What Do You Think About Blog Giveaways?

I don’t think I can use this excuse for much longer but since I’m new relatively new to blogging, I feel like I still have a lot to learn about the blog-o-sphere.

I went from being a blogophobe to a blogoholic.

I love reading blogs now. I love getting recipes from MyKidsEatSquid, finding out about books related to traveling the world on ATraveler’sLibrary, checking up on what the buzz is in the dog blog world at ChampionofMyHeart, and drooling over the crafts I’m too challenged to make at OrigamiMommy.

Then there’s getting the latest on blow jobs and vibrators at ProjectHappilyEverAfter, transporting myself back to New England via ChezSven, reading about all things DIY and New Zealand at FrugalKiwi, and all things gluten free at Wasabimon.

To name just a few!

When I was a blogophobe I was worried about reading blogs because I thought it would be a huge distraction and that I wouldn’t get as much work done.

I fear that prediction has come true. I’m definitely more productive and I definitely get more writing done on the days I stay away from social media (blogs, Twitter, Facebook).

So my challenge now is how to enjoy and participate in the blog world without having it overrun my life.

I still have a lot of questions about how social media works.

And here’s what I’m wondering today: What do you think about giveaways? I know a lot of bloggers regularly have giveaways and that these contests drive traffic to their sites.

Right now at this very moment you can win a recipe book and an immersion blender at TheHappiestMom.com, Glad Rags at Candace Walsh’s blog at Mothering.com, and some gorgeous stamps at OrigamiMommy.

I’ve never done a giveaway on the blog I write for Mothering.com, Mothering Outside the Lines. I think I’m worried that it smacks too much of product endorsement or product placement. I also wonder if it’s really an effective way to get readers. Sure, they come for the giveaway, but will they ever come back? And are the readers who come for the giveaway the kind of readers I am likely to attract at that blog?

I’m lucky that I get paid to write that blog whether three people or three hundred people read it a day and the good folks at Mothering don’t seem to be sweating over hit numbers. If I were trying to attract advertising and sponsors, maybe I’d feel differently about giveaways.

Do you do giveaways on your blog? Have you found this to be an effective way to drive traffic? Do you enjoy entering blog giveaways? Do you think I should start doing them? (Then there’s the question of what I’d be giving away: a toy gun to wave at the doctor who insists you vaccinate your newborn; a beanie for your baby knitted to look like a boob … see the problem?) Leave a comment below and I’ll give you the most super duper amazing, um…stay tuned me, I’ll think of something…

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Comments

  1. Thanks for mentioning Chez Sven. Glad if it allows you to dream of New England! I never do blog giveaways because I simply do not have the time to organize them, already way over-extended. (I am a perfectionist in everything I do, which sometimes makes life impossible.)

  2. Sheryl

    The only giveaways I’ve done on my blog are books- and these are so easy to do. The author, or the author’s publicist, is always happy to mail one off to the lucky winner. If I had to start with products, I think it would be for trouble than it’s worth (at least for me, not for the winner :)

  3. I don’t think a giveaway would work particularly well on your blog, unless you were giving away eco things like cloth diapers, and even then, it’s just not really you. I do them occasionally and they do increase traffic.

  4. I have done two giveaways (one last fall, one right now) mostly b/c I just wanted to share a little bit of fun from Japan. I have been asked to do others, and decided against it, because I think of them more as a gift for my loyal readership or people who are genuinely interested in my blog than a lure for a bigger, less connected group of people to come and comment once for the giveaway but not stay. Does that make sense? Last time I mentioned my giveaway on a bigger online giveaway site and while I got many more comments, the overall effect didn’t work for my goals.

    I think giveaways work for some blogs but not others. I think if you’re an entrepeneur (with a shop on Etsy, say), it is a nice way to keep interest up in the handmade things you make. Or, as Sheryl says above, books. (I’ve also given my own book away on other blogs). Books are great. Everyone loves the chance to win a book!

