
Amber Ludwig on February 05, 2016:
This is so informative!! Thank you!! I love entering them but never realize what all goes into them!
Sarah L on December 14, 2015:
Very good points. As a contest junkie I look for just the things you mentioned. I always check to see if I qualify to enter, when it ends and if the prize is worth my time and energy. My favorite form is GiveAway Tools but Rafflecopter is also OK.
Crystal Gomez on December 02, 2015:
Thanks for the great information! I just started a blog, and I'm trying to learn the ropes!
Jocelyn J on November 29, 2015:
I'm not a blogger, but I liked reading this Hub- feels like getting a behind the scenes look!
Jennifer Odom on September 10, 2015:
This is great advice for bloggers!
Sarah Denk on September 08, 2015:
I have been thinking about starting a blog, so this may come in handy if I pursue that passion of mine.
Lara C. on September 05, 2015:
Thank you for the tips! Since I'm launching a blog soon, I am learning a bunch of this stuff from scratch and want to do things like giveaways right :)
Roseanne Gary on July 03, 2015:
This is great information
Mande Sumner on July 03, 2015:
I'm teetering on the idea of starting a blog since I keep an online "journal" anyhow. Doing giveaways and reviewing products is something I would like to include on my blog, so both of these articles are and will be very useful to me! These articles are very detailed and informative!
Marissa (author) from United States on September 29, 2014:
AudreyHowitt , they can, if they're done right :)
Marissa (author) from United States on September 29, 2014:
heidithorne, thanks for sharing!
Eugene Samuel Monaco from Lakewood New York on September 24, 2014:
Wow! Thanks for spelling this out and sharing your knowledge. I've bookmarked this so I can refer back to it when I'm ready. Thanks Again :)
Ilona from Ohio on September 24, 2014:
Thanks for sharing, Patsybell. I agree that this was a most informative article. I really liked the video inclusion.
Audrey Howitt from California on September 24, 2014:
Such a great article on the subject--these can be wildly successful in terms of views I understand!
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on September 24, 2014:
Really good info! Glad you included info on the disclosure notices. So many are unaware of those legalities. And I didn't know there were giveaway widgets for blogs. Learn something new every day. Thanks for sharing your insight & I'll share the post. Voted up, useful and interesting!
Marissa (author) from United States on September 24, 2014:
PatsyBell, thank you so much for your kind words!
Patsy Bell Hobson from zone 6a, Southeast Missouri, USA on September 23, 2014:
Wow, this is the most helpful hub I've read in ages. Voted up, I,A, Sharing, tweet. Tons of well written information!
Marissa (author) from United States on September 23, 2014:
Kristine Manley from Atlanta, GA on September 23, 2014:
This is great information, now I know just how to host a giveaway on my Blog. I love giveaways.
Marissa (author) from United States on September 22, 2014:
@Sallybea, Hmm, that's a good question. You might want to send HubPages an email to ask.
Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on September 22, 2014:
Very useful info. I know this info is relevant to a Blog but could a give-away be applied to a Hub. I have been wondering about this for a while but I cannot find anything in the Learning Center regarding this.
Deborah Neyens from Iowa on September 22, 2014:
I have a new(ish) blog and I've been thinking about doing some sort of giveaway to generate interest and views. Thanks for these tips.
ologsinquito from USA on September 22, 2014:
This is excellent advice. A giveaway would work very well on one of my blogs.
RTalloni on September 22, 2014:
Lots of good food for thought here--thanks!
Marissa (author) from United States on September 22, 2014:
Maggie L., best wishes starting a blog!
Maggie.L from UK on September 22, 2014:
This is a super useful hub. I don't have a blog yet...that's my next step hopefully. I'm bookmarking this for future reference. Voted up and sharing.
Amanda from Michigan, United States on February 18, 2014:
Very useful hub! I've thought about doing a giveaway for my blog, but didn't know where to start. Voted up!
Fiona from South Africa on December 17, 2013:
A great idea to drive traffic to your blog and a very helpful write-up. I can literally take this hub and follow it step by step when I am ready to do a give-away. Thank you for such an in-depth hub :)
Marissa (author) from United States on November 20, 2013:
mike4few , thanks!
mike4few on November 02, 2013:
Very interesting and informative. I think that a lot of people could benefit fhis
Marissa (author) from United States on March 27, 2013:
cclitgirl, glad you found the hub helpful! Good luck with the giveaway on your blog! :)
Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on March 27, 2013:
FanTAStic hub. I am relatively new to blogging (as a result of HubPages, go figure) and I want to do a giveaway...so this is extremely helpful. :) Thanks!
Marissa (author) from United States on March 22, 2013:
Ms Queen Bee, I couldn't agree more that keeping your loyal readers engaged is vital in keeping a blog alive these days. Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing!
Jade Cunningham from London on March 22, 2013:
This is great. There is an obsession with getting more traffic amongst most bloggers, but keeping those you already have, really engaged is absolutely key. Give aways seems like a fairly cost-effective way of getting traffic. I am going to share this on blogbods as I think it would be useful for bloggers to read about. Thank you for covering every angle.
Marissa (author) from United States on March 04, 2013:
RealHousewife, the disclosure notice is definitely something all bloggers with a working relationship with companies need to have. That was news to me when I started doing reviews and giveaways, but I was glad I found that info and can pass it along!
I'll have to go find your blog too! Thanks for reading.:)
Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on March 02, 2013:
Hey PM...very cool! Thank you so much!
I recently started a blog and am developing it ever so slowly. I appreciate the great info here - including the disclosure notice. I never thought about that and I do have a few reviews planned for the future. Maybe I'll do a give away soon. I didn't even know you had a blog - I'll have to go find ya:)
Marissa (author) from United States on March 02, 2013:
prairieprincess, it can be very scary to do it on your own the first time, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature. Good luck if you decide to have one, and thanks for commenting! :)
Sharilee Swaity from Canada on March 02, 2013:
I have thought about doing a giveaway on my blog, but felt a bit overwhelmed with trying to figure out how to do it. Thank you so much for this excellent information. Very useful! Shared and voted up and more.
Marissa (author) from United States on February 23, 2013:
randomcreative , thanks so much for your kind words! I have learned so much in going through the process myself that I thought I'd share what I had learned. :)
Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 22, 2013:
Wow, what a comprehensive overview! I agree with Island Tropical that this is very useful. Both veteran and new bloggers will benefit from this information.
Marissa (author) from United States on February 21, 2013:
sarosh kumar, thanks for reading!
sarosh kumar on February 21, 2013:
Interesting inputs here
Marissa (author) from United States on February 21, 2013:
Island Tropical , glad you found it useful! Thanks for reading!
Island Tropical on February 21, 2013:
very useful information, thanks