  5. I do giveaways for two main reasons:

    1. I truly do love to bless my readers. Sort-of a thank you for their eyes and time.

    2. They really do garner traffic. If you’re strategic, you can find new, loyal readers. You gotta do them well, though.

    And of course, you have to do giveaways that make sense. In about three weeks, we’re doing a ton of giveaways on my blog network. But man, did we have to weed through some products that we wouldn’t endorse this side of hades. So they can be a lot of work.

  6. It’s true, regular giveaways do keep your traffic numbers boosted, but the entrants don’t often stick around to become regular readers. I say only do a giveaway if it’s a product you’re really jazzed about sharing with others.

  7. Well, as the owner of the blog where you won 1 1/2 of the 2 giveaways I’ve run in the last few years… I’m meh on the whole giveaway thing. I got a TON of traffic for the cookbooks giveaway I did, but my numbers were back to normal a few days later. And this last one was more of a gift to people who know me & the blog, so it doesn’t really count. Anyway, I say don’t bother unless you’ve got a reason to do it beyond simple number boosting–mine were both to celebrate blogaversaries.

  8. I do a giveaway once a month. It’s always a book — either a cookbook or a non-fiction food book. I love books & love to share them.

    Ever since I started blogging about food review copies have been showing up on my door. I have a tiny house. I don’t believe in books just sitting on shelves and like to find them good homes where they may be of use or provide entertainment or education or all three.

    It’s a karma thing for me: A way of giving back to my readers, a chance to highlight just a few of the many wonderful food books published and an opportunity to support fellow writers whose work I admire.

    In fact, I have a giveaway going on right now for a meatless cookbook by the talented kim o’donnel. Stop by and check it out.

  9. Thanks for including me here. I do like having giveaways but believe it or not, they really are a lot of work. And as others have said–it is fun to give something away and make someone’s day. I’m thinking about doing more giveaways that are tailored closely to my blog. In other words, I’ll be shopping for the items–even creating some myself–to offer to readers.

  10. I actually won a HUGE jar of coconut oil from my friend Shannon’s blog (“It’s My Time to Write”), and it was completely legit — she used a third-party service to “draw” the winner. Anyway, I NEVER win anything, so it was pretty cool!

  11. Yes, I do quite a few giveaways. I have one altruistic reason and several selfish ones.
    Altruistic: It makes my readers happy. I love how excited some people get when they win!
    Selfish:
    I review books, so they are overflowing my office and I need to do SOMETHING with them.
    It makes publishers and authors happy because it is extra exposure for their books.
    It increases traffic. And unlike what others have said, I find many of the people who discover my blog become regulars.
    It increases the level of commenting. It seems that asking people to comment to win something is an ice breaker, and the number of comments goes up and stays up.
    The disadvantage: Instead of making money by selling books at a used book store, I spend money on mailing costs. And you have to be careful about going outside the U.S. because laws differ in different countries.

    So come on over to A Traveler’s Library in January when I celebrate two years in the business with a gigantic book giveaway!

  12. I’ve had my own (birth) blog for six months now, and I have never done a giveaway. I live outside the US and don’t want to pay shipping! :) The blog I professionally write for, which largely relies on Google AdSense for its income, has never done a giveaway either. They rely on backlinking strategies to gain new readers – through direct clicks on the links, but mainly due to an increase in the search engine results pages ratings.

    Now I think of it, I have never participated in a giveaway myself. They seem to always require that you do lots of stuff related to facebook, twitter and so on. More trouble than it’s worth!

    Olivia

  13. Hi
    You were enquiring over on FrugalKiwi about free ginger beer recipes. I have a whole blog dedicated to it.
    The first 3 or 4 recipes are time tested by my mum, aunty and nanna.
    Ginger beer is NOT ginger ale and tastes nothing like it.
    But if you get a good batch of ginger beer it is absolutely refreshingly wonderful.
    So yep I am giving away lots over there….all ginger beer recipes. A couple on there I would never recommend but there for interests sake.Stick to the first 3 or 4 and you are on your way to making a great home made soda.

    Bonnie

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